Kerosene Lamp

Just complete this painting. I done this piece out of nostalgic memories from my grandma house. The lamp is lighted using just kerosene and amazingly it is almost as bright as our florescent. It takes some skill just to light the lamp, so my father did shared some of his experience while i was doing this painting. Nowadays we can’t even get hold of kerosene, so i guess will never see this chap light up anymore.

The bunch of paper next to the lamp is actually an old Chinese calender, each day a piece is tear off as the day leap forward. Each piece stated the day in the English calender also the significant of the day to Chinese believe and the day in Chinese. Quite amazing actually, as all this information can be obtain just from one small piece of paper. During the olden days, the calender of this type is of importance to the Chinese as it highlighted the auspicious or bad days ahead. Chinese New Year are celebrated based on this calender.


17 Responses to “Kerosene Lamp”

  1. You’ve captured the bright light coming from the lamp brilliantly. A very strong watercolor. I love the calendar on the post. Thank you for telling us about it and the lamp.

    • Thanks Carol.I have wanted to paint this picture for a while now, finally got some guts to do it. This kind of setting are actually quite common in most Chinese home in Malaysia.

  2. Francis, I like this painting right down to the bugs flying around in the light of it. The perspective of being able to look up at it makes it very interesting compositionally. The calendar is a neat addition to break up the vertical of the post. I agree with Carol. The light is brilliant in this.

    • Wow, Leslie you do have sharp eyes. Ya, i thought of putting some bugs around the lamp to make it more realistic. If i remember correctly, lots and lots of mosquito and bugs at night may be they are attracted to the light. Thanks for pointing out the art perspective, I’m learning it bit by bit. Thank you teacher.

  3. This is one of my favorites, and a painting with story is so much more meaningful.

  4. Thanks Ryan, i like your paintings too. It means a lot coming from you. Thanks.

  5. I really like this painting, it is still and calming. The blue color are stunning!

  6. Brilliant painting! I just came over from Leslie White’s blog, she has your blog on her watercolor blogroll.

    I love the brilliance of the light from the lamp, and bugs accentuate it even more. The blue of the background is powerful and lovely. Is there some indigo in the mix?

  7. Francis,

    I love this painting. It is so difficult to capture strong light and even harder when it is artificial light. Your selection of color is wonderful and as Leslie said the perspective “makes” the picture. Great work.


    • Hi Linda, thanks for dropping by. A friend of mine have book this painting, finally at least some of my work is appreciated. I’m sure glad i have the courage to finished this painting. The dark backgrond is really intimidating for me. Thanks again for your encouragement.

  8. […] remembered a beautiful painting of architecture here. I was intrigued with the rendering of light here. I was impressed by a creative rendition of tree trunks in a sister’s yard here. I enjoyed a […]

  9. sent by Leslie, I am enthralled with this. The perspective is superb! Kerosene still available in Ace and other Hardware stores, BTW. We use it up here in the isolated mountains of Big Sur!

    • Thanks for your kind comment Kate. I’m glad you like this painting, just like Big Sur mountains some remote and hard to get areas in the Borneo still used such lamp just that kerosene are now harder to get. So most of them switch to using small generator set as Diesel is easier to get.

  10. great contracst and detail…we got similar lamps and calendars (lunar-cylcle-based)in India too!

  11. Mr. Jong,

    I am the Administrative Coordinator for the Midwest Center for Energy Law and Policy at Capital University Law School. We are the in the process of developing content for our website. The first oil well in the United States was located in Ohio. On a “slider” application we are going to highlight this history by displaying an image of a gas lamp. In doing a search our development group decided that the image of your painting would add visual impact to the story of the first oil well. As such we are interested in using the photo of the painting on our site. If you would please contact me to discuss the use of your image on our site I would greatly appreciate it.


    Matthew Smith

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