Captain Candles

Episode #762

September 9, 2023

Captain Candles would slop the paint on.
He trawled on the mud, threw on the gravel, glass or mirror shards.


The Captain sculpted with a broom.
When he painted, he slapped the surface with a masonry brush loaded and dripping with white paint.

He threw glitter at some of the wet white paint.
The Captain never painted inside the lines.

“That’s some technique!” I said to Captain Candles.
“It looks like shit from close up, don’t it?” he replied.
A little sheepishly I whispered, “Yea…”
“Take a dozen steps back. Over there, kid.”

I obeyed.

It was like thumbing the focus wheel on a pair of binoculars.
The plaster covered VW microbus that he was sculpting and painting in his front yard resolved into a work of art.

It belonged in front of the garishly painted house that was Captain Candles’ Redondo, California home.

“It isn’t what it looks like that matters,” said the Captain.
“It is what you see.”

The Laguna Beach Pageant of the Masters is held inside the Laguna Festival of Arts each summer in July and August. Depicted on stage are masterpiece works of arts.

Paintings such as “Nighthawks,” by Edward Hopper

and “Breezing Up (A Fair Wind)” by Winslow Homer

are recreated in large scale with real human actors posing as the people.

Each year the grand finale is Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper.”

From the outdoor theater seats the reproductions are dead ringers for the real paintings.

The magic is in the lighting. At one point in the show, the theatrical lights come down and white flood lights illuminate the stage. The painting changes in an instant to a flat, almost cartoonish 2 dimensional scene. When the show lights come back on, the masterpiece reappears.

I was lucky to have a back stage guided tour one year. We saw the supports which hold the actors in sometimes impossible positions. I got a stage side view of the rigging, bristling with theater lights.

The set panels are truly painted with a broad brush. The strokes are six to twelve inches wide and look like Captain Candles painted them.
It is all about the actors makeup and the lighting.

When I was an estimator in the trade show exhibit business I was tasked with finding a very large format inkjet printing service.
I found a listing for MetroMedia Billboards.
MetroMedia was a division of Fox Television and operated KTTV 11.

When I called, a man answered the phone:
“MetroMedia. Howwww can I help you toooo-dayyyy,” he said, in a well modulated radio voice.

I though I had reached the TV station and, in fact, I had.
A group of MetroMedia staff had formed a basement division which printed billboards.

I drove to Los Angeles to see what they could do. In the lobby I was greeted by Steve Edwards, a radio and television personality. He escorted me to the basement of the Fox Television Center.

There I saw a paint-jet machine with a cylindrical printing platen that was 14 feet wide with a 48 foot circumference. The pixel size was 1/4” (4 DPI). That adds up to a billboard resolution of 2304 x 672. From a distance, it looks like a 2K monitor (2000 dots across).

I stood 4 feet away from the printer as a job was being printed. It was like looking at a mosaic with a magnifying glass.

“This will never do.” I said. “I can’t see the image.”
Steve asked, “At what distance will you be viewing the graphic?”
“It will be 20 feet in the air and viewed 20 feet or more away from the booth.”
“Step back to the other end of the room,” he said.

As I walked the 40 feet to an opposite wall the graphic on the printer snapped into a richly detailed image.

MetroMedia had borrowed a page from the Pageant and Captain Candles.

If you focus too much on the detail and the minutia of a scene or situation you cannot appreciate the big picture.

“…from him who sees no wood[forest] for trees
And yet is busie as the bees
From him that’s settled on his lees
And speaketh not without his fees.”
—John Heywood (1546)

From this quote comes the proverb:
“You can’t see the forest for the trees.”

“It isn’t what it looks like that matters. It is what you see.”
— Captain Candles


“Skydivers Know Why Birds Sing” by Ricki T Thues is now available on Amazon.
It is a Love story of Rick and Paula Thues and their 35 years of Skydiving.

Click HERE to buy the paperback or Kindle ebook at Amazon.

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“Technically Human” by Ricki T Thues, the iMentor, is available on Amazon.
It is a compilation of selected episodes from this bLog which tell the story of Humanity through the eyes of the iMentor.

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  1. Victor Spindler September 8, 2023
  2. Jeff Laun September 9, 2023
  3. Danielle L BARLOW September 19, 2023

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