The Hillsboro Inlet Lighthouse in Pompano Beach, Florida was built after four centuries of wrecks on beautiful but dangerous area reefs. Pompano Beach is often called the “Wreck Capital” of Florida because of the numerous shipwrecks in Hillsboro Inlet.
The Hillsboro Lighthouse has a black and white day mark. The top of the lighthouse is painted black to make it visible above the trees. The bottom white half contrasts against the trees. The lighthouse, also called "Big Diamond" is unique. With a beam of 28 nautical miles, it has the strongest light beam of all US lighthouses.
Built in 1907, Hillsboro Lighthouse has an idyllic setting. Swaying palms trees and calming azure water, belies its noble purpose. It was constructed to warn mariners of unseen hazards. My painting, “Perils in Paradox” showcases this paradox as the title indicates. The forceful depiction of black and white day mark of the lighthouse is softened by the peaceful and tropical setting.
The turning points in lives are not the great moments. The real crises are often concealed occurrences so trivial in appearance they pass unobserved. George Washington
Portland Head Lighthouse in Maine Portland Head Lighthouse is one of the “Most Photographed Lighthouses.” Built in 1791, Portland Lighthouse was the first lighthouse completed under President George Washington. His Secretary of Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, personally administered lighthouses. Poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, a native of Portland Maine, visited Portland Head Lighthouse several times.
People from all over the world visit Gay Head lighthouse. The popularity of the gaily, colorful cliffs and iconic lighthouse is nothing new. Charles Vanderhoop assistant light keeper, according to a newspaper article, retired on disability in 1933 due to "visitor-itis!"
A century later in 1975, the popular lighthouse caught the eyes of Hollywood and Steven Spielberg. There's a shot of Gay Head Lighthouse in the Academy Award thriller, "Jaws.” When it was being relocated, the lighthouse was in the spotlight again in 2015. I was visiting Martha’s Vineyard during this time.
My painting depicts the lighthouse as it was being moved against the backdrop of the cliffs. A splash of the ocean is shown in the background.
Despite all the fanfare, the Gay Head Lighthouse was built in 1799 to warn mariners about the treacherous, submerged obstructions called “Devil’s Bridge.”
Tourists probably weren’t a concern during the service of Gay Head's assistant female light keeper, Lydia Adams. There were no roads for easy access to the lighthouse during her term, 1869-71.
A fallen lighthouse is more dangerous than a reef. Navjot Singh Sidhu
The Cape St. George Lighthouse was rebuilt in 2008 with the support of the local community, state and federal governments. It was constructed from the remains of the second lighthouse in 1852.
Before it was rescued the lighthouse collapsed in 2005. Storms and neglect led to its demise. However, the lighthouse was already in trouble before this happened. The foundation was weakened by shifting sands and hurricanes. A makeshift foundation done in good faith only delayed its collapse. The community never gave up on the lighthouse.
The bright yellow in the painting color symbolizes happiness and caution. It celebrates the rebuilding of the lighthouse while noting peril could only be a storm away.
After visiting Tybee Island Lighthouse, I drove along the scenic Georgia coast called the “Golden Isles” to St. Simons Lighthouse.
A little tired after a long day, I welcomed the chance to sit down and draw the lighthouse. As the sun was setting, a blaze of light bounced off the lighthouse. It seemed to refresh the lighthouse and me. For now the lighthouse was receiving light instead of giving it.
The Lighthouse Service has a great record on the treatment of women. But it falls short on its treatment of non whites. Slaves and free men of color served on a limited basis during the 1800s. Perhaps the first lighthouse staff member killed in war was African American Aaron Carter. He perished after the Seminoles attacked Cape Florida Lighthouse near Miami in 1836. He is recorded as being a free man of color. The same year, an elderly African American woman assisted in the keeping of St. Simons Lighthouse.
The St. Simons Lighthouse is located on St. Simons Island 30 miles from Brunswick, Georgia. The lighthouse is owned by the Georgia Coastal Historical Society. The St. Simons Museum includes the lighthouse and Keeper’s dwelling. Visitors may climb the lighthouse and visit the Keeper’s dwelling.
When I am not traveling to or painting lighthouses, I am writing or researching lighthouses.