Voices of Lighthouses Blog
Love Lighthouses? Ignite your your passion
for lighthouses through
art and exciting stories. You can also catch up on
my latest newsletter here.
Driving along the Georgia coast, I headed to St. Simons Island. The drive offers a panoramic view of sawgrass. St. Simons Island is part of a chain of popular islands called the “Golden Isles.”
Having already visited Tybee Island Lighthouse, I was excited about finishing the day with one final lighthouse. Although the lighthouse was closed, I was delighted to be able to walk the grounds. Stopping on the walkway near the ocean I gazed into the distance. I walked around the lighthouse trying to decide on the best vantage point for my painting.
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.
Forgiving does not erase the bitter past. A healed memory is not a deleted memory. Instead forgiving, creates a new way to remember. We change the memory of our past into hope for the future. Lewis B Smedes
One year after the Titanic sank, the Titanic Memorial Lighthouse and time ball was built in 1913 to honor the victims atop Seamen’s Church. In 1976, it was donated to South Seaport Museum and moved to Titanic Memorial Park in Manhattan. The Time ball inspired the New Year’s Eve Time Drop.
The Friends of the Titanic launched a GoFundme fundraiser to restore the lighthouse on the 110th Anniversary of the tragedy on April 15, 2022. Join living relatives of the passengers and crew in preserving their memories by helping to restore the Titanic Memorial Lighthouse. A portion of the purchase will be donated to The Friends of The Titanic.
I am constantly reminded of the everyday miracles of life by the mishaps of the day. I was rear ended by a Uhaul truck in May. The driver swerved to avoid a direct hit. The damage to the car was minimal and I suffered minor injuries.
I’m learning to celebrate days when nothing happens. I love those days. I’m also trying to have gratitude on those days when everything appears to go wrong like the day of the accident.
I’m grateful for tours to New England and Northern Ireland because they are no longer scheduled. My exhibits in New York would now be unimaginable. When I visited Nantucket, I stayed three days at the only affordable option on the island. It closed during the Pandemic.
We tend to take life for granted. Perhaps that’s the only saving virtue of the Coronavirus.
Sea turtles, shorebirds, colonial seabirds and other migratory birds surround Egmont Key Lighthouse. reminders of its fabled days when conch shells answered signals from passing vessels. The current lighthouse, built 1858, is now part of Egmont Key National Wildlife Refuge near Tampa. It’s missing lens gives no clue to the significance of the lighthouse.
As the only lighthouse on the busy passageway from Key West and St. Marks Lighthouse near Tallahassee, it was very important. In 1898, during the Spanish American War, Fort Dade was built on Egmont Key as part of a coastal defense system. During the late 1800s and early 1900s most of the buoys on Florida’s west coast were managed by the depot on Egmont Key.
The lighthouse slowly diminished in importance and in statue. In 1944, the upper portion of the lighthouse was removed along with the Fresnel lens. In 1989, an automated rotating beacon was installed.
Sails rely on the wind—-an invisible force that determines its direction. Sails can be set to an angle that harnesses the wind. My aunt adjusted “her sails” to maximize her long life.
She led an adventurous life and enjoyed skiing. My aunt was a trailblazer who inspired family and friends with her many accomplishments. She was a college professor, and executive at Polaroid when Blacks were shut out of many positions.
After hearing of her death, recent memories with her flashed in my mind: A walk along the ocean near East Chop Lighthouse, a day at the Porch Festival in Boston and an afternoon at the Arnold Arboretum.
During my time with her on Martha’s Vineyard, I visited and drew East Chop Lighthouse for the second time. A sailboat was off shore from the lighthouse.
Perched high on a cliff, East Chop Lighthouse is located in a quiet residential The idyllic setting belies its humble beginnings. The perils offshore inspired a mariner to raise money to privately build the lighthouse in 1869.
My aunt lingered several months before sailing away to death. It came like a gentle, peaceful breeze. My painting “Smooth Sailing” memorializes her passing.
Original Art available only at my Saatchi Gallery.
I painted the Cape Florida Lighthouse after a week of rain. I drove to Key Biscayne to see the lighthouse in sunny Florida. Standing behind a canopy of palm trees, the beautiful lighthouse towered against a clear blue sky. The lighthouse was surrounded by mangroves and not condos, thanks to the park's namesake, Bill Baggs. The Bill Baggs State Park was opened in 1967 foiling efforts by developers.
Cape Florida Lighthouse has witnessed many struggles, hardships, and endured a fire. It has withstood more than 4 dozen hurricanes, including Hurricane Andrew. Its existence predates the founding of the of Miami. During the Second Seminole Wars in 1836, the lighthouse was destroyed. The lighthouse was rebuilt in 1846-47.
July 2021 Newsletter
It’s time for cookouts, swimwear and the beach. Discover and explore some of best beaches in the United States in this newsletter. Gay Head at Martha’s Vineyard makes it to the bucket list. One of Gay Head’s light keepers retired on disability due to "visitor-itis!"
Don’t worry, lighthouses have special events to welcome you.
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. This may be why Portland Head Lighthouse is the “Most Photographed Lighthouse" in New England. It is also listed as one of the most iconic lighthouses on every conceivable list.
I caught the Staten Island Ferry to visit the National Lighthouse Museum, and to see the lighthouses on Staten Island. On the way, I caught a distant view of the Statue of. While I had pledged not to sketch such a touristy site, I was persuaded otherwise when looking at Lady Liberty.
I only had a minute or two to sketch and capture my impression of the Statue of Liberty with a few lines. I later tried to recapture that fleeting moment in a painting with the same emotions and energy I felt when looking at the Statue of Liberty in awe. I used the color purple as a symbol of its royalty.
The Statue of Liberty, our national treasure and prestigious landmark once served as a lighthouse. Congressional acceptance of the gift from France specified that the structure would be maintained as a beacon.