While touring Europe, I stayed a few days in London. I went to the Tate Museum to see paintings of London’s greatest artist, JMW Turner. The next I had traveled to Trinity Buoy Wharf to sketch London's only Lighthouse. While there I also discovered Lightship 95. I was spellbound by its presence. It seemed pregnant with stories of its past.
Back in the United States, I looked at my yellow foreground and became inspired when I read how much Turner used yellow. According to the book "How to Paint like Turner", "Some of Turner's most daring and experimental innovations centered around his use of yellow. It seems to have been his favorite color and he used it liberally. " "For more than thirty years his use of yellow became one of the most frequently mentioned aspects of his art, with critics variously accusing him of 'yellow fever'...
With Turner as my inspiration, I threw a hue of colors on the paper. When I finished I was delighted when the lighthouses seem to magically emerge.
Tybee Island was the first lighthouse I painted in Georgia. I was spellbound as I approached the lighthouse and anxious to climb it. The lighthouse was crowded the day I visited so it took awhile to get into the tower. But it was well worth the wait. I quietly gazed into the distance. The ocean was calm and the shore was vacant. Not a soul in sight unlike the busy lighthouse.
After the climb, I walked the grounds trying to find the right vantage point for a sketch and painting. Lighthouses are such massive and overbearing structures it is sometimes challenging capturing their essence. As I walked a distance away from the from Georgia’s tallest lighthouse, a picket fence seemed to evoke a peaceful mood.
Inspired by the Greek Choragic Monument of Lysicrates, the beautiful Portland Breakwater Lighthouse in Maine was built in 1874. The architect of Portland Breakwater Lighthouse also designed the dome of the US Capitol.
The original Greek Choragic Monument was built near the Acropolis of Athens. This
was the first time Corinthians columns were constructed on the exterior of a building.
My painting of the lighthouse captures the elegance and strength of the Corinthian columns surrounding the lighthouse. The cupola that crowns the lighthouse is painted as a diadem to symbolize its majesty.
The lighthouse and a breakwater were built after an 1831 storm damaged ships, piers and buildings in Portland’s harbor. The breakwater was first constructed and turned out to be a navigational hazard. Finally in 1855 the first lighthouse was constructed. In 1874 the current lighthouse replaced the wooden lighthouse.
Like nurturing mothers, a fleet of lighthouse tenders saw to the needs of lighthouses.
The U.S. Lighthouse Service used such vessels to carry fuel, food and other essential supplies to lighthouses, lightships, their keepers and crews. They also maintained the buoys and range lights that guided ships and boats into harbors and away from rocks and reefs.
Interestingly, these brave vessels are all named after flowers and trees like the LILAC Lighthouse Tender at Hudson River Park in Manhattan.
The LILAC Lighthouse Tender continues to serve the New York community. Last year, the LILAC offered free admission to nearly 6,000 visitors. This Includes 900 kids visiting on board with The River Project.
The LILAC is the last surviving steam-propelled lighthouse tender in America and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Lilac is located at Pier 25 at Hudson River Park.
With over 6,500 languages over the world, miscommunication is bound to happen. According to the National Conference on Communication, barriers to communication prevent us from receiving and understanding information others use to convey information.
Art has an advantage over other forms of communication. Art is universal. The language of color and imagery has been used by man dating back to the cave. Saatchiart unites artists and collectors from around the world on its website. A collection of my original Lighthouse Art is on sale for the first time on Saatchiart.com.
It’s history and iconic location may be why Portland Head Lighthouse is the “Most Photographed Lighthouse" in the United States. Built in 1791, It was the first lighthouse completed under President George Washington while Alexander Hamilton was Secretary of Treasury.
Hamilton had many claims to fame before he was featured in the popular broadway show.
As Secretary of Treasury he pushed for the Lighthouse Act to federalize lighthouses. He then personally administered lighthouses before assigning them to the Commissioner of Revenue. The Commissioner collected duties with a fleet of Revenue Cutters. It was the first source of revenue for the new government and the predecessor of the Coast Guard.
Portland Head was one of the lighthouses to help provide this needed source of income.
The Crooked River Lighthouse overlooks the Gulf of Mexico and is situated next to Camp Jordan Museum. Amphibious soldiers of World War II were trained at Camp Jordan.
The painting, L’ Art Degenere d’phare (Lighthouse Degenerate Art) honors the contemporary artists who works were banned by the Nazis of World War II and displayed in the Degenerate Art Exhibit. The works of art were formerly exhibited in German Museums.
My painting of Crooked River Lighthouse is a refreshing rendition of a lighthouse. It captured the imagination of the family of the family of former light keepers.
The Blue Angels certainly lived out their motto “Ambassadors of Goodwill” during 2020. Their “American Strong” salute honored healthcare workers, first responders, essential personnel, etc. They flew over hard hit states like Arkansas, California, Florida, New York, Tennessee and more.
The team is station at Fort Sherman Field, Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida during air show season. Their mission is bring aviation to men, women and children across America. For 74 years they have mesmerized over more than 450 million spectators.
I too have been mesmerized by the Blue Angels. Although I've been to many air shows, I was spellbound by the sight and sounds of the Blue Angels performing on their home turf.
My experience of watching the Blue Angles influenced my lighthouse painting. The drips of paint and splashes of color allude to their magical yet patriotic and majestic performance.
Established in 1856 in the New Dorp (taken from the Dutch Nieuwe Dorp for "new village") section of Staten Island, the lighthouse stands guard on a hill.
New Dorp Lighthouse was part of a system of three sets of lights. It was a family station located two miles from the shore. In 1997 it was named a New York Landmark as a unique vernacular building with unusual design and outstanding architectural character. (Jeremy D'Entremont, the Lighthouse Handbook, Hudson River and New York Harbor.)
It is a New York Landmark that is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Yet the average onlooker wouldn't see much significance to this lighthouse. Shrouded in the woods and mystery it is somewhat difficult to see at all. My son and I overcame many obstacles to paint this lighthouse and were rewarded with a vista of shadows and sunlight and an awe inspiring view of the lighthouse.
In 1830s, German and Irish immigrants built a new canal to connect Lake Pontchartrain to the city of New Orleans. Before completion, Congress authorized a light at the entrance to New Canal. The lighthouse has been rebuilt several times and one was auctioned.