Friday, September 21, 2018

Escape to Gasparilla Island

Gasparilla Lighthouse
Gasparilla Lighthouse

Located on white sandy shores off the azure waters of the Gulf Coast, Gasparilla Island is an ideal escape. The two Lighthouses offer much to explore. 

The Port Boca Grande Lighthouse was built in  1880. It has a museum, restrooms  and a chapel nearby. 

The Historic Gasparilla  Lighthouse was built in 1881 as the Delaware Breakwater Rear Range Light in Lewes, Delaware. In 1921 it was disassembled and transported to Florida. After a delay due to funding, the Lighthouse was reassembled in 1927 and installed on Gasparilla Island. 

You’ll find a pristine shoreline, cabanas and a walkway near the lighthouse. 

The Historic Gasparilla Lighthouse is being restored by the Barrier Island Parks Society.

For information on how to help with restoration efforts and visiting the lighthouse check out Gasparilla Lighthouse

Thursday, September 20, 2018

The Little Red Lighthouse

Little Red Lighthouse 
This lighthouse was featured in the book, "The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge" by Hildegarde W. Swift and Lynd Ward.

The story was so compelling that it inspired hundreds of children to write letters about saving this lighthouse. I love books that inspire children to make a difference. 

The edition I read included colorful pictures of the watercolors painted by the illustrator Lynd Ward for the first time. 

The picture book begins with the building of the Little Red Lighthouse on the Hudson River. It explores  the conversations the Lighthouse has with steamers, canoes and more. The turning point of the story comes with the construction of the Great Gray Bridge. The tension between the two becomes the crux of the story. 

I am happy that a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the book is donated to the Little Red Lighthouse (Jeffrey's Hook Lighthouse) outreach and education programs. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Life After Death

Located in an original Dutch settlement, the New Dorp Lighthouse on Staten Island is nettled behind trees. Ironically located next to the Moravian Cemetery, the lighthouse was given new life when it was purchased by a private owner. After purchasing it for $32,000, he meticulously restored what had been an eyesore due to neglect. 

New Dorp Lighthouse is a New York Landmark listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Yet the average onlooker might not see this much significance to the lighthouse. Shrouded in the woods and mystery it is somewhat difficult to see at all. 

My son and I overcame many obstacles, dead end streets, treacherous terrain to paint this lighthouse and were rewarded with a vista of shadows and sunlight that gave an awe inspiring view of the lighthouse.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

You'd never guess this was once a lighthouse

There's a little know fact that most people don't know about the Statue of Liberty. 

Congressional acceptance of the gift from France specified that the Statue of Liberty would be maintained as a beacon. The famous and beloved torch was once a navigational tool for ships entering the New York harbor. The Statue's days as a lighthouse ended in 1902.

My son and I caught the Staten Island Ferry for our visit to the National Lighthouse Museum and the lighthouses on Staten Island. On the way, we caught a distant view of the Statue of Liberty.

While I had pledged not to sketch such a touristy site, I was persuaded otherwise when looking at Lady Liberty. Something magical stirred in me. 

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 moment in a painting but failed to portray the same emotions and energy I felt when looking at the Statue of Liberty in awe. Viva la France!

Monday, September 17, 2018

Trading Places at Simons

Having already visited Tybee Island Lighthouse near Savannah, I was excited about finishing the day with one final lighthouse in Georgia.

Although the lighthouse was closed when I finally arrived, 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 decided 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. I painted this odd exchange in my painting.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Missing the Point

Grosse Point Lighthouse on Lake Michigan.

Surveying a city map of Evanston, Illinois, I was surprised not to see any map symbols for the  Grosse Point Lighthouse. A walking distance from the center of downtown, the omission of the lighthouse on the map puzzled me. 

Evanston was once called Grosse Point hence Grosse Point Lighthouse. It really seemed sadly ironic that part of its history was erased by the exclusion of the lighthouse on the map. Because the city once petitioned Congress for ownership of the lighthouse, I remained baffled. Still the city of Evanston was a good caretaker of the lighthouse. It was in excellent condition. 

Grosse Point Lighthouse is one of the most stunning lighthouses I have visited.  I marveled at the immense Keepers House four stories high. Double doors marked the entrance to the lighthouse. The large sloping red road complimented the plush green lawn. Trees adorned the grounds and provided a picturesque backdrop. 

Evanston is near Chicago so when I painted the lighthouse, I added a wisp of pale color to allude to the moniker for Chicago-the "Windy City."

Grosse Point Lighthouse was built in 1783 by the United States as the lead lighthouse marking the approach to Chicago after several shipwrecks. On March 1, 1874 traditionally the start of the Great Lakes shipping season, Grosse Point Lighthouse sent its welcome beacon of light over the waters of Lake Michigan for the first time. 

Friday, September 14, 2018

Breaking the Sound Barrier

Pensacola Lighthouse and Museum.

I visited the Pensacola lighthouse with my family after attending a reunion in Mississippi. This would be the fourth and final lighthouse to sketch during our trip. I was happy to end the trip with a lighthouse I had longed to paint. Located on the western most tip of Florida, the lighthouse seemed to be unreachable.

Although rain had been forecasted for the day, we decided to visit the lighthouse on a cloudy morning.  After clearing security, we headed to the lighthouse. The National Naval Aviation Museum was in eyesight of the museum.

Although I've been to many air shows, the sight and sounds of the Blue Angels flying near the lighthouse caught my imagination. I tried to recapture my experience of watching the Blue Angles performing near the lighthouse with a dazzling display of colors and motion in my painting.

Recognizing the importance of Pensacola's harbor, the government decided to establish a naval yard and lighthouse in 1821. After the death of her husband, Michaela Lewis became a Lightkeeper from 1840-1855.