Friday, October 12, 2018

San Marco Birthday Celebration

Experience captivating art Trends Art and Home Boutique in San Marco.

Enjoy family friendly events at the 21st Anniversary of the installation of the Lions Fountain. The San Marco Preservation Society and the San Marco Merchants Association hosts a birthday celebration on Saturday from 4-8 pm. Experience art at Trends Home and Art Boutique. Trends is open 11-4 pm. 

Trends is located at 3915 Hendricks Avenue. 

San Marco is a popular destination in Jacksonville, Florida. It is home to art galleries, Art Deco buildings, outstanding restaurants, historic mansions, fashionable boutiques and more.  

Friday, October 5, 2018

Experience Captivating Art at Trends

Memorial Presbyterian Church in St. Augustine, Florida. 

After being featured in the United States Loghthouse Society's newsletter, I unveil two Plein Air paintings at Trends Art and Home Boutique. The two paintings showcase my captivating and colorful style. My work is part of the Art Guild of Orange Park's "Our Town" juried exhibit from October 7-November 3. An opening reception is on October 7 from 3-5 pm. Trends is open Tuesday-Saturday. 

Trends Art and Home Boutique is located in San Marco at 3915 Hendricks Avenue. San Marco is a popular destination in Jacksonville, Florida. It is home to art galleries, Art Deco buildings, outstanding restaurants, historic mansions, fashionable boutiques and more.  

For more information, call 904-346-1738.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Save Big and Stay at a Lighthouse

Blackhead Lighthouse in Ireland.

Lighthouses offer world class accommodations for a minimal cost. Not only do you save money while staying at a lighthouse but all profits go toward preservation efforts.

I stayed in Blackhead Lighthouse in Ireland. It had fireplaces throughout the lighthouse, was fully furnished and the kitchen was equipped with dinnerware and cookware. The lighthouse proudly stood on a towering cliff displaying its magnificence.

Blackhead Lighthouse is designated as one the Great Lighthouses of Ireland. Each lighthouse features accommodations.

You won’t get a more magnificent view of the ocean than at a lighthouse. The room I stayed in had a grand ocean view. It was equipped with elegant furnishings and a fireplace. At night, I sat on the porch to enjoy the fleeting sunset and sunrise. During the night, I was mesmerized by the quiet beam of the lighthouse that pierced the darkness.

For more information, visit Great Lighthouses

Monday, September 24, 2018

London's Only Lighthouse

Trinity Lighthouse in Londn. 

Trinity Lighthouse or Bow Creek Lighthouse was the first European Lighthouse that I visited. It was erected by the Corporation of Trinity House in 1864-66.

King Henry VII established Trinity House as a self governing institution. However, Queen Elizabeth I brought Trinity House into greater prominence with the Seamarks Act of 1566.

In 1803 Trinity House established Blackwall Depot. New keepers would be trained at Blackwall in east London where the dummy (Trinity) lighthouse is situated. The original lighthouse was built in 1852 and demolished in the 1920s.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Guardians of Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay Watch Lighthouse 

Discover the Tampa Bay Watch Lighthouse at Tierra Verde and explore Florida's newest lighthouse. The Tierra Verde lighthouse over looks Florida's largest estuary, Tampa Bay.

As guardians of the lighthouse and the estuary, Tampa Bay Watch offers many conservation, educational outreach events and recreational programs. 

The Tampa Bay Watch  or Tierra Verde Lighthouse was  built in 2005. 

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.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Biloxi Lighthouse has survived over 20 Hurricanes

Biloxi Lighthouse in Mississippi. 

Dodging cars like a nervous pedestrian, the historic Biloxi Lighthouse appears to pause beside a busy highway.

Lighthouses adorn postcards and remind us of peaceful days gone by. We always like to fool ourselves that the past was better than the present. If we are honest with ourselves we would remember that the past was also fraught with struggles.  

The Biloxi Lighthouse has become an emblem for the city. It has survived over 20 hurricanes, the Civil War and Civil Rights protests since it was built in 1848. It thrives on a busy 4 lane highway oblivious to the hustle and bustle around it. 

Struggles either bring out the best in us or the worst in us.  This lighthouse survives in spite of the perils it faced. Life changes and we must adapt to the harsh realities facing us and not look back for perceived  safer days. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Lighthouses Built to be in Harm's Way

New Canal Lighthouse 

Hurricanes do terrible damage to lighthouses. I know that lives are of far more value than lighthouses. Still I can't help but wonder how Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and the other lighthouses on the East Coat will be impacted by Hurricane Florence. It goes without saying that lighthouses are high risk real estate. The sole purpose of a lighthouse is to save lives in dangerous places. 

I thought about this while finishing this article on New Canal Lighthouse in New Orleans. It was severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina.

I visited the New Canal Lighthouse during an overnight stay in New Orleans. I realize the typical tourist in New Orleans doesn’t visit a lighthouse but I was surprised when the Concierge had no knowledge of any Lighthouses in the area. In fact there were two-New Canal and Port Pontchartrain. 

Undaunted I used GPS to find the lighthouse. I arrived a few hours before the lighthouse opened. 

The New Canal Lighthouse resembles a house. The rebuilt lighthouse sits atop pilings to prevent storm surges like the one caused by Hurricane Katrina. The lighthouse was restored by the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation in 2012. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Hidden Figures of Ligthouses

When I painted the St. Augustine Lighthouse for the fourth time, I found new inspiration...female lightkeepers. I was surprised like most people when I recently discovered that so many lightkeepers were women. I have visited many of these lighthouses like St. Augustine before and somehow overlooked this fact. In times past, lightkeeping was one of the few professions open to women. One of the highest paid lightkeepers was Ida Lewis.

St. Augustine Lighthouse had two female keepers, Maria Andreu and Kate Harn. There is a photo of  Harn on display in the Keepers House, and a placard about her inside the lighthouse stairwell. There is also some information on Andreu.

Armed with this new insight about female keepers, I rendered the strength and softness of the lighthouse. Clouds lingered above and bright yellow flowers blossomed below. In my painting, they symbolized the tenderness of these women who cared for their families and schooled their children. Keepers were a rare breed. It took a lot of courage to work a desolate lighthouse. Families were responsible for growing their own food. Both men and women keepers ensured the light burned and rescued shipwreck mariners while keeping the lighthouse in tip top shape.

Monday, September 10, 2018

This Lighthouse Makes it to the Bucket List

The Gay Head Cliffs in the town of Aquinnah on Martha's Vineyard are so spectacular that they make it to the bucket list. It's no wonder that Gay Head Cliffs and the Lighthouse are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 

The lighthouse is near a beach that was featured in the movie, "Jaws." There's even a shot of the lighthouse in the movie.

By happy circumstance, I was visiting Martha's Vineyard when the lighthouse was moved a few years ago. It was in danger of falling off the magnificent cliffs. 

Moving the lighthouse was nothing short of a miracle. The lighthouse was put on a track to move it to a safer place. What a feat! After cheers and champagne, the Gay Head Advisory Committee got a list of more needed repairs. 

This is not the first time the lighthouse was moved. After being completed in November 1779, lighthouse was first moved in 1844. 

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Held at Bay

Peering at the lighthouse from the parking lot, I felt disconnected. I transferred my feelings to this painting.  

Standing guard over what looks like a haunted house, the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse soars behind trees. You'll find no ghosts in the oil storage house. 

My mixed feelings about this lighthouse probably is rooted in the fact that I was told to draw it from the parking lot! I then wondered if I should have asked for permission in the first place. Still I knew even in the parking lot, I would be able to see most of the lighthouse. 

Lighthouses are pretty hard to hide. As one writer stated " The very nature of a lighthouse is to stand out: by it's height, cost, technical complexity, complex  construction, techniques, isolation and spectacular appearance." 

The lighthouse opened in 1860 and stands on a shell mound created by Native Americans. The keepers quarters burned to the ground in 1927. 

Friday, September 7, 2018

Perils in Paradise

I love Hillsboro Lighthouse. The idyllic setting reminds me of Gilligan's Island. While the castaways were marooned, thankfully tour boats departed and embarked regularly. The Hillsboro Lighthouse Preservation Society periodically schedules tours. 

Adorned with palm trees and surrounded by a scenic beach, this island paradise is great for swimming and snorkeling. I paused to watch a family anchor their boat offshore and dive playfully into the ocean. While other visitors toured, I sketched and chatted with the Coast Guard crew and their family.

After finishing a cold bottle of water given to me by the Coast Guard, I climbed the lighthouse. I stopped by the statue of The Barefooted Mailman. The statue memorializes James Hamilton who mysteriously disappeared while on duty. Traveling by boat and walking along a sandy shore, the first mailmen worked the barefoot route from Palm Beach to Miami. 

The historic Hillsboro Inlet Lighthouse was built and commissioned in 1907. The lighthouse, also called "Big Diamond" is unique. With of a beam of 28 nautical miles, it is has the strongest light beam of all US lighthouses. It has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1978. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Relishing the Sun

I painted Cape Florida Lighthouse after a week of rain. Delighted that the dark clouds had finally given way to the Florida sun, I headed to Key Biscayne to see Cape Florida Lighthouse. 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. Relishing the sun and celebrating the magnificence of the white tower, I painted the lighthouse emerging from the rain.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Blue Skies and Sunny Days

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Amelia Island Lighthouse is Florida's oldest lighthouse. The lighthouse was originally built on Georgia's Cumberland Island in 1818-20. It was moved to Florida in 1839. 

I painted Amelia Island Lighthouse on a sunny day with blue skies. It stood as a closely guarded secret because there were no directional signs for getting there. My sister and I discovered  the lighthouse hidden in a neighborhood. 

In the painting, the lighthouse is camouflaged which contradicts the true purpose of a lighthouse. But this is the way I felt when we discovered the lighthouse.

The painting alludes to the Coast Guard's conflicting efforts to diligently to protect, mask and guard lighthouses in secrecy while at the same time allowing them to be a beacon in the darkness. 

Monday, September 3, 2018

A Marvel of Human Ingenuity

The upside down lighthouse on Rathlin Island in Ireland is a marvel of human ingenuity. Unlike most lighthouses, the Keepers at West Rathlin Lighthouse had to climb down to the light. The Commissioners of Irish Lights Engineer-in-Chief CW Scott came up with this novel idea. Because the top cliff was often obscured by fog and low clouds, a traditional lighthouse would not do. 

 Built in 1912 on a somewhat vertical cliff, the project was a huge undertaking. It took almost 4 years to complete. The enormous amount concrete used had to be mixed by hand. An inclined railway was built for transporting materials. 

Friday, August 31, 2018

Turning the Tide

I traveled to Trinity Buoy Wharf to sketch London's only lighthouse, Bow Creek or Trinity Lighthouse, a day before my visit to see the paintings of JMW Turner in the Tate Museum in London. I admire the art of Turner and was excited about my upcoming visit to the Tate Museum. There was much to see-Turner bequeathed over 300 paintings to museum.

But first I was headed to the lighthouse. As we got off the Tube, we followed the directional signs to Trinity Buoy Wharf. Once there, we happened upon a lightship, in addition to the lighthouse. Two light vessels at one stop! Amazed, I hurriedly sketched the lighthouse. As the wind flipped the pages, I quickly sketched the lightship while my daughter took shelter in a nearby restaurant.

As I sketched the lightship, I thought about Turner and pondered how I could pay tribute to him. Pausing for moment, I became spellbound by the lightship that was now converted into a studio. 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'...”j