Monday, April 13, 2009

A different kind of lighthouse

While I was sharing some of my Easter-themed designs last week, behind the scenes I was painting lighthouse ornament canvases like a crazy lady! Sixteen canvases in one week is by no means my personal best, but one of the lighthouses needed to be adapted first and was of a type I'd not attempted before.

According to one of my reference books, lighthouses are categorized by shape, design, and foundation. They can be conical, cylindrical, octagonal, square or pyramidal. Some can be eclectic in design or distinctly Victorian in their abundance of "gingerbread" trim. Then there are the reef, caisson and screwpile lighthouses, so named for the various ways their foundations are secured at their locations. But a style known as an iron skeletal lighthouse, which falls in the latter category, is a bit of a nightmare for a stitch-painter to design.

Sanibel Island lighthouse, shown here, is located in a string of barrier islands along the southwestern coast of Florida. The engineers who constructed the lighthouse in 1884 showed great forethought in choosing the skeletal design, as this region is buffeted by tremendous hurricanes. After one such hurricane in 1947, the keeper's dwelling in front of the tower was left standing in a foot of water due to beach erosion.

The Coast Guard transferred custody of the property to the City of Sanibel in 2008. City employees now live in the two dwellings at the base of the tower rent-free in exchange for helping to maintain the property.

Now I have model No. 79 to stitch, and hope you'll follow my progress!


Anonymous said...

What an interesting history this lighthouse has! And I can see it will be a challenge to stitch. I'll be looking forward to updates on this one!

Front Range Stitcher said...

Excellent! I enjoyed your commentary on this lighthouse and the design is very nice. Hope you do the Nubble off the coast of Maine. I'll be following along and look forward to seeing you bring your lighthouse to life.

Possibilities, Etc. said...

Sanibel is one of my most favorite places down there, due to the zillions of seashells. However, this lighthouse looks more like an oil derrick. It will be interesting to see what you do with it.

Love to Stitch 99 said...


That is a very nice one.

I have a question for you since you have researched and painted so many lighthouses.

If you were to create an ideal lighthouse scene for yourself where you could add whatever details you desire, what would it be?

I know that mine would require a bigger canvas to contain everything I would like to see in it (lol)

Pierrette =^..^=

Anne Stradal said...

Interesting question, Pierrette! My favorites among the ones I've done are those incorporating water, but that's not always possible given the way a lighthouse is situated (perched atop a cliff, for instance). I love the ones in which the lighthouse itself is incorporated within the keeper's house. Add a few flowers and trees, all within a design area of 2-1/2 x 5 inches, and that would be my perfect lighthouse!

Possibilities, Etc. said...

Consider also the 'gator pond at St. Marks for added character - it's a salt marsh just across the road. One is only safe getting out of the car when they are hibernating. Then there is the monarch migration - the bushes are covered during "the season." Glorious sight!!