Sunday, September 13, 2009
Exploring Point Atkinson
In between painting canvases this weekend, I did some research on Point Atkinson lighthouse and, contrary to what I'd been told, there's a wealth of information to be had about it and other British Columbia lighthouses. My first priority was to find a view of the lighthouse appropriate for my ornament format. The lovely photo supplied by my neighbor (see my last entry) was inspiration enough to fuel my search. In case you're wondering why I couldn't use that photo, the photo of my final design pictured here will give you an answer.
Ideally I love to incorporate water in a lighthouse design; the first photo included water, but at the very bottom of the photo. Furthermore, the 185 acres of virgin forest behind the lighthouse in the first photo obscured any sky at all. And in order to include both water and forest, the lighthouse itself would have been minuscule, leaving no possibility of detail. Then I found a photo taken immediately behind the lighthouse, overlooking that incredible cliff in the first photo. Using this angle, I could have my cake and eat it, too!
The first lighthouse at Point Atkinson was built in 1874 and was a wooden tower with a keeper's house attached. In 1881, the acreage that now encompasses Lighthouse Park in Vancouver was set aside as a backdrop for the lighthouse. The 60-foot hexagonal tower we see today was built in 1912, equipped with a third-order Fresnel lens emitting two white flashes every five seconds as its nighttime identification. Keepers remained on duty at the lighthouse until 1996, when the station became automated. Designated a National Historic Site in 1994, it is owned and operated by the Canadian Coast Guard.
As I begin stitching the canvas, I'll first outline the white of the tower and proceed with some needle-blended sky, so check back in a couple of days to see my progress!