ROCK ISLAND LIGHTHOUSE NY
Three years ago I had to do a terrible thing.......
As Bill Younger traveled around the country visiting stores and collectors, he would almost always make time to visit nearby lighthouses. Over the years, Bill had taken tens of thousands of photos of lighthouses from all around the US, Europe, Russia, Asia and South America. It might well have been one of the most comprehensive collections of lighthouse photos in the world and I had to throw them into a dumpster. Yes I threw them all away! I had the collection hidden away in a storage garage where they were archived in 10 large, 4 foot wide by 5 foot tall filing cabinets. With the closing of Harbour Lights I could not personally afford to pay for the continued storage and after exhausting every avenue to find a good home for the collection, I came to the hard decision and hired a dumpster.
It took quite a long time as I kept finding myself stopping to look at photos of various lighthouses that brought back good memories. The filing cabinets went quickly thanks to an add on Craig's list. After throwing away a few pieces of trash and giving the garage a good sweeping, it was all done. I went back into the garage just to give it a final once over before I returned the keys and there, sitting in the middle of the room was a single solitary pack of photos. I picked them up, not sure how I'd missed them and rifled through the pictures. It was photos of what would have made a perfect Harbour Lights Christmas piece.
I took them home and put the pack on my desk intending to throw them away at a later date. Well they never did get thrown away and every once in a while I opened the pack and looked through the photos all the while thinking what a great Christmas piece this lighthouse would have made.
Well, I guess there was a reason for keeping them after all and below are the preliminary drawings and some photos of the sculpture that will be my first Christmas piece. Rock Island Lighthouse.
My normal work flow when starting a new sculpture is to do a series of drawings of the lighthouse that incorporate all the elements of the piece I want to be included. This helps me decide on the composition and the size of the sculpture. From there, I'll often do elevation drawings in order to make sure that I've worked out where all the features of the building are and that they are in the right place. This is quite important as I'm almost always working from photos, not architectural drawings and it can take a bit of detective work to find pictures showing every aspect of the building. Over the years I've drifted from drawing all these elevations by hand to using a simple 3D drawing program. Once the drawings are done and I'm happy with the look of the piece, the real fun begins. Sculpting.
The first phase is to block up the sculpture, simply getting the shape correct, no detail just simple shapes. This then progresses to laying out the key features, windows, doors, chimneys, etc, and then onto the longest part of the sculpting process, the detail work. Then finally and perhaps the hardest part is deciding when the sculpture is finished.
Drawing of Rock Island showing the final design.
Elevation drawings of the keeper's house, oil house and tower
Photos of the almost completed sculpture
The plan is to have the sculpture up on the website and available for sale in early November. I'm hoping for a ship date of the first week of December. This might change slightly based on the workshops production schedule.
I will keep you updated.