Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Swallowtail: Iconic Lighthouse

Swallowtail Light is one of those icons of the Maritime Provinces that never ceases to attract photographers to snap their own personal image of the commanding structure on a bleak promontory.

For those of us who live on Grand Manan, the name "Swallowtail" is something we just take for granted without thinking about it much.  But when you stop to ponder the name, it does seem rather odd for a lighthouse.

The name actually referred originally to the point of land on which the light was built.  It fans out from a narrow isthmus to look, if you have a flexible enough imagination, like the tail of a swallow; or the "swallow's tail".  Whatever your imagination might fancy it to resemble, it is the bold and rugged promontory that really sets this lighthouse apart as being so striking. And so the rugged rocks of Swallowtail are important and must be integral to any image of this lighthouse.

This painting of Swallowtail Light, which I call "Swallowtail Surf" was one of my earlier lighthouse paintings, and the prints from this painting have proved to be a perenial favourite among those who love images of our rugged Atlantic coast.

"Swallowtail Surf" is my feature print today in From Our Cove's Etsy shop.  This print really resonates with those who have loved scrambling over the rocky coves and points along our Atlantic coast, pausing from time to time to be invigorated by the tang of cold salt spray.  The actual lighthouse plays a distant second fiddle to the rocks and surf in the foreground.

I had a lot of fun painting the rocks and surf and many people have told me that they enjoy the power of the sea conveyed in the print.  I hope you have an opportunity to enjoy it too.

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