The Curry Coastal Pilot

West Coast lighthouse artist Leonard Burton will exhibit work at Wright's Custom Framing and Art Supplies for the months of June and July.

He will be showing several original oil paintings and framed prints as well as wood lighthouse items.

When asked why he paints lighthouses, Burton replied, "I enjoy painting scenery and structure and the two seemed to go together."

He painted a variety of subjects; Violet, his wife, suggested he concentrate on a series, so he chose West Coast lighthouses. He has painted 25 of them, from Old Point Loma in San Diego to North Head in Washington.

Angel's Gate Lighthouse in Los Angeles Harbor was the first one painted out of 20 different ones. St. George Reef Lighthouse has been the most popular with six different renditions, two of which were commissions. Oregon Coast Magazine featured St. George in an issue and used one of his pieces in the article.

He concentrated just on West Coast lighthouses because there were more East Coast ones available and the West Coast ones are different in design. The Point Arena lighthouse is a good example. It was damaged in the 1906 earthquake. The person who rebuilt it was a smoke stack builder so now it looks like a big smoke stack.It originally was similar to Pigeon Point Light.

Over the years many of the sentries of the sea have been decommissioned and are now in the hands of historical societies. The region is fortunate to have several of these lights within a couple hours drive - Coquille River in Bandon, Cape Blanco in Sixes and Battery Point in Crescent City.The Fresnel lens from the St. George light can be seen in the Del Norte County Historical Society Museum in Crescent City.

Lighthouses are what brought Len and Violet to the Pacific Northwest. They traveled up and down the coast taking photos for Len to later paint on canvas.

Len will be at Wright's for the June Second Saturday Art Walk today (June 8) from 4 to 7 p.m. and said he will be happy to answer questions and share his information about lighthouses.