All images copyright © by Artist Dempsey Essick. All rights reserved
The whale oil wicks for the Currituck Beach Lighthouse were
first lighted on December 1st, 1875 and, while the light source now is
from electricity, the same first order Fresnel lens is still projecting
the warning flash to ships steering clear of the "Graveyard of the
Atlantic." Currituck Beach was the last of the four classic lighthouses
built on the style of the Cape Lookout light. Left unpainted as its "daymark"
the tower of a million bricks was so remote that it has only been in recent
years that sightseers could visit and appreciate the beauty of the setting.
In his painting Dempsey Essick has focused on the sole surviving
example of the Lighthouse Service's Dual Keepers Quarters which was pre-fabricated
and shipped to the site when the light was first built. The three-story
house is divided down the center forming two apartments that are mirror
images of each other. A covered cistern on each side collects rain water
which was the source of the families fresh water.
Backed by an offshore bank of cumulus clouds which bring
into relief the brick tower of the Currituck Light, the work demonstrates
Dempsey's maturity as an artist and is the debut of his long sought technique
of presenting cloud formations in water color which was previously thought
to be impossible.
Collectors and admirers of Dempsey's paintings will recognize
this as a work of enormous maturity bringing together, as it does, a beautiful
setting of historical significance rendered by an artist who is working
at the peak of his considerable talent.