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Itinerant Artist

There is no doubt that lighthouses attract the talents of many artists, writers and photographers. The history and intrigue of lighthouses and their keepers along with their rugged locations and stunningly beautiful scenery make the perfect backdrop for writers and artists to ply their crafts. Likewise, the talents of these individuals make it possible to share the beauty and mystery of lighthouses with those who may never be able to visit one in person.

Such is the story of Jim Mott. An artist based in Rochester, NY, Jim created a program called the Itinerant Artist Project as a way to visit unique places around the country trading art for room and board. The project is defined as “a painting-based project with strong public outreach and performance dimensions. It involves locating (by various means) a series of voluntary ‘hosts’ around the USA, touring by car from host to host, and at each stop painting several small location paintings, offering one in exchange for the hospitality provided (room, board and occasional conversation for 2-5 days).” In September 2015, Jim came to Fairport Harbor West Lighthouse as his first stop of 18 on a tour that lasted until December and ended in California. We were happy to host him.

Fortunately, the day Jim arrived, it was warm and sunny. Jim carried out what he needed for the stay including his paints and art supplies. He was able to get settled into the guest room and take a dip in the lake to cool off from his travels. The lighthouse is certainly used to hosting guests, but this was not just the usual sleepover. Rather, it was an opportunity for Jim to enjoy the uniqueness of NE Ohio and the serene beauty of Mentor Headlands State Park, Lake Erie and the surrounding area while creating unique works of art.

Because it was early September, and most people were back at work and school from the summer break, Jim had the place to himself. Fortunately, that’s usually when artists work best. The quiet solitude allowed him to create a portrait of the lighthouse and other scenes and after a short two-day visit, he headed out. With 17 more stops over the next two months, there wasn’t a lot of time to linger. We were happy to participate in the Itinerant Artist project and thrilled with the final product.

For more information on Jim Mott and the Itinerant Artist Project, please check out his website.

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