This week’s March 20, 2020 Dan’s Papers cover artist Cheryl Huneke discusses the inspiration for her lovely portrait of the Montauk Lighthouse—which has a personal meaning to her—her artistic process, Montauk’s beauty and more.
What was the inspiration for this piece?
My inspiration was initially sparked when my husband and I first dated and he drove me out to Montauk Point and introduced me for the first time to the town and the lighthouse. I was amazed and in awe of it at first sight, and I took lots of photographs of the lighthouse that day, which inspired me back then to do an acrylic on canvas painting of the lighthouse.
After we married, my husband and I revisited Montauk on numerous anniversary getaway trips to enjoy the unique town and its amazing lighthouse. On each trip back to Montauk, I took countless photos of the lighthouse, its grounds and beaches surrounding it from many different angles and perspectives. I finally chose a particular photo I took during a recent visit that inspired me again to paint the unique Montauk lighthouse in a watercolor medium.
Where do you find inspiration for your work in general?
I find inspiration for my artwork all around me. In other artists and their work, my family and friends, nature, animals and many of Long Island’s towns and beaches, along with pop culture, movies, actors and singers have all motivated me at one time or another to create my artwork in several art mediums; pencil, colored pencil, watercolor, pen and ink or a combination of them.
Talk about your artistic process.
My artistic process starts with a thought or an idea to create something that “moves” me or “speaks to me” and sparks inspiration inside me to recreate it in an art form. I then begin my sketching process in pencil to try and put on paper my idea to see if I can reproduce what I have in my mind onto paper. Once I get my preliminary sketch on paper and I am happy with it, I decide what medium to use—pencil, watercolor, colored pencil, pen and ink or a combination of them. I transfer my final sketch onto the specific art paper needed for the artwork medium I am going to complete. I then work on the piece anywhere from one or more hours at a time over a period of days or weeks, depending on the size and medium I have chosen for the piece.
Each art piece requires individual time and attention as inspiration takes over and I am “artistically motivated” from inside myself to work on and complete my art piece. When I feel the piece is basically done, I leave it for a few hours or a day or so and then come back to it and look it over to see if I am totally happy with the artwork or if I feel I have to add something else to complete the piece.
What does the Montauk Lighthouse mean to you?
The Montauk Lighthouse means to me to be one of the most amazing places on Long Island. Because of its historic background, amazing location, view of the ocean and its architectural features, we have returned there many times over the years and I have taken numerous photographs—each one is a unique inspired view of this landmark.
It will always have a special place in my heart for me as the first lighthouse my husband and I went and discovered together and it brought us closer together with our mutual love of the town and its lighthouse. The inspiration to create my watercolor of the lighthouse was motivated by one of my photographs taken on one of our recent trips there.
How did growing up on Long Island inform your work?
I grew up going to the beach every weekend in the summer as a child with my family. My love of the ocean, waves, sand, shells and the beaches have always been a favorite of mine. I’m sure growing up so near the water played a large roll in my love of creating art. You can create anything in the sand and water on the beach, and collect shells, sea glass and driftwood to make into your creations. I have always loved to create things since I was young, and the beach was one of the first places that inspired me to do that.
Everywhere I go I see things that inspire me to make into artwork using many art mediums. There are so many things to see and explore on Long Island that create constant artistic inspiration that has influenced me since I was a young child.
Besides the lighthouse, what are some of your favorite Long Island spots?
“I have so many favorite spots on Long Island. To name a few: Greenport, Orient Point, Horton Point Lighthouse with its grounds and beach, Patchogue and its Great South bay beaches and views of Fire Island, Robert Moses beach and the Fire Island Lighthouse, which has an amazing 360-degree view of the ocean if you climb to the top! Smith Point Park and beach have lovely oceanfront beaches, great for walking and relaxing as you watch the waves while enjoying the view and inspiring your imagination. This beach also has the amazing TWA Flight 800 memorial, a great spot for reflection and peace.
Bellport is a small, quaint town that with its cute unique storefronts, are perfect for strolling on the sidewalks and window shopping.
Water Mill has amazing original old windmills that are awesome to see and photograph.
I also love to walk and shop in the many antique shops throughout the East End. When you’re in those shops, looking at old items from the past, it seems to invoke artistic inspiration and motivation for me to create a new piece of art.
Visit cherylsartstudioli.com for more of Cheryl Huneke’s work.