Afternoon Shadows and Gully Morris Island 16X 20"
There are many beautiful sea islands that surround Charleston, Beaufort, and Georgetown which remain unpopulated and sometimes remained remote; most now have been molested by housing projects and developments that have made these islands inhabited and subsequently altered. Islands to the north, such as Cape Island and Bulls Island, and to the south, Otter Island, Pritchard's Island, and Murphy's Island, remain untampered and raw, rustic, difficult to explore.
One island remains uninhabited bordering Charleston Harbor and it's once dangerous and shallow inlet. Morris Island was once a large and beautiful sea island that was home only to the "lightkeeper" and one of the three previous lighthouses that made home of the island, helping ships to navigate their way into the harbor and over the shallow entrance sand shoals prior to entering the deep "channel" which coursed in a diagonal from southeast to the northwest prior to entering the harbor proper. This island has witnessed many shipwrecks and many sea battles, including a bloody siege warfare battle in 1863, The Battle of Morris Island and Siege of Battery Wagner, claimed to be one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. The most devastating battle that Morris Island witnessed, however, was the battle with erosion.
Following the Civil War, it was felt by many that this beautiful and potentially productive port was burdened by this treacherous inlet and plans were made to permanently deal with the problem by building a massive jetty which would clear a deep channel for large ships to pass safely in and out . The Army Corps of Engineers was brilliantly successful at conquering that problem only to create more problems. Since the north to south flow of sand along the Atlantic could no longer pass across the inlet to continue moving south, Morris Island began to disappear at an alarming rate. Comparing the Island's size and shape in 1863 to that of the 1930's, the locals were shocked to see how much the island shifted landward causing Folly Island to disappear as well. Dynamite was used to create a pathway for sand to move south, but provided little help with Morris Island's erosion. "Dynamite Hole" remains in the south jetty and provides great fishing options for local fishermen.
During the great hurricane of the 1930's , huge chunks of the island disappeared and since, the island continues to shrink yearly. The beautiful Lightkeepers house disappeared during my father's life time, and although the lighthouse remains on the south end of the island, it is generally surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean at all tides.
Thankfully, no developers have been able to stake claim to an approved building project on this ailing ghost of the former island.
Nevertheless, it remains an beautiful fragment of itself as pictured in this late afternoon autumn scene featuring sea oats, sawgrass, dunes and gullies. This is a 15 ounce acrylic painting 16 X 20 " on cavass.