I'm trying to illuminate a model from somewhere other that the eye point. How do I do this?
You create a light.
Any object can be turned into a light. Lights are basically a type of shader where you can specify whether they should be considered area lights, point light sources, directional lights, etc.
# create a primitive
make sph sph
# create a region
r light.r u sph
# make it a light
mater light.r light 255 255 255 0
Now if you move sph or light.r around, resize accordingly, you'll have a simple area light source.
Note that if you have a light in the scene being rendered, it will disable the default lights. So you might just get a black picture if you don't position the lights correctly.