Preservation 50 Friday: A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Gay Head Lighthouse

Gay Head Lighthouse copyrighted by Elaine Marie Austin.

I thought about the adage, ” A picture is worth a thousand words,” as I began trying to figure out how to paint the Gay Head Lighthouse. The stunning colors of the cliffs were amazing backdrops for the lighthouse.

The two were intertwined. As the cliffs eroded they created additional hazards for mariners sailing through the rocky coast. Thus, part of the rationale for the building of the lighthouse was to warn mariners of these hazards.

Then, I learned that the Gay Head Lighthouse was just moved to avoid dropping off the cliffs due to erosion.

It was now in its final resting place–for at least another 160 years! Yet, a banner and reinforcements were still in place— a daunting reminder of what had just happened.

Finally, I got inspiration and began painting. I call my lighthouse paintings portraits. Each tells a unique story. What a story to tell. In the painting, the lighthouse is in two sections to signify movement.

For more on my lighthouse paintings, visit


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