Preservation 50 Friday: Local Lights

Gross Point Lighthouse in Evanston, Illinois.

Gross Point Lighthouse in Evanston, Illinois.

The very nature of a lighthouse is to standout: by its height, cost, complexity, construction, isolation and spectacular appearance. (D. Charles)

New Canal Lighthouse in New Orleans, Louisianna.

New Canal Lighthouse in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Lighthouses may stand out but ironically locals oftentimes don’t know they have a lighthouse in their city.

Trinity House Lighthouse in London, UK.

Trinity House Lighthouse in London, UK.

Such was the case in London, New Orleans and Evanston.

So do you know if you have a local lighthouse?

Preservation 50 Friday: Biloxi’s Enduring Light

Biloxi Lighthouse, Miss

Biloxi Lighthouse, Mississippi

Dodging cars like a nervous pedestrian, the historic Biloxi Lighthouse stands beside a busy highway.

Lighthouses adorn postcards and remind us of peaceful days gone by. We always like to fool ourselves that the past was better than the present. Some people even try to make social movements out of the past.

If we are honest with ourselves we would remember that the past was fraught with struggles. The Biloxi Lighthouse in Mississippi has withstood the Civil War, Civil Rights protests and hurricane Katrina. I was reminded of this landmark when thinking about the attack in Orlando.

Struggles either bring out the best in us or the worst in us. This lighthouse in spite of the perils it faced survives on a busy roadway. Life changes and we must adapt to the harsh realities facing us and not look back for perceived safer days.

Preservation 50 Friday: London’s Lightship

Trinity House Lightship

Trinity House Lightship, London UK copyright

I admire the art of JMW Turner. When I visited London this past winter, I stopped by the Tate Britain Museum. I was excited about the museum because Turner bequeathed over 300 paintings to the Tate.

A few days before visiting the Tate, I had traveled to Trinity Buoy Wharf to sketch London’s only Lighthouse. While there I also sketched the Trinity House Lightship. As I sketched, I thought about Turner and pondered how I could pay tribute to him.

Back in the United States, I looked at my yellow foreground and became inspired when I thought about how much Turner used yellow. According to the book “How to Paint like Turner”, “Some of Turner’s most daring and experimental innovations centered around his use of yellow. It seems to have been his favorite color and he used it liberally. ” “For more than thirty years his use of yellow became one of the most frequently mentioned aspects of his art, with critics variously accusing him of yellow fever”…

Preservation 50 Friday: Making History in St. Augustine

Painting of st. Augustine lighthouse.

St. Augustine Lighthouse copyright Elaine Marie.

The old adage “I couldn’t see the forest for the trees” applies to my outing at the St. Augustine Lighthouse. I struggled to get a clear view of this lighthouse. It stood surrounded by a canopy of trees.

I had been forced to draw lighthouses in the parking lot before but now on the grounds I was too close to be objective. This applied in many ways.

I had visited St. Augustine Lighthouse many times over the years. I also had a painting of the Lighthouse by another artist in my home. Now it was my turn to paint, what would I say? How could I capture it?

The city of St. Augustine is steep in history and tradition. Within the tradition, there are numerous stories of ghosts and mysterious happenings, as well. Thinking about all this I decided to capture its mystery and strong tradition.

Unlike the other lighthouses, its huge base dominates the lighthouse as much as the contrasting daymark. With this in mind, I began painting the St. Augustine.

Preservation 50 Friday: Family Fun at the St. Augustine Lighthouse

St. Augustine Lighthouse.

The St. Augustine Lighthouse.

The St. Augustine Lighthouse offers a fun-filled day for the family. There is a nautical play area near the Hammock Park. Few of the other lighthouses I had visited before were so family friendly.

Kids play area.

Kids will have fun at the St. Augustine Lighthouse.

The Keepers’ House offers an intimate look at the life of Lightkeepers that kids will enjoy. There is a living room, time line, displays and lots of area history. After visiting the museum, climb the lighthouse.


Get ready to climb the St. Augustine Lighthouse.

Enter at the Lighthouse Oil Room where the lighthouse’s supply of lard oil was once stored.

Toting the oil

Toting the oil and keeping the light burning was a major challenge for Lightkeepers.

A sign challenges climbers to imagine Lightkeepers climbing the stairs while “toting the oil.” Stop by the Lightkeepers Office and Workroom. This lighthouse gives insight into the lives of Lightkeepers and their families.

For more on the St. Augustine Lighthouse, visit