Gasparilla Island Light restored to its former glory 

Built in 1881, Gasparilla Light is restored thanks to efforts by the local community, businesses, grants and the Barrier Island Parks Society. The non profit spearheaded the decades long task. The society received The Florida Trust Award for outstanding achievement. 

The lighthouse shines after receiving a replica of the original 4th order Fresnel lens and being recommissioning by the US Coast Guard. Visitors can now climb the lighthouse and celebrate the view and restoration. 

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Words Do Have Power

Cape Florida Lighthouse.

Cape Florida Lighthouse is the closest lighthouse to Miami.

Words do have power. Now that I look back on this quote by a fellow artist, ” First the rats, then the roaches, then the artists…”I realize how it started me on my journey of painting lighthouses. My friend was lamenting the demise of neighborhoods due to the demolition of buildings. This thought planted a seed that came to fruition when I moved to Miami Beach years later. 

Miami Beach

Miami Beach is more than fun in the sun.


In Miami Beach, I discovered the Art Deco District and how it came into being because of the passion and foresight of one woman, Barbara Capitman, a New Yorker. She was the force behind the creation of the Miami Design Preservation League. This non profit organization is responsible for the Miami Art Deco District becoming the first 20th Century neighborhood to be designated as a National Historic Landmark. Through their hard work an entire neighborhood was saved from demolition. 

The Post Office in Miami Beach is an Art Deco building.

The Miami Beach Post Office is an Art Deco Building.


It was in Miami that I began painting landscape architecture, Art Deco buildings. Previously, I only painted portraits. My art and passion for history found a new voice. As I finished painting and exhibiting the Art Deco buildings, I began wondering what my next step would be. 

A painting of an Art Deco building.

The Molbar one of the Art Deco buildings I painted.


Thinking about my trips to the beach as a child and my love of history, lighthouses became my new subject matter. As I researched lighthouses, I learned how they were in dire need of preservation due to neglect. After years of faithful service, these guardians of sea were deemed excess property by the government and irrelevant in terms of navigation. I wanted to help change that perception through my paintings. Not only would I paint lighthouses, I would promote lighthouses for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations. 
Brant Point Lighthouse.

Brant Point Lighthouse in Nantucket one of the newest paintings I’ve done.


So this is where I am now. First the rats, then the roaches, then the artists. 

Drawing a lighthouse

I’ve drawn and painted lighthouses in the United States and Europe.

The Pursuit of Happiness is Written in Our DNA 

“We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal by their Creator, that they are endowed with certain inalienable Rights that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” 

Amelia Island Lighthouse

I traveled less than 2 hours to paint my first lighthouse.


Lofty words from the US Constitution. I read somewhere that the “Pursuit of Happiness” is written in Americans’ DNA—we are wired never to be content. To always be grasping for something more, is this the American Dream? Or perhaps it is the foundation of our capitalist society. Or maybe it is what propels that American spirit within us to achieve the greater good. 

Trinity Lightship in London.

I journeyed to London to paint this lightship.


I thought of this recently as I prepared for my Retrospective Exhibit called the “Pursuit of Happiness.” Sometimes times we are like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz looking for happiness in distant places. But often our happiness is found within arms reach or by the click of two heels. I’ve traveled the world pursuing happiness only to find it eluding me. Now, however I’ve discovered that for me happiness is simplicity. It is a life devoid of the distractions of consumerism and just simply pursuing God, serving others and quietly dipping my brush in paint. 

Brush on Fire 

Every artist dips in her soul, and paints her own nature into her pictures.” Henry Ward Beecher

Unlike a brush fire that fuels wildfires, I am dipping a brush into my soul to help preserve a park. Partner with me and “Paint the Parks” to conserve nature for the enjoyment and benefit of present and future generations. 

Ten percent of the proceeds from the art on my “Paint the Parks” page will go to the Friends of St Marks Wildlife Refuge. It is a 501 (c) non profit corporation. All (100%) of your contributions go to support Refuge programs and projects.

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A Distant Shore 

I must confess. I have mixed feelings about drawing lighthouses off shore. Can I really have the true lighthouse experience at a distant shore? In all honesty can I say I visited a lighthouse when my heart but not my feet has touched it grounds? I wrested with these feelings when painting the Nubble Lighthouse in Maine. Also since the lighthouse was under renovation, I couldn’t see all of it. As I painted the lighthouse I remember being captivated by what I think was the fuel house, the picket fence, the lighthouse windows and the rocky shore. Even at a distant shore these elements resonated with me. 
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Sunken Lightship emerges as Restaurant

The Frying Pan Lightship.

The Frying Pan Lightship is a National Landmark.

The story of Frying Pan Lightship reads like a mystery novel with many twists and turns. After sinking twice and laying submerged for 3 years who would have thought it would end being part of a popular restaurant in Manhattan?

The lightship is docked near Pier 66.

The Frying Pan Lightship is docked at Pier 66.


Like all Lightships the Frying Pan is a floating lighthouse built to withstand storms and dangers like hurricanes. Yet it was the sad fate of the Frying Pan Lightship to survive World War II and Hurricane Donna in 1960 only to lay submerged for three years before finding new life in New York. How did all this happen? 

A view of the Frying Pan Lightship.

A view of the Frying Pan Lightship.


Light Vessel #115 or the Frying Pan Lightship was built in 1929 to help vessels avoid the treacherous Frying Pan Shoals near Cape Fear, North Carolina. The shoals are sandbars that look like long handed frying pans. 

A view of the lightship from the restaurant.

A glimpse of the lightship from Pier 66 Maritime Restaurant.


The Frying Pan Lightship stayed at Cape Fear for several decades. It left briefly to serve during World War II near the Panama Canal. After several years, the lightship was replaced in 1964 by a light tower and then sailed to Cape May, New Jersey to serve as a relief lightship. 

Two years later it was donated as surplus by the Coast Guard to a maritime museum in Southport, North Carolina. When the museum fell on hard times, the lightship sank at the dock. The lightship eventually was refloated and moved to Whitehaven, Maryland. 

After a pipe burst, the lightship sank again and was submerged for three years. Down but not out, the Frying Pan Lightship was bought, salvaged and restored. The lightship then was dry docked in Baltimore and eventually taken to Philadelphia. The lightship sailed to New York where it now serves alongside a restaurant. 

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A Marvel of Human Ingenuity 

West Rathlin Lighthouse.

West Rathlin Lighthouse was built with beacon below the tower.


The upside down lighthouse on Rathlin Island in Ireland is a marvel of human ingenuity. Unlike most lighthouses, the Keepers at West Rathlin Lighthouse had to climb down to the light. The Commissioners of Irish Lights Engineer-in-Chief CW Scott came up with this novel idea. Because the top cliff was often obscured by fog and low clouds, a traditional lighthouse would not do. 

Built in 1912 on a somewhat vertical cliff, the upside down lighthouse was a huge undertaking. It took almost 4 years to complete. The enormous amount concrete used had to be mixed by hand. An inclined railway was built for transporting materials. 

elainemarieartist.com