Dodging cars like a nervous pedestrian, the Biloxi Lighthouse seems to pause beside a busy highway

Traffic is a part of the scenery at Biloxi Lighthouse.

Traffic is a part of the scenery at Biloxi Lighthouse.

There is a sense of anxiety surrounding the Biloxi Lighthouse. It’s not limited to the cars speeding by on both sides of the median where the lighthouse is located. Unlike most lighthouses that evoke a sense of peace, the Biloxi Lighthouse is a reminder of turbulent times. This lighthouse has survived over 20 hurricanes, the Civil War, the Civil Rights movement and Confederate protests since it was built in 1848. 

There was a Confederate protest at when I visited the Biloxi Lighthouse.

There was a Confederate protest near the Biloxi Lighthouse when I visited.


Biloxi’s female light keepers worked heroically during most of these tumultuous years. Biloxi’s female keepers have more years of service than female keepers at other lighthouses.

A painting of the Biloxi Lighthouse.

This painting will be a part of the Shattering of Lens exhibit.


Shattering the Lens exhibit Sept 24-October 20 at the National Lighthouse Museum in Staten Island, New York sheds light on the dynamic impact of female lighthouse keepers. It is inspired by the book “Women Who Kept the Light” by Mary Louise Clifford and J. Candace Clifford.

For more information on the exhibit, visit elainemariearttist.com.

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A fallen lighthouse is more dangerous than a reef. Navjot Singh Sidhu 

After falling in the Gulf of Mexico, Cape St. George Lighthouse was restored. Be a part of efforts to save Florida’s lighthouses. Visit one of Florida’s iconic lighthouses during April for Florida’s Lighthouse celebration. Admission fees, memberships and donations help maintain lighthouses. 

St. Marks Lighthouse reopened last year after being restored.

St. Marks Lighthouse reopened last year after being restored.

Only 29 Florida lighthouses remain and five of them have been declared excess by the US Coast Guard. Lighthouses have played a critical role in Florida’s history; making it possible to explore, settle and develop Florida’s 1350 miles of coastland according to the Florida Lighthouse Association’s website. Check out events at these lighthouses. 

Ponce de Leon Lighthouse

Ponce de Leon is Florida’s tallest lighthouse.


April 6-Ponce de Leon Lighthouse Day

Celebrate Florida’s tallest lighthouse. Enjoy festivities and see a reenactor. Learn about the daily activities of lightkeepers. Explore workshops for children and families. 

Port Boca Grande Lighthouse.

Gasparilla Iskand has two Lighthouses.


April 13-Port Boca Grande Lighthouse and Gasparilla Lighthouse Climb

Double your fun on this one special day of the year when you can climb both lighthouses. Cool down with lemonade, cake and more after the climb. Reserve climbs in advance. Space is limited. 

Cape Florida Lighthouse.

Cape Florida Lighthouse is the oldest structure in South Florida.


April 13- Cape Florida Baynanza

Volunteers help landscape the grounds of Cape Florida during Miami’s Baynanza celebration. Baynanza celebrates Biscayne Bay and its significance as one of South Florida’s most important ecological systems at various locations.

Anclote Key Lighthouse

Anclote Key Lighthouse last open house celebrated it reopening.


April 20- Anclote Key Lighthouse Open House

Climb the lighthouse for a panoramic view of the pristine island. Buy a memorial brick and memorabilia to support the lighthouse. 
Visit my website for more information on Florida lighthouses. elainemarieartist.com

The Last Three Rhinos 


Husband and wife team, Gillie and Marc created the sculpture the “Last Three Rhinos” to raise awareness about the plight of the White Rhino. They invested $150,000 of their own money for the project. An additional $50,000 was raised to complete the project. 

White Rhinos are on the verge of extinction because poachers kill them for their horns. The three rhinos, Najin, Fatu and Sudan are depicted in the sculptures. A life changing trip to the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya inspired the artists. The artists have since dedicated their lives to advocating for rhinos through their art. Last March, the last male Northern White Rhino, Sudan died. 

The Last Three Rhinos
Elainemarieartist.com

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. 

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. 

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. 

elainemarieartist.com
Pier66maritime.com