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. 

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The Coast is Clear

Picture of Amelia Island Lighthouse.

Amelia Island Lighthouse is Florida’s oldest lighthouse.

The “Coast is Clear” for a new breathtaking look at my lighthouse paintings. I’m celebrating the relaunch of my website elainemarieartist.com with a holiday sale. I’ve made my site easier to navigate. I relaunched it after finishing a series of businesses classes. 

Picture of Trinity Ligghtship.

Trinity Lightship is located at Trinity Buoy Wharf in London, UK.


I enrolled in SCORE’s (Service Corps of Retired Executives) free workshops on “Marketing Your Business.” I also took SCORE’s workshops on “Defining Your Target” and “Increasing Profitability.” Today I just completed the class “Selling Items Online” conducted by my local library. Besides the relaunching of my website, I look forward to implementing what I’ve learned and enhancing my community. What an exciting way to end the year! 

Charting a new course in London


I traveled to Trinity Buoy Wharf to sketch London’s only lighthouse, Bow Creek or Trinity Lighthouse, a day before my visit to see the paintings of JMW Turner in the Tate Museum in London. I admire the art of Turner and was excited about my upcoming visit to the Tate Museum. There was much to see-Turner bequeathed over 300 paintings to museum.

But first I was headed to the lighthouse. As we got off the Tube, we followed the directional signs to Trinity Buoy Wharf. Once there, we happened upon a lightship, in addition to the lighthouse. Two light vessels at one stop! Amazed, I hurriedly sketched the lighthouse. As the wind flipped the pages, I quickly sketched the lightship while my daughter took shelter in a nearby restaurant.


As I sketched the lightship, I thought about Turner and pondered how I could pay tribute to him. Pausing for moment, I became spellbound by the lightship that was now converted into a studio. It seemed pregnant with stories of its past.


Back in the United States, I looked at my yellow foreground and became inspired when I read 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’…”

A Picture is Worth A Thousand Tweets 

Lightship 95 on the River Thames in London.

The  recent public outcry about the Obama’s official portraits has generated a lot of social media buzz. People seemed puzzled and even angered by the artists, Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald.

I’m not sure there’s anything the artists could or should say to the critics. They’ve already said it. I mean a picture is worth a thousand words or in today’s vernacular a thousand “tweets.”

Artists are accustomed to being misunderstood and misinterpreted. I find that often in my personal life.

I discovered this recently after I wrote a feature in the United States Lighthouse Society News in early February. After reading the article my sister said, “Now I understand why you paint lighthouses.” Initially, I was a little taken aback because she has been with me on at least four lighthouse trips.

Yet perhaps I took for granted she understood why I painted lighthouses. We visual artists aren’t always adept at verbal explanations because we rely on our paintings to be our voice. In any event, I hope my article amplifies what compels me to paint lighthouses. You can read my article entitled “Lighthouses as Inspiration” posted on February 2 on United States Lighthouse Society News at https://uslhs.wordpress.com

Preservation 50 Friday: London’s Lightship

Trinity House Lightship

Trinity House Lightship, London UK copyright elainemarieartist.com

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”…

http://www.elainemarieartist.com

Should BP Stop Pumping Money into the Arts?

Self portrait of Turner.

Self portrait of JMW Turner at Tate Britain.

British Petroleum will end its sponsorship of Tate Museums in London. Activists are applauding the end of the relationship. Its seems like a “catch 22” situation. Corporations who don’t give to back to the community are called greedy and insensitive.

Death of a Pale Horse.

Death of a Pale Horse by Turner.

Not sure I agree with the environmentalists on this one. I visited the Tate Britain Museum which offers free admission. How will this impact the museum’s ability to offer free admission to the public?

Waves breaking on a Shore.

Waves Breaking on a Shore by Turner.

Tate Britain has a large collection of paintings by JMW Turner. Britain’s greatest artist bequeathed over 300 of his paintings with the stipulation that they be exhibited for free.

Oil blackened waters of Mississippi.

The oil blackened Gulf in Biloxi, Mississippi.

I understand the outrage over the Gulf Coast Oil Spill. I’ve visited Mississippi and I’m from Florida so I’ve seen the impact. I’m just not sure how this really makes sense to penalize Cultural Institutions.

The Best Guide in Europe

A view of Madrid.

The most distinctive geographical feature of Spain is its mountains. Spain is the most mountainous country in Europe besides Switzerland.

I dreamed of painting picturesque lighthouses on mountains in Spain but found no guide to take me there. Like most of my life, my plan to paint European lighthouses did not materialize.

In Great Britain, Trinity House, overseer of most of Britain’s lighthouses, had no organized guides for tours to all of their lighthouses.

Disappointed, I scratched my plans and settled for two lighthouses. Trinity Lighthouse in London and St. Catherine’s a few hours away from London.

St. Catherine’s Lighthouse at the Isle of Wight soars above the British shore poetically. Day trips are only $100. With that in mind I made plans.

To my dismay, two weeks before my trip, the ferry port for the Isle of Wright caught fire. All trips were cancelled. I considered that a spiritual red flag and reluctantly made plans to just paint the Trinity Lighthouse.

My daughter who made the discovery about the fire consoled me and said “Maybe things will change by the time we get to London.” However, when we arrived in London, things changed from bad to worse. The storm Imogene was brewing off the coast of Isle of Wright making the day trip impossible.

Thankful I could at least visit one European lighthouse, we caught the London Tube to the hamlet of West India.

Sign for Trinity buoy wharf.

Trinity Buoy Wharf awaits.

My heart raced as we walked a few blocks to Trinity Buoy Wharf to the lighthouse.

Trinity Lighthouse

Trinity Lighthouse.

While I sketched, my daughter sipped hot chocolate at a quaint diner nearby. Reading the lighthouse signage, I glanced at another one about a lightship. Funny I had not even noticed the lightship behind until I read it. “Wow, two lighthouses,” I thought. God had quietly guided my steps.

Signage for Lightship.

Signage for Lightship.

He has a better plan if we allow only allow Him to unfold it. I did not have to travel far and wide to find two European lighthouses.

Lightship at Trinity Buoy Wharf.

Lightship at Trinity Buoy Wharf.

God guides and orders our steps even when we are unaware of it. When pass we pass through the fire and the storm, He is with us.

Later, leaving London and grasping my bible, I heard a Brit say “you’re following the right guide.” I gave him a hug and agreed I was.

http://www.trinitybuoywharf.com