About Lighthouse Art

Updated March 23, 2017

Lighthouse art chronicles history from a seafaring point of view. Often, when one purchases lighthouse art, proceeds go toward the preservation of lighthouses. Historically, lighthouses served to guide ships. In an era in which lighthouses are endangered, preservation of them or of artistic lighthouse images also preserves U.S. history. Lighthouse art is popular among lighthouse enthusiasts and offers visions of America's coastlines and coastal guardians that many never get to visit. Art forms include photographs, paintings, drawings, poetry, and even webcams.


Descendants of lighthouses that stretch far back into antiquity, more contemporary lighthouses have begun to fade into recent history. Lighthouses stood along coasts as far back as ancient Egypt. Whether lighting coastlines with oil lanterns or prismatic lenses, lighthouses stand as witnesses to history. Lighthouses either had living quarters attached or in the lighthouse building. Lighthouse keepers lived on the premises. The residences of lighthouse keepers are historical testaments and one's imagination is fired with images of crashing waves, craggy cliffs and beacons that cut the fog for late night sailors, searching for safe shores. Operated by the U.S. Coast Guard, lighthouses stand along coasts, lakes and rivers. Today, many lighthouses are decaying. Lighthouse art keeps lighthouse images alive.


Lighthouses and lighthouse art are significant symbols of the American experience. Just as ancient lighthouses stood as silent witnesses to Egyptian or Roman history, U.S. lighthouses have endured and performed bravely through revolutions, American expansion, wars and threats that never transpired. As military and commercial vessels navigated America's waterways and coasts, lighthouses guided these ships safely to and from shore and watched for approaching dangers. That artists capture the spirit and images of lighthouses is itself a piece of history and preservation. At an archetypal level, lighthouse art taps into the American consciousness, drawing people's imaginations from coast to coast.


Lighthouse art serves an historical purpose, chronicling the American experience from her fledgling freedom fighters along the Eastern coast, to witnessing a nation divided against itself in the Civil War, to the tension of the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban Missile Crisis. View lighthouse art and be transported into earlier times in which the seeds of contemporary American life were sowed and harvested. With sad days and only 595 lighthouses surviving in the United States, lighthouse art lives on and continues, serving as beacons of sorts, guiding viewers along history's rugged coasts. There is a saying that "the sea is a harsh mistress." Lighthouses testify to that.


Lighthouse art comes in a variety of formats. Artists capture lighthouses in pen and ink drawings, oil and watercolour prints, photographs, and postcards. Lighthouse art is as varied as any other subject preserved in artistic media. The U.S. Postal Service offers framed lighthouse drawings that can be purchased at local post offices. Poets use language to communicate poetic lighthouse imagery and writers use lighthouses as scenery for books and screenplays. With fractal images, computer wallpaper and screensavers, lighthouse art will not disappear soon. It captivates the imagination and keeps history alive.


When one purchases lighthouse art in any of its various forms, he helps to preserve lighthouse history and lighthouses themselves. Lighthouse preservationists sell lighthouse art, hold art exhibits and sell lighthouses themselves to gather funds to aid the preservation of lighthouses all over the United States. Although some lighthouses already are lost and not all that survive now will continue, lighthouse art preserves those lost guardians and helps to save the ones that remain.

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About the Author

Alyson Paige has a master's degree in canon law and began writing professionally in 1998. Her articles specialize in culture, business and home and garden, among many other topics.