Lighthouse Art

Lighthouse art comes in more forms than you may think of right off the bat! Those of us who are lighthouse devotees love searching for just the right lighthouse artwork or sculptures, maybe lighthouse travel posters that we like to adorn our shelves or walls. But what is it that draws us to that? 

Because we love the romance, the history, the aura of the stories of the keepers and their families. We love the travels we take, seeing lighthouses, and the spectacular views we're rewarded with after that hard work of climbing to the top.

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When we view some lighthouse art, we can imagine the circumstance of the painting. Or think of the scene of the poster, the place we've traveled to, or plan to visit. We may want to get the true meaning of what's behind the scenes for that artsy photograph of that lighthouse, or that stormy painting.

We're going to research all that here. And see what's up with those lighthouse artists, and the artwork they create. They all have their little bits of similarities - but they take that, and then make it their own. Let's see how they do that.

Lighthouse Artists

The Vernet Painting: A Storm on a Mediterranean Coast which shows a lighthouse and a wrecked sailing ship, people swimming onto shore from their lifeboat.A Storm on a Mediterranean Coast - Claude Joseph Vernet 1767
  • Claude-Joseph Vernet - One of the earliest painters of lighthouse art, he lived from 1714 to 1789. Born in Avignon France, he specialized in nighttime landscapes and stormy scenes. During his era these were favored by English aristocrats on their Grand Tour around Europe.3 Thus pleasing them, led to a lucrative income.
  • Thomas Kinkade - He's about the first stop when thinking of famous lighthouse artists. He did many other types of paintings, though. Called "Painter of Light" he loved painting the lighthouses for their inspiration, symbolically aiding us through stormy times.4
  • Edward Hopper - Born in 1882, showed talent early, and had parental encouragement. He had a wide range of subjects and medium, and favored nautical themes, preferring the realism genre. Lighthouse art was a favored subject, but he ended up particularly famous for one lighthouse art piece. His 1929 The Lighthouse at Two Lights - a real place you can visit! But others were quite notable, such as those in 1927: Lighthouse HillLighthouse and Buildings, Portland Head, Cape Elizabeth, Maine; and Light at Two Lights. Then Five A.M. in 1937.1
  • J.M.W. Turner - This British artist, born in 1775, became quite eccentric and reclusive. Post-death, though, he was considered an artistic genius. He liked including nautical subjects. His favorite method was including the craziness and uncaring of the weather's power.6 He did a wonderful 1819 depiction, the stormy Bell Rock Lighthouse.
Edward Moran painting of the Statue of Liberty's presentation with ships in the harbor and American flags flying.1886 Moran Painting
  • Edward Moran - Born in England in 1829, his family emigrated to American in 1844. In Philadelphia a year later, he received an art apprenticeship. He specialized in maritime subjects. His notable work was 13 paintings representing U.S. seafaring history. In 1886 he rendered the Statue of Liberty as its lighthouse assignment in his Unveiling the Statue of Liberty.2
  • Warren Kimble - A modern day folksy artist, called "America's best known living folk artist" he says his paintings are "simplistic, yet abstract."  Working in various media, in his studio where he lives in Brandon, Vermont. He's done some lighthouse art, such as his Coastal Breeze.

Lighthouse Artwork

When you look for lighthouse artwork, do you look for well-known artists? Do you want recognized names? Or are you just looking to decorate your bar area, or your patio or deck with something inexpensive. Are you looking for someone in the lighthouse art world who is an up-and-coming name? Maybe you want to try doing some lighthouse artwork yourself.

If you're going to purchase something, how should you evaluate the lighthouse art you're considering? There are so many lighthouse artwork choices for you. Let's begin with a few evaluation tips:5

  • You'll know that you like a piece of lighthouse art, but to narrow it down, it's helpful to know the WHY of liking it - figuring out the inspiring qualities bringing you to what you like
  • Then categorize the type you're drawn to
  1. Do you like those that were made by the very early painters - or not? 
  2. Are you okay with abstract, and to what degree? From not looking like a real object (non-objective) to - you can tell what it is, even if it is strange (representational).
  3. Is the mood important? Some artists are influenced by events in their lives that transfer into their paintings; which brings us to...
  • Do you favor certain artists? If so, consider the time of their prime. When does their lighthouse art match up with your preferences. Most artists improve with time, and then sometimes deteriorate, with problems as they age.
  • What medium? The materials used to create artwork. Consider the variety: pen & ink, pastels, pencil, or watercolor. Oils or acrylics are both fine on canvas, but oils give a more rich color. Even photography and digital techniques. Do you gravitate toward a certain few?
  • Think of the artwork's composition. It should be balanced in a way that draws your eye comfortably around areas, keeping you involved and fascinated. Shapes and lines play into that.
  • Color in art is very important. With lighthouse art, certain colors may dominate. But with some artists - blues, for instance - may over-dominate. Will you enjoy that - or not? Which colors will tend to draw you to them? Do you feel some colors are clash-worthy?
  • Consider the brushwork. Do you prefer absolute smoothness across the context, or do you go for seeing the texture of the brush? For instance in the ocean waves.

Consider all of these points. Think about how a piece of lighthouse art you're considering - especially if it's a monetary investment - what is it saying to you? What emotions does it trigger for you? Does it make you just look it over, or does it get you thinking of what it does for you. Taking you far away in your thoughts?

Finally, consider how it will look from various angles. How will it look in areas of your home? Will it suit its surroundings? After time, will you still love it, as you did on the day you took it home? Then you've made the right choice!

Lighthouse Coloring Pages

Do you prefer numbers, or doing your own thing? For me, usually it depends on my mood. But mostly I prefer my own color picks. Here are a couple of highly rated choices. See what you think: [ad]

Paintings of Lighthouses

Lighthouse paintings can take many forms. It depends, probably, with your taste in lighthouse art. Do you like realism? Choosing portraits, so to speak, of actual lighthouses - as they appear. Or would you like a stylized version of that lighthouse you're familiar with? What a wide array to choose from!

Maybe you would like any lighthouse, even if it is not a real one in this world. But you'd like it to look as if it were! Or perhaps you prefer a moody look to your chosen lighthouse art, or stormy seas coming round it.

Whatever your preference, there is a painting of a lighthouse you'll find that will satisfy your want - for sure. Let's see a few samples. Personally, we like some of the stormy varieties, and artsy types of lighthouse art. It doesn't have to be one that actually exists, but it can. We just never can tell what may strike us until we see it! 

Lighthouse Watercolor Painting

Lighthouse art in watercolors often has an airy quality. But not even necessarily, as you can see here in the painting of the Plouzane Lighthouse in France. Maybe because it portrays it at night. A good view since you see the guiding beacon.

Lighthouse Paintings on Canvas

Usually when you have a lighthouse painting on canvas, that lighthouse art is an oil painting. These are usually obvious pretty quickly, as you note the brush strokes and heavier work of the oils. Some people love that quality. It can work well with stormy seas, for sure! Probably with those quirky modernistic tower paintings, too.

But here are a few to consider. The first two are by a "starving artist" trying to make her way on-line, the next two are from past historic artists, who've made their mark.

Try Your Own Lighthouse Art

Lighthouse Sunset Painting

Paintings of lighthouses around the time of sunset set a wonderful, relaxing mood. They often forecast a calm approach in their setting - but not always! When do you think of it not? When a storm is approaching, or in its midst - with the streaming light of the setting sun eking through.

Lighthouse Silhouette

A lighthouse silhouette can be used in many ways. Many business companies incorporate it into their logos. It is dramatic, and obvious in its appearance. Often its used because of the symbolism it can represent. It can mean guidance, lighting a way forward, or strength, perhaps leadership through stormy times.

The watercolor painting seen above used a lighthouse silhouette in its sunset scene. It effectively used its dramatic solidness of the silhouette contrasting with the hazy fog of the ocean and setting sun.

Lighthouse Silhouette Painting

Lots of art beginners start painting with lighthouse silhouettes. With lots of straight lines (use a ruler!) and solid colors, they're a manageable type of lighthouse art if you're just starting out. You can get an idea of some here.

You could try one too!

Lighthouse Sculpture

A front yard displays a lighthouse, red striped like a barber pole. It has a light inside to serve as a nighttime safety light.This Lighthouse Yard Sculpture Has a Light!

Lighthouse sculptures can take some different forms. From miniatures that you place in curio cabinets and shelves inside your home, to decor on a patio or inside a themed room to an outside garden or courtyard. Some may be structured with actual lighting, to simulate the beacon of a lighthouse, or turned into a lamp. Some may be constructed specifically as Cemetery Memorials for those who related to lighthouses in their work or hobbies.

We'll look at some of the varieties.

A small sculpture of a lighthouse with a large doorway. White with horizontal light blue stripes. A few small windows along the top. Solid blue base. Sitting on a table.Lighthouse Art Looking for a Fish Aquarium!
Two wall ornaments made of wood. A white carved anchor, and a lighthouse. Both have a rope lanyard suitable to hang on a tree or wall.Wood Crafts - A Tree Ornament, Wall Hanging, even a Necklace?
A black & white striped lighthouse statue on the beach. Flip-flops are off, and the shells found are on the beach, too.Beachside Decor
A cafe decorates their wall with a bright blue outline of a lighthouse.Cafe Decorating its Outside: a Blue Outline of a Lighthouse
A small lighthouse sculpture, suitable for indoor table or shelf placement. Striped horizontally red and white with a black cap on the light room.A Small Display Sculpture. Photo Credit: Pedro Nieves
A lighthouse sculpture, there is a light in the top light tower. It is designed in its natural brick look. It sits on a crafting table for display.A Natural Brick Styled Lighthouse Sculpture
A red and white garden lighthouse lights up the yard at night.The Red & White Garden Lighthouse Lights Up the Garden for Safety

Lighthouse Painting Patterns

A painting pattern is an already outlined visual that is pre-structured for taking further into a finished piece of artwork. A lighthouse painting pattern will outline the lighthouse itself. It may have other details lined across the surface: some windows, the main door, the gallery and its railing, the lantern, and the coned-roof.

The pattern emblazoned on the lighthouse surface may be represented: striped, checked, diamonds throughout, brick patterns, etc.

The delineated surroundings could show a rocky cliffside, waves, clouds in the sky, the sun, birds flying about. Or if at night it may show the moon, and give the light beam shape.

Often used by those who love working with lighthouse art, but don't feel naturally skilled. They may begin with lighthouse painting patterns to develop their artwork. The lines of the pattern offer guidance, and budding artists can use them as they see fit! They can be as creative as they like with colors, or with adhering to the structure of the lines. This helps overcome intimidation of a blank canvas!

Here are some examples of lighthouse related patterns.

Lantern & Gallery of the Abescon Lighthouse - From the Architect's Mechanical Drafting DrawingsLantern & Gallery of the Abescon Lighthouse - From Mechanicals
Cape Borda SA lighthouse pen & ink drawing
Ranger with Microphone is the Public Affairs Officer at Cabrillo National Monument speaking about Old Point Loma LighthouseRanger Speaks About Old Point Loma Lighthouse
Illustration from the 1882 book (text & drawings by Bertall) From 1882 Book - Line Drawing Suitable for Lighthouse Pattern

Lighthouse Drawing - Simple!?

Would you rather just draw your own lighthouse - just a simple lighthouse drawing? Learning to draw a lighthouse isn't very difficult. You think? It's just a few basic shapes, and then you can take it to being more complicated from there, if you wish to. Like this video shows:

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