View of Liberty, 2012 Oil on linen 36 × 48 inches
View of Liberty, 2012
Oil on linen 36 × 48 inches

I had been wanting to paint the Statue of Liberty for some time, I first photographed her to paint last spring when I was on the Staten Island Ferry with students, but the day before Labor Day my husband and I took a boat ride from the Chelsea Piers at twilight, which seemed more meaningful to be with him just before the beginning of the school year and teaching. The challenge was to make a non-cheesy painting of this iconic subject, try to turn around what we already know and make it fresh. There was a storm brewing that evening that never came about, but she seemed to be floating in the sea of clouds, like the country at the time of intense political debates, as we continue to struggle beyond the recession and strife. I wanted to think about what the immigrants would see in her when they first arrived, and thinking about what liberty and freedom mean to me in today’s world. I try to live through my paintings, and I too thought of her a beacon of hope. When the photoshoped image of the storm surrounding Liberty came out at the time of Sandy I also thought my painting felt prescient, but was glad we were able to survive.