Sea of Hope is the last portrait I painted before leaving Texas. It’s the flip side of Defiance. For all the bravado and grit that make up Defiance, Sea of Hope portrays the girl who grew up in a traditional Leave It to Beaver household and is scared, feeling rudderless. No female in her family had ever done what she was doing, so there was no pattern or role model to emulate. She’s a pioneer exploring her own individual frontier.
I had seen a black and white photograph of the poet Edna St. Vincent Millay in a magazine wearing her old fashioned dress standing beneath the branches of a magnolia tree. For some reason, this image intrigued me, so I turned it into this painting. The girl is the old me before this first transition – following the life pattern I had observed of graduating college, getting married, living a traditional existence, but that little experiment just didn’t work for this girl. So, she’s chosen this new life far from home to start over, apprehensive, excited, petrified, yet eager. She’s tentatively clinging to the branches of the tree – so hoping that her new uncharted life will be alive, vibrant and fiery – like the blossoms on the tree. The flowers are pointing upward symbolizing her fervent hope that this new life will be beyond all she can dream – her Sea of Hope.