Omaha, Nebraska, September 11th

 

 

 

Omaha, Nebraska, September 11, 2001

I started this piece before September 11th.  The original design was for a Vietnam show in Omaha.  My plan was to paint a man in a Nebraskan cornfield, with the clouds in the sky forming a scene from Vietnam.  My friend and co-worker, Jeff Simmons, was kind enough to pose for me.  I got up at 5am and painted on the morning of September 11th.  It was a particularly beautiful morning, with sunlight streaming into my studio.  As I left for work, I took a moment to truly appreciate the quality of the light, the joy of the day.  Of course I never imagined the horrible turn the day would take.  After the terrorist attacks, I continued rising early to paint every day, in part because I  had a deadline and in part because it was hard to sleep.  I'm from New York, and I lived in NYC for 7 years.  Like many Americans, I felt like a limb had been amputated.  When the Vietnam show was canceled, I knew exactly what I wanted to do.  Before I'd consciously realized it, the theme of the painting had already changed into a self-portrait of my own fears and feelings of helplessness.  Painting the Twin Towers was a way to put back the skyline that I couldn't yet conceive of as gone.

 

 

 

 

 

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