It took a lot of courage to work a desolate lighthouse. Families were responsible for growing their own food. Both men and women keepers ensured the light burned at night, rescued shipwreck sailors while keeping the lighthouse in tip top shape.
Maria Andreu is the first Hispanic-American woman to serve in the Coast Guard and the first to command a federal shore installation. She was a light keeper for St. Augustine Lighthouse, 1859-1861. Kate Harn served 1889-90.
Armed with this new knowledge I painted the strength and softness of the lighthouse. Clouds lingered above and bright yellow flowers blossomed below. They both symbolized the tenderness of these women who cared for their families and schooled their children.