As a kid, I spent countless hours trying to lure wild creatures within arm’s length. I enticed geese with bread crumbs, befriended the occasional stray dog, and tempted dubious raccoons with half-eaten sandwiches. Animals were my favorite part of daily life, second only to scribbling their likenesses in my sketchbooks.
Being in the presence of animals today still brings me the sheer joy, solace, and a sense of connection I felt around them when I was growing up. And as an adult, I now also recognize that it’s in their specific company that I can access a deeper version of patience and stillness in myself. Of course, animals also make me laugh, which is just another path to being in the present moment.
This is what my work is about…how animals, both wild and domestic, can encourage us to slow down, be present, (sometimes through laughing alone) and stop whirling around in our own heads. And how those moments of stillness are becoming more and more important in our increasingly fragmented, over-scheduled lives.
The sheer diversity of the animal kingdom serves as constant inspiration for me. They also seem to be my “spiritual nudge,” continually reminding me that we are a part of a much larger kingdom.
My work also celebrates the unique and specific characteristics of each individual subject—the inquisitiveness of an otter, the grace of a deer, or the power of a bighorn. I like to elevate my animalsubjects by using a more heroic perspective, and portray them against restrained backgrounds to encourage the viewer to connect.
My hope is that my work will help us look at these creatures as the sentient beings they are, and perhaps offer a momentary balm to the frenetic pace of modern life. I also hope that my paintings contribute to a larger conversation within our culture about promoting compassion for all animals.