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, as was scribbling their likenesses in my sketchbooks.
Being in the presence of animals today still brings me solace, sheer joy, and a sense of connection. They remind me that I’m part of a larger, wiser kingdom. And it’s in their specific company that accessing a deeper version of patience and stillness within myself becomes possible.
This is what my current work is about—how animals, both wild and domestic, remind us that we are are part of the magnificent whole. How their beauty and grace can encourage us to slow down, be present, and stop whirling around in our own heads. And how those moments of stillness are becoming more and more important in our increasingly distracted, over-scheduled lives.
My paintings also celebrate the characteristics of each animal: the inquisitiveness of an otter, the grace of a shark, the power of a bighorn. And although my subjects are technically “wildlife,” I paint them in a more a “human” portrait style: each animal is portrayed close-up, against an understated background, and presented on the viewer’s eye level (or, to be more accurate, the viewer is brought to the animal’s eye level).
My hope is that my work will help us look at these creatures as the sentient beings they are. I also hope that it contributes to a larger conversation within our culture about promoting compassion for all animals.