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 now as an adult, I also recognize that it’s in their specific company that I can access a deeper version of patience and stillness in myself. (Animals also make me laugh, which I think is just as important as being still.)
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 both inspiration and a continuous reminder that we are a part of a larger kingdom. My work also celebrates the unique 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 subjects by using a more heroic perspective, and portray them against restrained backgrounds to encourage the viewer to connect and be present, echoing what animals can bring out from us in person.
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.