I photograph each of my subjects. The experience of being there in that moment, interacting with the bird or animal, is an important first step in my process. I sift through hundreds of photographs looking for something. I'm not looking for the best photo, but rather something that strikes me as both enigmatic and universal. I wish to catch the animal in the act of living. Observed reality is then prismed by my own sense of wonder, creating an unsentimental but empathetic view. It is an aesthetic of challenged beauty, with loss, tenacity, humor, yearning and most of all of possibility. I choose a size of support and a design that further my goals. Lastly I pick up my brush and apply oil paint to a flat wood panel.