Wildlife

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Artist statement for this series.

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Artist Statement

As a subject, wildlife is innately appealing because nothing in nature is pretending to be anything other than what it is. The motivation of survival is clear. Humans, on the other hand, suffer from cognitive dissonance. Kill or be killed is the unavoidable truth for most species, yet our position on the food chain and our complex social structures have given us the luxury of self-deception. 

 

Freedom from self-deception is my goal. I paint because it feels honest; it provides the space to observe that nature is both enchanting and terrifying, kind and cruel. Indeed, in order to fully appreciate the beauty around us, my sense is we must accept the duality.

 

I begin a painting with the eyes. I believe the intensity of an animal’s eyes expresses the balance between the warmth and harshness. Reminiscent of 20th c. Canadian artist Robert Bateman as well as 19th c. American artist Alexander Pope, my style brings animals to life through their gazes and captures the vitality of the moment with detail, light, and shadow.