I begin every wildlife painting with the animal’s eyes. I believe the intensity of the eyes expresses the tension between the warmth and harshness, kindness and cruelty of nature. Perhaps instinctively, I’m drawn to large-eyed creatures – especially owls – because I want the subjects of my paintings to look at the viewer as much as the viewer is looking at them. More importantly, I want the viewer to have an awareness that the subject is looking at them and to focus on its gaze. My goal is to create a sense of connection between the viewer and subject. My process involves a careful balance of technique and intuition, building up layers of oil paint to create depth, contrast, and character. Not every area will be detailed. I concentrate on the interplay of colors and forms, working to create a compelling focal point with increasing abstraction and negative space towards the edges of the painting.