Art and animals have always been my calling. As a child in Southern California, I would rather catch tadpoles down in the creek, than go to Disneyland. When I was a teenager, one of my best friends was an avid hunter. We spent a lot of time in the hills above Carpinteria.
He would see an animal and make one of two comments about it. Either it was a game animal. and he wanted to kill it, or it was vermin, and it did'nt deserve to live. The killing of animals did'nt bother me. It was the fact that he could not relate to nature without conquering it. I always thought his attitude was un-enlightened, although my own behavior was hardly better. The difference is that I gradually changed as I got older, my friend never really did.
One day I discovered an Audubon Magazine in the library, and that triggered a slow change in perspective. Later I worked on existing only in the moment, in nature. What I mean by that, is that I tried to use all of my attention noticing everything around me. The sounds, the breeze, the way light played across various objects. There is always something new that becomes apparent when you are serene, and introspective. My growing respect for the natural world has helped to enrich my entire life.
I have a place in nature. Animals may notice my presense, they will never notice my absense. The natural world is complete with, or without me. This is what informs my artwork. I seldom show the hand of mankind in my work. I want people to appreciate nature without needing to alter it, or harvest it. That does'nt mean I am anti-hunting or fishing. I am not. those things are a lesser way to interact with nature. My job is to encourage the higher path.