There is a bigger movement than just painting wildlife. When my paintings focus on the human connection to the natural world, I tap into a hidden part of myself. I paint nature to understand it better, and to feel a profound connection. I choose realism because it requires careful observation. Through that observation I feel a deeper appreciation toward my subjects. It is also important to present the subject in a way that is fresh and unexpected.
In my aviary painting series, I have observed the movements and expressions of song birds, ravens, crows and owls of North America. My paintings emulate textures like the oiliness of a raven's wing or the downy feel of a barred owl's chest. They also capture facial expressions and body language.
The birds are removed from their natural environment. They deserve center stage, because they are entertaining performers that exhibit a wide range of emotions. It is vital that these somewhat mundane and overlooked creatures are elevated to the realm of royalty and importance.
The backgrounds complement the mood of the bird with color, texture, and pattern. The various metal leafs I use in my work are a reminder of wealth and status, while also reflecting what is around them. Sometimes I apply plaster to build up interesting textures for the leaf to lay on. The patterns I use are derived from old damask patterns. The colors I use accentuate the mood, from joyful to mysterious.