I have a deep connection to wildlife and the natural world and I’ve been hiking and backpacking around Colorado and the West for the past 25 years. I love getting out into the wilderness - the further off the beaten path, the better.
I also have an affinity for topographic maps. My artistic right brain likes the textures and patterns created by the contour lines and my analytical left brain likes the fact that they’re an accurate representation of a very specific place.
As a fine art painter, graphic artist, and photographer, combining the images I create with topographic maps made perfect sense. I initially found the texture of certain maps to be an interesting background element for a painting. Then I got the idea to paint something specific that was represented on the map itself
- a mountain peak painted on a map that showed that exact mountain peak.
An elk painted on a map of Rocky Mountain National Park where they are often seen. An old hay barn that’s been on a family farm for generations painted on a map showing the exact location of that farm. The possibilities are endless - and really interesting to me. Every map is completely different and the subject matter is always different as well.
I enjoy figuring out where to place images based on what areas of a map need to remain visible and what areas can be painted over. I also enjoy working with the shapes and textures that are inherent within a particular map to come up with a successful composition - all before I can even think about picking up a paintbrush.
Everybody has a particular place that’s special to them. I have dozens of them. The small town in New York where I grew up. The lake in Ontario, Canada where I spent so many summers as a kid fishing for Northern Pike. All of my favorite hiking trails here in Colorado. Harding Icefield Trail in Alaska where I saw so many black bears in a single day. The beach in Oregon where I proposed to my wife. The mountaintop in Colorado where we got married.
There’s a topographic map for all of these places and landscapes and wildlife that can be painted on them to make an incredibly unique piece of art.