Growing up, my brother and I had cats and dogs, a parakeet, chickens, ducks, and assorted fish—though not all at the same time. Nearby overgrown lots—filled with wild-growing trees, unruly vines, bushes and grasses, and home to many small animals and birds—were magical places to play.

The lives of these creatures, both wild and tame, had mystery and purpose. They had a freedom I could not even dream of. I could be with the animals and not need to talk or be good or follow rules. Dogs and cats especially, and Junior our chicken, were welcome company.

Creating animal paintings and animal appliqués brings back good memories. Animals give me a way to tell stories, often with humor.