In my senior year at MIAD, after I had figured out my thesis, I began painting. It started as an encaustic adventure into portraiture that resulted in three paintings that were about 6-8 feet high. What I took from it though, was this love for the stature, the lighting, and the endless opportunities that I got from painting the dogs that were involved. After I left college, I took a break from painting; the endless assignments, deadlines, and critiques had taken away the joy that creating once gave me. After a couple years I had assumed I had no talent at all and started painting my dog ONLY because I knew she would not care at all how the painting turned out. After several paintings I realized that the unconditional love, support, trust, and joy that she emits every day were more reasons that she became my subject. After a few more years, I realized that their profound inability to feel anxiety was something I envied. My dog Tessa June, twelve years later, is still one of my favorite subjects. And even though she farts when she jumps onto the couch or throws up sometimes when she eats too fast, she feels no anxiety or shame, she just is content to be near me and just be her true self. While I have done some commissioned paintings, Tessa has always been and always will be my favorite subject.