I am often asked how I come up with my painting themes. Often I will dream of certain colours bursting like fireworks, and that will be worked into one of my subjects. Other times, I may have a dream or vision and want to get it down, like I did with my Walking With the Dalai Lama image. I woke up, seeing the Dalai Lama accompanied by two bears, one on each side. It was remarkable and I just had to paint it.
With my painting, Cheeky, it was based on a bear that came to visit in the summer of 2014. I was sitting by my garden, reading. I became aware of a black and white blur and looked up, expecting to see one of my dogs. But there, also sitting near me, was a sow bear, bending down the long grasses. It was a moment we shared, both of us enjoying the quiet day. The image of her sitting there, so content, stayed with me. She had a big white splash on her chest. A year later, I am finally painting her in the same pose.