There was a massive tree right behind our house. You could see it best from my parent's bedroom window. It was a shagbark hickory I learned. So named because it's dark brown bark hung loosely from the trunk like paper wrapping coming undone. In the winter, it's bare limbs were jagged, like sticks glued end on end to create a lattice through which I could see our neighbor's yard. In winter, the tree stood out, isolated like my own adolescent loneliness, and so the branches caught and kept my attention as I watched the sky and the yard through them. The tree in winter and its jagged branches came to be my quiet friend. In the summer down below in my own yard I would see my neighbors and in particular looked for their daughter, a classmate I wanted to become friends with but except for occasionally pushing through the bushes separating us to say Hi, I never went beyond, knowing she was a cheerleader and among the inner circle of my high school class and thus beyond my means. So the tree and those bushes became my focus. When I came upon painting my ﬁrst foray beyond the face and torso was to ﬁngers. My paintings at ﬁrst had no evident background; these ﬁngers, that were more branches than anything else, and had only a little regard for their proper form, became landscape elements. The images are now part of me and infuse my art in many forms that I prefer to use. Started with ﬁngers, and then hair, became new versions of my companion hickory. How do your early visions inﬂuence what you shape in your art?