In 2017 a man named Roy approached me at a holiday art show to ask if I did any work that was “more local” (at the time I only had fish and pop culture). He commented that he wanted to “encourage me to stretch”, which I found a bit patronizing, but since I was going to get a commission out of it, I decided to bite my tongue. He then added that time was of the essence as he had some health issues. He went through options (cowboys, oilmen, Alberta politicians) and I turned down each one until he said “Birds of Prey”, which definitely interested me. Roy commissioned a series of four birds, and I was able to complete them in the following few months. He passed away shortly afterward due to his illness. Roy helped hone my focus to local subjects, encouraged me to work on the series Not So Far Away, and awakened in me a love of painting and drawing birds. With only a few months to live, Roy took the time to chat with and commission a local artist for work that he would only be able to enjoy for a short time. He did it to encourage and to help me grow, and I’m very grateful to him.