These friends keep me company while I think about topics for my Allegory paintings. They are inspired by photographs of children from around the world—some living in neighborhoods like mine, some living in poverty, some living amid social unrest. They invite me to look at the world through their eyes. With permission of the original photographers, I have plucked them out of their surroundings and put them in more gentle places, introducing them to some of the animals waiting in my studio for their turn in one my Allegory paintings. Their presence on my easel brings a bit of innocence into the studio...and perhaps even a bit of hope. Imagine that!