By 2021, artist John Simpkins (American, b. 1951) had spent the better part of a decade as the sole human inhabitant of a ghost town in Oregon’s Alvord Desert. His radiant images of animals painted during that time are inspired by the magic he finds there—of light, shadow, and the drama of the changing weather as it blows across the nearby mountain. Living in such an open environment prompted him to create large paintings, some so tall he has to climb a ladder to reach the top. His Buddhist practice and his connection with the nearby flora and fauna help Simpkins to be present in the moment and paint whatever arises from his consciousness. Shapeshifting animals, both earthly and spiritual, reflect the spiritual dimension of his world.