St. Francis Amongst Whidbey Island’s Native Flora & Fauna - painting by Craig Johnson
Over the centuries, many artists have painted St. Francis of Assisi, so why another one? I was inspired by what this 13th century man exemplified, which was an “other-centered” life. He and his counterpart, Clare of Assisi, lived lives of chosen simplicity with a connection to the lesser, the poor. Francis preferred wilderness to elaborate cathedrals and helping those on the fringe more so than mixing with the powerful or wealthy, an example first set by Jesus.
The creatures in this scene were painted from my own photographs, most taken in our Whidbey Island yard, where my wife and I made almost daily contact with them. The Red Fox, though now very rare, was the true native canine of this island, so she stands next to Francis, instead of the famous wolf of Gubbio.