Jen Starwalt has always been artistic and felt a deep connection to nature. But it was not until she settled in Brevard, NC, after having lived for a year in Costa Rica that Jen began creating her signature large-scale wildlife portraits with detailed layers of highly pigmented color. A graduate of the Savannah College of Art and Design, Jen uses 100 percent pure dry pigment soft pastels. She paints on an oxidized sanded paper made specifically to grab hold of the small granules of a soft pastel. She first blocks out all major shapes of light and shadow as an oil painter would do, then builds up layer upon layer of color to achieve her final painting. Jen hopes that, through her art, people will gain a greater appreciation for animals and be inspired to reconnect with nature.