“Queen of the Hill” started as an homage to our Guardian Dog, Piper. We’d recently taken in two litters of feral kittens and she was being absolutely amazing with them. There is a book by the brilliant author, Tamora Pierce, named “Protector of the Small” and I wanted to evoke a strong gentle guardian to these kittens. I was pleased with the first image but wanted to submit it to print competition and my mentor suggested I add more expression to the dog and a bit of humor. So I got to the second image. It still wasn’t “doing it” for me and I had all these kittens and I couldn’t figure out which ones to use and… well, I got overwhelmed. I was talking to a fellow photographer and she said, “Simplify. Where’s the story?” And the story was the kitten (Nugget) sitting on the ever patient dog’s head. So that’s what I concentrated on and finished painting “Queen of the Hill”.