A few years back, I won the Helene Wurlitzer award for painting; the prize was a three-month residency in Taos, New Mexico. One day, I found myself painting just at the edge of town when a heavyset woman sprang out from a house nearby with a shotgun and four little, yapping dogs. Walking towards me, she said that she’d seen a bear around earlier that morning and that I had better watch out. Afterward, she lumbered back towards her ramshackle house trailed by her four little dogs. I quickly finished my painting as fast as I could because I didn’t want to hang around and wait to have either her or the bear come back!