Mary Jean Ruhnke spends her life amidst a black and white world of expectations and false realities. To escape them, she brings together the juxtaposition of acrylic pigments and ink to depict her emotional state. While Mary Jean has painted subjects such as the female form, pet portraits and farm animals, she primarily uses birds as her muse because they are a reflection of her spirit. They depict her vulnerability, strength, splendor for life, and immense desire to be free from society’s expectations. Her deep Christian faith shines out in her paintings. The way the birds so vividly differ from the background of this earthly world. She sees the world as a beautiful, highly detailed “backdrop” that we all exist in. We as humans are so much more than this temporary world we pass through. We are colorful, extraordinary creatures with aspects that beautifully set us apart.