Bortz loves his subject matter. He’s a fisherman and outdoorsman who genuinely connects with the wildlife and especially fish that he paints. As he describes it:
“Aside from dawning snorkel gear and submersing myself in 45° water (which there’s no chance in hell I’m going to do), aiming the camera to get the fish in the frame is a crap shoot. It’s always a little easier if I’ve got someone along to wrangle the fish while I concentrate on the camera. Understandably, my fishing buds aren’t nearly as interested in getting these shots as I am and tend to be off doing their own thing. So most times I’m left to handle this on my own. My photography technique consists of holding the line with one hand (after I’m lucky enough to catch a photo-worthy fish), jamming the camera into the water with the other, and trying to guide the fish and the camera in coordinated movements. It’s akin to the old barroom 8-ball “poke and hope” method. When the fish are particularly frisky, this can lead to some comical mid-river dance moves and lots of fishing line wrapped around my legs. I’ve looked up on occasion to find I have a puzzled yet amused audience watching from the stream bank. I’m actually amazed every time I manage to get a great shot. There are literally hundreds of clunkers for every good one.”
Bortz’ paintings are included in the permanent collection of the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in Wausau, WI and has been selected multiple times for the prestigious Birds In Art exhibit (2007-2015) there. He also exhibits in the world-renowned Southeast Wildlife Exhibition in Charleston, SC which celebrates wildlife and the outdoors, hosting hundreds of artists and outfitters alike.