Animals are a part of many people’s daily life. But where is the line between animal and human? Is there something that separates man from beast? In my IDA project, Among Beasts, I chose to explore the relationship between us and our pets.
At the beginning of the project I explored my photo archive for images that interested me. Photos of my two cats and my daughter caught my attention. Two external images also drew me in: a photo of a dog barring his teeth in a moment of aggression, and another photo of a different dog slinking away as if he was about to be beaten. During the rest of the module I drew from these source materials and created scenes with humans and animals facing off, alone, or intertwined.
During the painting process I learned about the difference between a photograph and a painting. Some of my beginning paintings used my reference photos too literally. During the process, I was able to begin creating my own images and rely less on photos.
I worked with oil paints for the first time during this module. Throughout the project, I experimented with oil paint and its qualities. I applied it thick and thin, I painted on primed or unprimed cardboard, paper and canvas and I experimented with layering and mixing as well as different brush strokes. Additionally, I experimented with different formats—from as small as A4 to as large as 1,60 x 2m.
Making a painting requires thousands of decisions. In this module, I learned to move between working intuitively and working critically. With the help of our teachers I was able to question certain ideas and styles and open myself up to a freer, less encumbered way of painting. My chosen theme holds my interest and I plan on continuing the project into the summer.