“Tiger got to hunt, bird got to fly;
Man got to sit and wonder ‘why, why, why?’
Tiger got to sleep, bird got to land;
Man got to tell himself he understand.”
― Kurt Vonnegut, Cat’s Cradle
As I play with these small paintings on paper, I am reminded that in the Spanish language the word used for a new-born baby is criatura, which translates to creäture. I’ve studied anatomy for a good amount of time now, and working these small compositions I am most aware of how much structure we share with the animals. I believe I have a better sense of why a cat is flexible and can jump high, and why a bird is able to fly.
I decide early on when first looking at cat anatomy, that I will make 4 cats. Very naturally, a bird enters this one set up. And because I have one more sheet of prepped paper, I plan to bring in a rodent because I am curious about their bodies and I admire Banksy’s rats.
I mention in the previous post I am experimenting with a new surface. Usually I work with both casein and egg tempera on one image, sometimes using casein as under-paint. In this case the bird is pure casein and the cat is pure egg tempera. I wish I could give you a better sense of the surface especially in the image below. Texture shows nicely by the lines I set in and the lines I carve out. I think of aboriginal weaving while completing the pieces and play that up some.
I want to mention that I deal very differently with these animal studies as opposed to my large figure work. Though I am looking at basic structure, the figure work is a much more subtle study. One more play with animal structure and design and I then I plan get back to the large paintings.