My greatest fear, artistically speaking, has always been the prospect of learning that I am not an artist at all, but simply someone who has a knack for copying photographs. Long ago, the use of photographic reference went from being a tool to a crutch. Throughout the semester I have gradually set aside the use of photographic reference, as well as direct reference (life drawing, still lifes) and I have created a body of work using a subject matter that I am very comfortable with – dogs – in order to investigate my ability to draw from different forms of reference, my memory and imagination in particular. Ultimately, I am exploring the possibility of failure. Pulling inspiration from the work and methods of a wide variety of artists throughout history – the Post-Impressionists, Ancient Japanese artists, Walt Disney, John Singer Sargent, and Paleolithic cave paintings – I have challenged myself to try a number of techniques I was once too frightened to attempt. On top of setting aside photographic reference, I have experimented with limited palettes, earth tones, paper cutouts, stenciling, cartooning, and my own version of cave painting.