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Florida Gulf Coast University
10501 FGCU Blvd, South
Fort Myers, FL 33965-6565
(239) 590-1000 or (800) 590-3428

COURTNEY DIEKELMANN

THE UNTAMED LOCALS

Senior Project FALL 2017

My senior project showcases a collection of pastel drawings and acrylic paintings that describe the interconnection between beach wildlife species and the beach landscape. The Southwest Florida beaches are made of sand, shells, rocks, and vegetation. However, it is the variety of beautiful creatures that ultimately makes this space an untamed paradise. There are a wide range of species that coexist and depend on the coastline for food and shelter. To create my exhibition I explored the relationship between some of the coastal wildlife and the landscape of the beach. My work attempts to highlight the beauty of each species and while pointing to the importance to the beach environment.


Having grown up here in Southwest Florida, the beach has always been a place of adventure and solitude for me. My appreciation for my local beaches has deepened over time. I came to realize that the wildlife and the vegetation make up a thriving ecosystem along the coastline. There is an importance in knowing that the creatures who inhabit the coastline are the authentic locals and the beach is their only true home. We therefore should recognize ourselves as the visitors who should treat their place of haven with consideration. During my education at Florida Gulf Coast University I have taken environmentally-based courses where I have been able to gain further knowledge about the environment, its wildlife, and how our choices leave lasting impacts on them. I want my exhibition to inspire people to learn and be more aware of the wildlife being a part of the beach, as one complete systemic entity, as I hope I have created in my drawings and paintings.


I approached each piece in my senior project to create realistic depictions of different beach species. I visited various local beaches, where I sketched and took photos of numerous types of wildlife. Later, I determined what images I would create as finalized works, based on what animals I was able to see and spend time observing during my times at the beaches. From my initial sketches and photos, I created different working versions of these sketches. I then transferred my final decision on to either rag paper or canvas. I then drew or painted the different animals within the respective surroundings in which they would be found. Throughout my work I purposefully positioned my subjects off center to collectively create a diverse composition. I decided to use acrylic paint and pastel as my mediums because they successfully helped in creating detailed, life-like pieces. I chose to work on a smaller, intimate scale to bring the viewer in closer. By bringing the viewer closer to the work, it represents the importance that we need to create a better relationship between the wildlife and their home.