To a Rabbit

After our all-out, no-holds-barred attack on rabbits a couple of days ago, I started to feel bad. I like rabbits! It was Chet who got all uppity about being "king of this blog." He's a guy. Stuff like that happens when you get guys involved. I happen to think Cinnamon is a vision of lagopulchritude. It's the Rex breed of rabbit that I drool over every September, in the Small Animal Barn of our county fair. I'd have a rabbit if they didn't make my nose tickle, and my eyes itch...

So I decided to paint a rabbit, and show the steps of making this little painting here.
First, I start with a sketch I like, of a cottontail resting out on our lawn (made pre-dog, obviously. Cottontails don't get much rest around here anymore.) The next step is to paint some winter weeds around her, and put a nice wet wash of burnt umber and cobalt blue over the wet ground of her body. I make her fur much darker than it should be, because I'm about to sprinkle ordinary table salt atop that wash. Salt is hydrophilic, which means it draws water toward itself. Each grain makes a little puddle, and the pigment settles around that puddle of clear water. This gives a lovely organic effect that you couldn't do convincingly by trying. I use a lot of salt in my paintings these days. It's a big help for someone who is so used to painting feathers, that I panic a bit when asked to render other textures, like fur. The painting's about done now.

I want it to look spontaneous and quick, and it has been. But although a watercolor may be executed very quickly, there's a lot of thought and consideration that goes into making it look spontaneous.

Cinnamon, you're beautiful. This one's for you, kid!