Sunday, March 27, 2016

Happy Easter/Spring/Whatever 2016

Cottontail Rabbit at 'The Meadows' of Cape May.Watercolor by Ken Januski.

It seems that rabbits have always, at least in my experience, been associated with Easter. They also play a big part in much wildlife art, especially British wildlife art from what I can tell. I've often wanted to use them as the subject for a painting or print but every time I see one in the wild they are gone before I've put down more than a few lines of a sketch or taken a largely out of focus photo.

Nonetheless I decided to try this one yesterday. I posted the result on my Ken Januski Artist Facebook page and then shared it elsewhere. One comment  on the share, well intended I'm sure, liked the drawing but suggested that watercolor was a difficult medium and perhaps I'd prefer colored pencils or pastel.

But I consider this one of my most successful watercolors. I'll let the viewer guess why. One thing I can say is that I've always hated color pencils. They seem to reinforce the idea of coloring between the lines and perhaps even worse mistaking the surface of a bird, animal or anything as somehow representative of that living, breathing thing. Though I wish my grasses and background had a bit more substance here, I love the rabbit. It looks like a rabbit, a nanosecond away from bolting, but made of patches and marks of color that don't at all look like the exterior of a rabbit and yet from a distance resolve into a believable representation. To me that is part of the magic of painting. And it's something you never ever see in the eminently safe method of colored pencils. I'm sure someone somewhere has made exciting lively art using colored pencils, but I surely can't recall seeing any.

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