What Our Rabbit
Taught Me About Art…

You might be surprised by what I learned from our little fur ball rabbit…

Our fur ball's name is Cyril.

We got him when he was six months old and he's about 10 years old now, which is getting up there for a rabbit.

But, he's still pretty frisky for his age. (Much like me.)

One of the things that keeps him perky is we take him out in our fenced back yard, so he can hop around for half an hour or so eating weeds and old dead leaves.

Not a cuisine that interests me, but it seems to suit Cyril just fine. And he's got a special way of showing how much he enjoys being outside munching this stuff.

He does twitchy jumps.

This is actually a survival behavior. When chased by a predator, rabbits try to confuse them by jumping in the air and sending their back end twisting in a different direction than their front end intends to go when it hits the ground again.

These twitchy jumps are also the way a rabbit says, "I'm feeling GOOOOOD!"

Watching him do these quirky jumps always brings a smile to my face, and it's a nice reminder that I should make everything I do fun. Especially art.

You see, there are times when I struggle. I may struggle with coming up with an idea to paint or I may struggle painting the idea I have or I may just feel like I'm struggling in general.

That's when I need to ask myself how I can make things easier and more fun. What do I need to do to get that twitchy jump feeling?

This past fall, the answer to that question was I needed to do something differently in my Sunday morning figure drawing group. I was feeling stale, less energized about what I was producing.

Even though the poses are only 25 minutes each, I decided I needed to push myself more, take more chances and try to complete a painting of each pose. Given the timeframe, that meant I had to keep things simple and only show what was absolutely necessary.

At right is one of the pastel paintings I started in the drawing group and finished at home from imagination. I kept things simple and tried to establish a good design.

This and the other paintings I've done have really re-energized me. I'm mentally doing twitchy jumps again.

Another upside of having fun again is other people in the group have noticed and responded to what I'm doing.

Many times after the pose ends, they come look over my shoulder and compliment me on what they see.

So, while you may not have a rabbit to remind you, find a way to have fun in everything you do. Push yourself, keep learning, try something new.

Keep pushing yourself until you get that twitchy jump feeling!Then do it some more.

Best Wishes,

Gary Gumble
Founder of www.beginningartist.com

Without art the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable. (George Bernhard Shaw)


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