Rats on Canvas
After many months away from the easel, Cricket accepted a
commission to paint a new work of art! This time, Cricket would try
his paw at mixing colors and at painting on a canvas.
The day was so beautiful, Cricket agreed to come outside to paint.
To avoid unwanted jaunts on the balcony and a trail of multicolored
footprints, we placed the canvas in the bottom of a box. The order of
the day was "jewel colors," so we poured out purple, blue, green and
red as the base colors for mixing.
The artist's setup
Cricket agreed to have me mix the paints, because he doesn't have
opposable thumbs so he can't hold brushes or spoons. I combined blue
and green to make a pretty teal, and indigo and red to make a rich
dark magenta and a deep plum. Cricket dabbed his back feet in teal
and magenta, his front feet in green and his tail in magenta. He was
ready to paint!
Cricket took a few steps, and quickly realized that the picture
needed a touch of warmth. So I mixed a spring green for him and
placed it in the bowl of a spoon. Cricket dipped a front paw in and
contined to paint.
Cricket meandered over the canvas, adding a few scent marks which I
blotted for him. His tail created textured, blended streaks behind
him. At one point he paused for a break and peeked over the edge,
placing a few tasteful blue pawmarks on the box. I renewed the paint
on his paws and tail for him a few times, adding some teal to his
tail tip and a bit of blue-green to a front paw.
Cricket decorates the box,
Cricket the artist surveys his
After a few more minutes Cricket surveyed his work, and decided it
was done. Cricket had completed an homage to spring, a mix of deep
floral pinks and vibrant blue-greens. His warm yellow-greens hinted
at tender grass shoots from an ancestral rat memory; his streaks of
aqua and magenta meandering among the pawprints recalled wild rat
paths under nodding, fragrant lilacs.
Cricket declares his painting
Cricket gravely allowed himself to be washed off in the sink, and I
carefully removed the paint from his paws and tail. My efforts, of
course, were nothing compared to the bath Cricket could give himself.
He started on his fur as soon as he got back to the cage, though he
did interrupt himself to accept a treat for all his efforts at the
Cricket submits to the indignity of a
Cricket accepts a treat
Cricket's finished painting, Joyous Spring:
Joyous Spring, by