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 artist's setup

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.


Mixing paints

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!


Getting started

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 decorates the box, too

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 the artist surveys his work

Cricket declares his painting finished

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 submits to the indignity of a bath

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 easel.

Cricket accepts a treat

Cricket's finished painting, Joyous Spring:

Joyous Spring, by Cricket

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