When someone commissions me to do a painting, I sometimes have a problem with the subject matter. If the person wants a particular animal depicted in the painting, and it doesn’t suit me at the time, then I will not accept the commission. In this case, however, I was asked to do a painting of a cottontail, and I had no problem accepting the commission as cottontails are one of my favorite subjects. So the man got his painting, and it now hangs in a museum in the southern United States.

I have cottontails in my own backyard, and even though they eat my vegetables, I am still very fond of them. Cottontails can have up to four litters a year from February through September. Since I love the autumn, I chose to depict the last litter of the season. During my strolls in the countryside, I often see young rabbits sitting under blackberry bushes, and this gave me the inspiration for the painting.

—Carl Brenders