On June 6th, 1944, American paratroopers stormed Normandy, France to spearhead the D-Day invasion to ultimately drive the German forces out of France during World War II. After jumping, the paratroopers held their ground before beach-landing troops arrived with reinforcements. Several battles took place, including one within a field aside a French country road. After both sides had formed a skirmish line, prepared to fight, a jackrabbit became startled and began running between the two lines. Both sides began to fire at the rabbit, trying to strike him, yet after many attempts, the rabbit remained unharmed and darted safely into the bushes. Hearing the continuous gunshots from afar, the German defenders of Baupte assumed that they were outnumbered, allowing the pair of unsupported paratroop companies to easily overtake them.
After hearing Dr. Donald Olson, of Texas State University speak of his travels to Normandy, France to study the victories that took place during World War II, and speaking with my freshmen roommate who accompanied Dr. Olson on his study abroad, I became interested in the subject and have chosen to pursue it for my history painting. I have chosen to focus on a true story that involves a jackrabbit helping the American troops win a battle and ultimately, helping them drive the Germans out of France during World War II. I have found imagery of World War II soldiers along with references of running jackrabbits from the Internet that I can use to compile a dynamic composition.
This painting’s composition will be simple, yet powerful. By abstracting the rabbit’s form to a minimalistic, pale silhouette surrounded by a drastically different background, the rabbit will remain the focal point in a haunting way. The background will be composed of random, sporadic lines and marks in order to convey not only the random, quick movements of the animal himself, but also the frantic, rushed gunshots of the soldiers firing at him. This random barrage of marks will also convey the chaotic theme of war and the constant panic of being preyed upon. This composition will most importantly highlight the rabbit’s presence in the piece to focus on his major impact in the war through such a small, minor role.
While painting this painting, I will choose to paint with quick, energetic, and activated brushstrokes to highlight the fast energy of the jackrabbit and the boisterous clamor of the soldiers and their gunshots. As for colors, I will choose to use solemn, neutral tones in the background and pale tones within the jackrabbit. By using lighter colors on the hare, he will be highlighted as a heroic figure that brought hope to the war. All of these choices will help illustrate this historic event in a way that will highlight my positive thoughts.