Each morning is a surprise, because Hunt Slonem never knows which bunny will hop into his studio.
Figuratively speaking, of course.
The bunnies emerge as he paints them on small wooden surfaces.
“Not all of them are small,” Slonem says. “Some of them are very large. Not many, but some.”
Painting bunnies is the artist’s warm-up exercises, which are now the subject of the book, “Bunnies,” released on March 15 by Glitterati Inc. The coffee-table book features 256 pages of Slonem’s paintings, accompanied by a author John Berendt’s foreword and Bruce Helander’s text.
Slonem will sign copies of his book from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 20, at the Louisiana Art & Science Museum, which is featuring a small exhibit of his bunny paintings and other work.
“We call this his Bunny Wall,” says curator Elizabeth Weinstein. “We’re excited to be able to do this — this museum has always had a good relationship with Hunt Slonem.”
The paintings are hung in the small, intimate space beneath the stairway connecting the museum’s main downstairs and upstairs galleries.
They hang in a cluster, just like they do in Slonem’s New York and Louisiana residents.
Each bunny has its own personality.
“And I can’t wait to see what kind of personality is going to emerge when I’m painting them,” Slonem says. “It’s always a surprise, and I love surprises.”
Slonem’s bunnies currently are featured in other exhibits throughout the country, the biggest being the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.
And though Slonem travels a lot, he’s very much at home in Louisiana. He earned his bachelor of arts degree from Tulane University in New Orleans in 1973, and later returned and purchased two historically important Louisiana plantations — Albania Plantation on Bayou Teche in St. Mary Parish and Lakeside Plantation in Batchelor.