Last night I went and did a session with the West Wycombe art group – what a nice bunch of people! So today I was itching to paint and as I had a commission for boxing hares hanging over me, that’s what I decided to attack.
Now google a few boxing hares and you will soon see they are strange. They often have their eyes closed and their heads at odd angles and generally look like world heavy weight boxers in the ring. My heart slightly sinks when people say ‘hare’. Everyone loves them but do they look at them properly? They aren’t fluffy and pretty. They are often quite raggedy and you can see the muscle and skeleton. So to paint them with an air of reality, yet still have an attractive painting, is a challenge. I don’t like chocolate box images, but a painting of nature red in tooth and claw won’t keep anyone happy!!
So, first I worked out my composition:
Then I started on the right hand hare, having put in both irises so they could dry ahead of the pupils. I decided to use sevres blue, teal blue, neutral tint, transparent turquoise, quin sienna and a bit of cotswold stone. My aim was for harmonious grey and blue…. or something to that effect. I was very direct and tried to be bold, before using some salt for texture.
Next, I used clean water to bleed out some of the colour into the background.
Then to the other hare, using the same colours but in different proportions to balance and contrast (again the theory).
Then I defined the eyes, splattered the background, added whiskers and a touch of gouache especially on the tail.
And there you go – boxing hares and hopefully not a chocolate box in sight!