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The making of a hare painting
It’s taken months to finish, measures more than 5ft long and needed its own, bespoke frame (which I built and then painted in a complimentary wash), but by goodness am I going to miss this painting when it goes to its new owner this week.
It’s been with me in essence since the harsh winter of 2010, when I saw an unlikely group of 51 hares massed together in the heavy snow. Hares are usually solitary animals and so I followed them through knee-deep snow knowing that they had to be courting and hoping to see them box.
I spent a long time mulling over the concept of a painting of the group in the snow and at last, once I’d decided on a composition, began the painting this year. I wanted to paint something on a larger scale – and the first issue I had was how to balance the board I was going to paint on on to my easel.
I begin most of my paintings with a base colour of ice-blue for the snow and gradually adding warmer yellows and whites for that frosty crust of snow.
Once the background was ready, I started to sketch in the outlines of the hares.
They looked like ghosts to begin with.
I paint directly from my photographs. You can see here how I used the original photographs I took and organised them in to a composition I liked.
It took days to block in the basic colours of each hare.
I added more and more detail and texture with each application of paint.
Then it was time to go back and add more detail to the background and to each hare.
At this stage I’ve got it all on bar the whiskers!
Soon it will be time to deliver it to its new home. I’ll take it personally and supervise the hanging before I say goodbye.