The Cotswold Hare Trail 2017
It is with great honour that I have been asked to paint a hare for the prestigious Cotswold Hare Trail for 2017.
The trail is a series of 85 fiberglass hares that are located all across the county of Gloucestershire from Chipping Campden to Bristol.
Spotting these 6 foot tall hares has become an obsession for some – something you can sympathize with when you see the sheer depth of creative talent on show.
This is a not-for-profit arts festival that relies on sponsorship for each individual hare. With all hares going to auction in October the festival aims to raise funds for the National Star College and other local historical projects.
As far as themes go there isn’t really one set in place. As an abstract artist I prefer to let that be something for you to decide depending upon your reaction to it. To set its tone by way of a name or story is to pre-determine something that may have a different meaning for you. However it does have a name: “I AM MORE THAN JUST MY FACE”.
The hare was created using my bespoke enamel paints. The body posture, being upright and almost regal, suggested I should use an equally rich and stately colour palette.
There’s an underpinning of pink, red, orange and violet over which has been poured some carefully located rivers of gold and a very special metallic blue called, unsurprisingly, Swarez blue which unique to me.
How I painted the hare
After having lightly keyed the bare white surface I set about applying a base coat of pink and purple. Owing to the fact that this is an upright canvas to work on rather than being a flat one (how I normally work) I was aware from the beginning that gravity was at work. But like all enemies it’s best to embrace them.
There’s a need to have some degree of control over this most fundamental of nature’s forces so that I could stand a chance of manipulating the paint into the places I wanted it to go.
One of the most fundamental challenges in coaxing paint to do what you want it to do is to control the flow rates. On certain applications I needed to have the pours reach all the way to the bottom of his feet whilst on others (most evidently his head) I needed them to settle on the body. Achieving consistency of flow rates is difficult and not something you can really alter once it goes on the subject.
So my way of pouring paint simply presents a set of different challenges when compared to a more traditional way of applying paint.
Adrian made an awesome job of the eyes and detailing round the mouth…
The feet and finishing touches
I think the feet are worth a mention because they are so different for the rest of the hare. To be honest there’s no real story in so much as I wanted to make them stand out a little. So I used my knowledge of colour to put a combination together that allows them to be really noticed but not in a way that detracts from the whole impact of the hare.
Besides, the feet are like end points that can either send your eye away or bring them back round so as a defining point for the way you look at it I knew they had to be different.