Brown Hare at Sunset
Original Painting Medium: Pastel
Scientific Name: Lepus europaeus
Region: United Kingdom
Hares are handsome creatures and the hare in my pastel painting was a pleasure to portray.
‘Mad as a March Hare’ refers to the boxing antics of hares during Springtime. During the Springtime a male hare, known as a buck, can often be seen chasing a female, a doe. If the female is unreceptive: in order to defend herself, she will sometimes retaliate by standing on her hind legs and appear to engage in a boxing fight with the buck. I look forward to also portraying two hares boxing.
The Brown Hare is the harbinger of Spring and is held in high esteem by many people: to country folk they were mystical and mysterious and for hundreds of years there have been many old customs and beliefs associated with hares. Hares are often portrayed in churches and cathedrals with beautiful carvings and drawings depicting a hare sat gazing up at the moon.
The Brown Hare is found in most parts of Britain but due to hunting, is a rare sight. It is also a rare sight in Ireland, due to hare coursing, and it is now almost absent from the Scottish Highlands, due to culling, in order to raise 1,000’s of grouse for the sport of grouse shooting. After the water vole, it is the species of mammal in Britain that has undergone the greatest decline in numbers. The Brown Hare has now been added to the list of vulnerable species.
Despite this hares continued to be shot, hunted and coursed across the UK simply for ‘fun and sport’. Unlike all other ‘game’ species, there is no close season. In England, Brown hares now have legal protection but in Ireland ‘hare coursing’ still continues.