Boxing hares have been on my to-do list for a while and as much as I tried to source my own photo reference of them to paint this piece, I didn’t hit the jackpot with some boxing hares in front of my camera lens this Spring.  It is much harder than you think to capture great wildlife reference for painting from!

Thankfully there are many wonderful photographers who are willing to let me use their images to work from.  If you are using an image from another artist (cause, don’t forget, that’s what photographers are!) then always ask their permission and even offer them a fee for using it.  In this case, a print of the finished painting is being gifted to the photographer.  Many thanks to him for allowing me to use his hares and even though I’ve changed his image a lot, you can see how important their wonderful poses were.

Hope you enjoy my progress on this piece…

Dandelion DanceThe finished painting 19″x24″ pastel

Boxing1Photo reference kindly given by Stephen Durrant Wildlife Photography.  See his work on Flickr at

This is the photo reference I used for the hares.  It is such a great shot catching them in perfect freeze frame motion.  I think the hares look so surreal when they do this, like they are not quite real.  I wanted to create a setting that had that same feeling so I used a lot more vibrance in the painting and set them in a field of dandelions receeding into the distance.


As I’ve placed the skyline quite high up on the golden ration line at the top of the painting I’m leaving the sky really deep and vibrant with that blue violet.  I love the contrast between it and the yellow.  Hopefully the detail in the foregound will allow this background to really zing.

Dandelion2 Starting the detail on the hares who I want to really jump off the page.

Dandelion3 Using such a large mixture of colours on the hares including the blue from the sky and almost every shade of orange I own!  The hares are backlit so I want to create that strange lighting when something is lit from behind but still reflects the bright colours all around.

Dandelion4 Using a very sharp pastel pencil for the wispiest whiskers.

Dandelion5 Dandelion7 Dandelion8 Starting to work in some foreground just to get a feel for how they are going to come into focus around the hares legs.  My aim will be to make them belong in this setting and that will involve working the dandelions at the end so that they overlap the hares legs.

Dandelion9 Hare number two started.  The detail in the original photo reference doesn’t quite show a nice expression on this hare’s face so I am trying to soften the expression in the eye and perhaps make this hare quite feminine.  It was long believed that boxing hares were two males.  In actual fact is part of the courtship between a male and female.Dandelion10 Dandelion11Using the lovely vibrant oranges and coral shades from Unison pastels.  They have a great range of these warm colours and yellows too!


Dandelion13 Dandelion14 Nearing the end now and my last job is to work the foreground and bring some flowers into focus.  Dandelions are a lovely flower to paint and I love dotting lots of other colours in between them to create the impression of leaves and stems.

Hope you have enjoyed their progress.  It has been a challenge and a half!  Call back soon for more work in progress.

If you are interested in a limited edition giclee print of this piece here is the link to it in my shop.