Wednesday, 11 June 2014

The Hare and the Midnight Moon

It seems that many cultures are fascinated by our long eared lagamorph friends, more commonly known as rabbits and hares. And I too, hold a fondness for rabbits, having kept one as a pet as a child and being familiar with their rabbity cuteness in the fields around where I live. But where did my reverence for the hare in nature and mythology come from? I've very rarely seen hares in the countryside, and the few times I have been so lucky, I've felt that I've been witness to something very special. Especially so because of their secretive natures, that they usually live in rugged countryside and the rarity of numbers in England...but is there more to it?

© 2013 Angela Cutler. Let Your Light Shine. Pencil, oil pastel, acrylic on paper.

Perhaps it's because the hare has become part of our psyche imbued with spirituality since ancient times, not just in the UK, but across the world and in different cultures. The hare has been revered and associated with the moon, as it has been noted that there is a hare shaped shadow on the moon itself and also because of their nocturnal nature. The hare is a mysterious creature and so many legends and myths abound with it often symbolising growth, rebirth, new beginnings and good fortune.

I enjoying collecting small momentos of my travels like a card or an ornament; I also like to see what other local artists are inspired by and I've noticed that just like me, they too hold a fascination for the hare and very often I am spoilt by the choice of hare art, sculpture and memorabilia on offer. So it feels natural for me to see the hare as the artist's muse.

© 2013 Angela Cutler. Hare detail. Pencil.

After realising recently that I should value my unused drawing skill, my first illustrative endeavour back into art was 'On Wings Like Eagles'. I hold the hare so special to myself and to spirituality, so this is the second drawing I embarked upon - it felt like an obvious choice for me. I felt a special pull to depict a hare, and after a 20 year hiatus in drawing, I did find it a challenge to illustrate all the fur, to make him feel ruffled as though blown by the wind. It was a pleasure to see my hare take shape and come alive and with him my own confidence in my drawing ability return too. I wanted to imbue the drawing with the magical energy that both hares and moonlight possess.

A common theme, I have now noted in my work is the moon and sun and idea of being drawn from darkness into light and it is interesting for me to note that my Eagle drawing depicted the sun and this next drawing showed the moon. This theme is especially important for me, and is similar to a more recent drawing 'Twilight Flight'; this piece is also about a nocturnal creature reaching for the light. My ideology is that we all need to reach for the light as darkness in many forms tries to enclose us. For God has declared, "Light is to shine where before there was darkness," and so He caused His light to shine in our hearts. 2 Corinthians 4:6

Moreover, the hare in art and mythology holds a special place in our hearts with his ancient spirituality, but also with his long sinuous lines as he runs freely across our beautiful British countryside. And long may he continue to do so.