Follow Rachel McNaughton as she paints a bounding hare in watercolour.

Step 1

Draw the hare on cartridge paper first then you can trace through onto watercolour paper and avoid damaging it with lots of rubbing out.

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Step 2

Wet all the paper.

Using all the gold-brown colours begin painting the hare with a very varied wash.

Winsor violet is better used for the shadowed areas on the body of the hare.

Step 3

1. Continue into the lower background and about halfway up the hare. From that point start to use upward strokes of raw sienna and quinacridone gold to suggest wet-in-wet grasses.

2. Splatter as well while the paper is still wet. To do this, fill your brush with colour then tap against your finger to flick the colour onto the paper. Leave to dry.

Step 4

1. Make sure your paper is completely dry then rewet the body of the hare quickly, taking care not to disturb the first wash (this is tricky!). Paint the hare again using the same washes, but avoid painting his chest and eye.

2. Drop in more colours while he is still wet; you might need to add more colour to your washes.

3. Add more upward grasses with flicks of browns and golds to create better defined grass.

4. Fade the colour from the bottom ends of the grass out gradually with a clean damp brush. Leave to dry.

Step 5

1. Paint the hare’s ears with the burnt umber and ultramarine wash, fading into raw sienna. Try to make a darker area on the back ear to define the ear shape at the front; a ragged finish will give the impression of fur.

2. Continue over the head with the lighter colours and fade out near his nose so that looks lighter.

3. Use Winsor violet (take care – Winsor violet is a very strong colour so use plenty of water) for the shadowed areas, allowing the colour to run wet in wet.

4. Paint another layer on the nearest legs only. Leave the furthest legs unpainted and again don’t paint his chest. Leave to dry.

5. Paint the background legs with a burnt umber and ultramarine wash (a bluer mixture than before.) Make sure the eye area is dry and paint the whole area with light red leaving a small highlight.

Step 6

1. Add definition to the paws with burnt umber and ultramarine, using linear marks to suggest separate toes.

2. Use the same colour and add details to the nose and whiskers with a fine brush and quick strokes.

3. Add a few more grasses and splatter for undergrowth at the bottom. Allow some to come over the hare’s legs to set him into the landscape.

4. Finally add a dark to the eye using a mix of ultramarine and burnt umber with just enough water to make a creamy mixture. Don’t forget to leave the highlight and allow a little of the light red to show in a curve at the bottom of the eye.

Rachel McNaughton

Find out about Rachel, her work and classes at

This demonstration is taken from the May 2018 issue of Leisure Painter


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