'Artists are gnostics, and practise what the priests think is long forgotten.' - Hugo Ball

Monday, 3 June 2013

Three Leaping Hares

Three Leaping Hares © Sue Wookey

I've thinking about it for ages and have finally got down to it - painting another version of the Three Hares. I painted my first, Three Running Hares a few years ago (see below) and there was such a wonderful response to it I put it on all my publicity postcards. It also appeared in the Earth Pathways Diary, in 2011. But I've been painting a lot of hares since then and I know how much everyone loves them, so I wanted to visit this extraordinary symbol again.

This time I've tried to orientate the hares so that they form a clear upward pointing triangle. There is a moon in the centre (hares love the moon) and three ancient mounds containing three of its phases. The hares are contained in three interlocking circles, which I hope bring a sense of movement to the painting. I've surrounded the whole thing with trees representing the four seasons.

No one knows the real origin or meaning of this strange symbol, but it is found all along the Silk Road from ancient China to South West England, where it can be seen on church roof bosses and in stained glass. Adopted by the Cornish Tin Guilds it became known as the 'Tinners' Rabbits'. The Three Hares chase each other around and, in an optical illusion, share only three ears. It's one of the many symbols that contain a trinity, like the triskelion (the Isle of Man symbol) and the Celtic symbol of three interlocking spirals.

The words around the border are written by me and are - appropriately - a Celtic Triad :

Three things the Hare loves: the deep green meadow grass,
the circling light of sun and moon,
the unfolding seasons bringing all their joys in turn.

Prints of Three Leaping Hares can be ordered online from my website at Galley Hill Art.

Three Running Hares © Sue Wookey



Teresa N said...

Lovely painting, Sue! and thanks for the explanation of the thinking behind the imagery. Beautiful!

Sue W said...

Thanks Teresa! I've been brooding on it for quite some time, but when I finally got around to painting it, it took off in it's own direction (as always) and ended up quite different!

Lynn-Marie Gildersleeve said...

Just lovely. *sigh*