Otters, ink, progress; the shape of an otter.

I wanted to gather a romp of otters to see if I was finding the shape of an otter more or less easily. I’ve been practicing with fluid ink, because when I do events I want to be able to conjure an otter onto paper using Robert Macfarlane’s words and memory. The first otter was painted to help raise money for Jane Beaton’s crowd funder in Scotland. £1000 can buy a good many books and I think this week Jane took delivery of 4 1/2 tonnes of books, in the snow.

These inked otters began at the Foundling Museum, when I was talking about my work at the exhibition there. I drew a pair of otters, but then just painted two, small. Because watercolour is my first language really……tiny, they flowed off the brush, aware of themselves in a way the drawings weren’t.

And then it began. An obsession unleashed. River-wolf.

Second and third otters followed, flowed.

The otter below was painted for BBC Wales today, though I am unsure as to whether the piece has been shown yet on TV. This one was sold to help pay my own bills.

And the otters below were painted while I filmed myself, so that I could learn, what worked, try to pull back. Always, always, always I over paint, take it to far, step past the moment. They have a touch of gold in their whiskers.

Then on to a watercolour otter, and with this one the gilding came out differently to how I had imagined. So it goes.

And then the most free, painted on paper stretched in the wild from a river, and with spring water hauled from the well. Of all the otters this flowed most freely and was sold and the money donated straight to Water Aid.

The two latest move and twist over the page, a small romp of Dratsies, painted with ground ink, calligraphy ink and water from the waterfall at the south end of Whitesands, only accessible at low tide.

Once there was a seal in the cave there and I want to paint a seal with water from the cave too, maybe on paper stretched in the sea.

I left a stone with gold on the rock wall, and as the tide was coming in, and as it was evening, I think the stone would have been taken by the sea. A thank you, for taking some of the fresh that would have flowed into the salt. Who knows how far the water has travelled, from rain, to stream to river to sea and back and this small portion now flowing into otters.

I made a note on the tissue of gold, the labyrinth shadow, soul, remnant, from gilding the stone, and this will be for sale with the otter painting.

£1000 for the otter pair. 72 x 53 cms, not for charity or a crowdfunder this time. Just to pay my bills, so I can continue to wander and doodle.

This one is now sold, but please email me if you wish to be placed on a waiting list for otters. Each otter spins off more ideas, and I have so much and many other things  should be doing, but The names of the Otter are calling and I can do nothing until that is complete.

About Jackie

I am an artist and writer. I live in a small house by the sea in Wales where I write, paint, walk and watch and dream of bears and whales. I love to read, have a wish for wings and prefer the company of animals to that of humans, though at times I can be quite friendly. I am learning how to work with wood engraving tools and hoping to show that you can teach an old dog new tricks.
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10 Responses to Otters, ink, progress; the shape of an otter.

  1. Charlotte says:

    They are utterly gorgeous Jackie, such a joy to watch them swim onto the paper.

  2. Stuart Hill says:

    Jackie, I can’t resist reacting to your work!

    I form words of water,
    an incantation of current and wash,
    tide and flow.
    An aural incence
    caste wide from
    the thurible
    of my throat
    to shoal on estuaries,
    ebb and neap
    over banks
    and streams,
    and rills.
    Words that Flash and flicker
    into nets
    that draw you from long absence
    to living presence,
    your swimming form
    embroidered on this flow
    like watered-silk,
    or fluid ink.
    Like that stirring
    in the mind’s
    deepest depths,
    where thought is sparked
    and bursts upwards
    To sunlight
    And a promise of prey.

  3. Stuart Hill says:

    That’s exciting! I love Haye on Wye.

  4. Bernie Bell says:

    I’m still thinking about the idea of otter DNA in the paper – magic and science – tho’ I do think science, is magic – especially DNA – that’s magic.
    And now you’re playing with the idea of a seal, from water from the cave………..”Oh, and it makes me wonder…………..”
    And from a waterfall, too – waterfalls are something else again.
    Water from a lochan, in a mountain? Thoughts to conjure with.

  5. Bernie Bell says:

    It just occurred to me – you’re using wild-water! You’re re-wilding your painting water. Hurrah!
    “Bippety-bobbety-buppety-boo – so little time, so much to do!”

  6. Bernie Bell says:

    Melt-water from a glacier – think of all the age in that – trapped in the ice – then released – imagine what might flow through your brush from that!
    I’m enjoying thinking about these – I can see them in my mind’s eye, but I can’t express them with paint, or ink – you can!
    How about an ink-wash bird? “I caught this morning morning’s minion…………”

  7. Jane Dorfman says:

    Your otters are so alive, fierce too.

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