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.