Most of these paintings are from photos taken by my talented husband at the Minnesota Zoo in Egan, MN. The river otters there have a wide deep pool in which their entertain passersby (and themselves) with their underwater antics. They always make me feel a bit more connected to the joy of life and living and movement when I watch them. This is also why I paint them.
Otters have intrigued me since I was a child at the New Minnesota Zoo watching them perform their acrobatics through the glass wall of their tank. There is an approachable connection in their joy in their bodies, a familiarity I feel and seek to explore by painting their bodies’ movement through that alien element of water. Motion and response, flow and surrounding self with bubbles… seems a great way to spend a life.
We often need intermediaries to act for us, to speak on our behalf or guide us safely into unfamiliar territory.
Otters are intercessors between water and air, passing between the two elements seamlessly, automatically, without worry or concern. They are guides for me in my life, teaching me how to play and roll and live in this world of fear and pain, letting it all wash over and carry me rather than be tangled and caught. These otters are portal keepers, piloting us through those rough passages of life to the safe waters where we float free and true.