Saturday, 23 January 2016

From Behind The Easel: Simile

    
 

“Simile," 21”x15,” acrylic on board

When I decided to paint a river otter, I wanted to capture the spirit of an animal that straddles both aquatic and terrestrial realms. As a mammal, the otter is most closely linked with other small land-based critters. But the otter is probably happiest in the water where it has evolved into a sleek, supple swimmer. I wanted to celebrate both sides of the otter.

The concept of the otter painting came from thinking of the otter’s complementary opposite worlds; land and water. With this is mind I decided to create a composition based on the Chinese yin and yang symbol. You can see the S shape divide between the water and rock, and the dark of the otter opposite the light, reflective water. The otter’s curved body and the bubbling water in the lower left help guide the eye around and back into the painting. I wanted the water itself to emulate the smooth, twisting nature of a swimming otter while the otter itself is at rest. This helps visually link the animal with its environment while maintaining an overall calm, almost zen-like feeling.

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