Otterly Magic! By Mary Ann Rogers

Issue 87

Post Christmas blues, and a recovering snapped thumb tendon anxiety have been swept away by the thrill of regular sightings of a relative newcomer (returner) to the river where we live.

Twice lately, when the river has been far too high and fast for swimming, we have had the privilege of spotting not just one, but two otters splashing about in the river where we live and coming ashore to crunch up whatever they were eating.

With the recent cold weather, ice has formed at the edges of the river. Yesterday I heard a tinkling sound coming from the river as I walked along the road,so I crept closer to investigate. There, on the other side of the river, was an otter working its way along the shore, splashing up through the ice and busily searching for something. It swam across the river to my side, with its head above water, its whiskers sparkling in the bright winter sunshine.

It is observations like these which can lead to a series of paintings, inspired by direct contact with the subject. As I write, I just don’t have enough understanding or knowledge of otters to consider painting them, plus I would realistically need to get much closer and ideally, handle one, to discover their physiology and where the power comes from.

New paintings have been inspired by watching a handsome cock pheasant regularly creeping about in the undergrowth at home. They are still finding berries as well as pinching the bird food we put out, which the squirrels also find.

2023 is already feeling like a good year. An early invitation to exhibit in one of my favourite galleries is an exciting start!

Visitors are welcome to the gallery just outside West Woodburn, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 10-4, also Sunday 2-5pm. Great local walks, pubs and cafes

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