HOT OTTER LOVE ACRYLICS ON POPLAR W/ RED OAK FRAME (SPRING 2012)
Leigh and I met in the summer of 1976 at Cape Alava on the Pacific coast of Washington state. We both were working at Washington State University’s Ozette Archaeological Project at the time, and fell deeply in love. As they say, “the rest is history.” The act of falling in love is an amazing experience for anyone who has had the opportunity to do so. The senses are heightened to their max, reality and reason are set aside, and the world takes on a magical and even spiritual glow. I believe that true love is the joining of souls and on a special day in 1976, this joining happened to us. We had just hiked north from the archeological site to the Ozette River and were resting on a rise above a bend in the river. The weather was beautiful (at least in my mind, if not in reality), and the conifers surrounding us, along with the slowly flowing river, made a peaceful spot to talk and to laugh and to fall in love. Just then, from around the bend of the river, we spotted two river otters swimming up river. Maybe they too were having a special day like us. However, when they saw us, they began to verbally give us a tongue-lashing, as if we had violated their special spot. We laughed at their “fussing” and were amazed at their close proximity to us, enjoying their beautiful addition to our scene. Since that day, river otters have had a special meaning to the both of us. I have wanted to paint otters for a long time but have been afraid of not doing justice to it. I did a preliminary sketch back in December of last year but began to make my working design in early March, 2012. It’s hard to say what particular things influenced my design but it shows the contributions from both Native Northwest Coast 2-dimensional art tradition and from Celtic art forms. In the Arts & Crafts tradition, I made the frame out of red oak using pegged, hand-joined, mortise-and-tenon construction methods. I used the Japanese technique (shou-sugi-ban) of charring and oiling the oak to finish the frame.