Otterly fun

I haven’t painted an otter for quite some time, so it was the day to rectify this oversight.

I wanted to do something a little different from before and decided an otter sticking his head round a rock to see what’s going on, would be a fun composition. The palette of colours were left over from the greyhound painting and I don’t like to waste paint!

I did a thumbnail sketch, as I was working from a number of sources and putting them together. I then sketched it on to a prepared canvas.

I have been teaching negative painting during the week, so perhaps that is why I decided to paint the foreground in this way. I splattered with some masking fluid (the yellow dots), as those would be drops of water on his whiskers. My masking fluid was disgusting, so the pot was chucked once I had used the end drips.


Starting with the lovely button eyes, I established the shadow side of the otter.


I then threw caution to the wind and did a rather scary background. I thought my backgrounds had been rather bland of late. I also used clingfilm to get the coat’s texture and just for good measure used the edge of a big brush to work on the foreground.


At this point I thought I had utterly ruined it. The trouble is watercolour dries so much lighter – up to 50% on canvas. So with the otter dry and the background wet, the balance was hideous. Added to half of it being literally under wraps, I was not a happy-chappy.

Anyway, at this point it was bed time (I have a stinking cold), so I hoped the little elves would work a miracle over night….

Next morning, I lifted the clingfilm, rubbed off the masking and assessed. I added a stripe of wash across the eye area – just seemed to need it and then had whiskery fun. Oh and darkened those eyes.


Once he is truly dry, I will seal and varnish, but for now, I rather like him. I might sleep on it and consider lightening the background above his head – what do you reckon?


About lizintheshed

Watercolour artist and copywriter, living and working in the Thames Valley.
This entry was posted in animal portraits, Art, canvas, how to, step by step, Techniques and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Otterly fun

  1. lesliepaints says:

    I really like how he appears from that background, Liz! Beautiful!

  2. lizintheshed says:

    Thank you. That was what I was aiming for. I took him into one of my galleries and the assistant did ask if he was a ferret!! I had a little explanation about river and sea otters, but I am constantly surprised by how little people know about wildlife! I decided to laugh rather than be offended….. Ho, Ho, Ho….

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s