February/March 2014 - Vol. 72

Spring Forward - an Artist's Sampler by Ros Yates

Title:  Otters, London Wetland Centre  Sept 2012
Medium; watercolour
Size:  30 x 40 cm (approx)

Title;  Lapwings, London Wetland Centre  October 2013
Medium:   watercolour
Size:  40 x 40 cm

I try to escape from the London city noise and busy-ness  and regularly go to the London Wetland Centre, an area of lakes and reedbeds  and woodland in the loop of the River Thames, it is an oasis in the urban sprawl. The Wildfowl and Wetland Trust (WWT) has converted some old reservoirs and gravel pits into a haven for wildlife in the city. 

It is also an educational centre and these otters are in an enclosure where you can watch them freely. ( Wild otters are endangered in the UK)  They are just delightful and I had to spend a while sketching them and put the painting together at home from sketches and photographs.  Moving so fast, a sketch can mean as little as a curved line on the page, suggesting the arch of the back and tail. It is a real challenge to make them look as alert and lively as they really are. The Lapwings are a wading bird also often seen on British farmland. At least they sometimes stand still for a few seconds, unlike the otters. Peering down a telescope in a bird hide, I tried to capture their shapes and patterns so I could do the painting later. Photographs are useful for confirming details, but a photograph is a moment captured in the life of the subject. Life is so much more. I’m not sure I have succeeded, but my aim is to show the ‘life’ in the ‘wildlife’ and their environment. They are God’s gift  to us, entrusted to us to care for and manage well for future generations.

Otter sketches, London Wetland Centre

Return to > introduction [ image 1 ] [ image 2 ] [ image 3 ]
(c) copyright 2014  The Sword of the Spirit
publishing address: Park Royal Business Centre, 9-17 Park Royal Road, Suite 108, London NW10 7LQ, United Kingdom
email: living.bulwark@yahoo.com