Otterbahn  Here's a page of sketches from my recent stay in Seldovia, where I spent a couple of wonderful weeks as artist-in-residence. The school is very small (50 kids K-12) so I got to work with every student, every day.Great kids, great teachers, great staff, nice community… thanks, Seldovia!

One evening, I walked out the "Otterbahn" trail (constructed by a group of high school students in the 1990s, I think) to a small beach. As I settled down to sun and sketch, I heard harlequin ducks making agitated noises. The ducks huffed and squeaked, then finally took off just as a big otter rounded the point. He climbed ashore, shook himself off, and proceeded to entertain me for about twenty minutes, as this page attests.

Otter Skull

Otterskull Watched a river otter rollicking along the beach stones and it reminded me of a sketch page from last spring, when I had a good chance to look closely at a skull. One of the most interesting things about it was the very simply-shaped incisor teeth, when compared with those of a dog. Dogs' incisors are three-lobed and fairly robust, while river otters' are simple, straight, and almost delicate. I suppose otters don't do very much "dissection" nibbling of prey; they swallow a lot whole… but they do groom themselves, surely as much as dogs… Hmm…