Ever see those big vintage advertising signs painted on the side of old businesses and think, 'that is pretty cool'? Well so did I and after toying around with the idea in my mind for a while I came up with this new watercolor.
Based on a vintage Salmon cannery logo, I painted this brick by brick, adding in little details in every single stone. I took special care to add in the rust of age on various steel and metal parts that had been added to the building through the years.
I wanted to keep the salmon basic on this piece as it would have been on any hand done sign painted on the side of a building. The varied colors of brick made for an interesting look and I am eager to get started on the next painting in this style.
'Brick and Mortar Salmon' 18 in. X 12 in. Watercolor On Paper For Sale
Not a normal painting for me but I thoughts I'd branch out and try something a little new.
Saltwater reef fish are beautiful creatures and are often the subjects of artists as well as interesting species in any home or office aquarium. I was lucky enough to make it down to Mexico last month and do a little snorkeling along one of the many reef structures and was blown away by their beauty which is probably why I chose to paint one.
This particular species is one of the many types of angel fish that roam the reef. For the fresh water anglers out there you might find a striking resemblance to our own bluegills and sunfish.
For fathers day I had the special privilege of rendering a record catch for one father from his sons. Caught in a North Carolina stream, this beautiful rainbow was an exciting experience for this angler and his sons wanted to surprise their dad with a wall hanger to remember it.
It had been a while since I picked up the paints so I was eager to get started on this piece. Painting fish not only fills me with joy it also serves to scratch my creative itch while keeping my love of fly fishing alive. I also get great joy out of seeing my work so appreciated by the people that receive it.
I was told by John that his father absolutely loved the surprise and just couldn't stop staring at it after he received it. His smile was permanently set for a long time after the unveiling and it makes me just as happy to contribute to the joy he felt.
For this piece we added to the framing of the painting the actual fly he used to hook the trout that day which only adds to the special nature of this memory.
Its time for a little self promotion. I am told I need to do this a little more to get my art out there but the truth is it just kinda makes me feel like a vacuum sales man.
Anyhow - www.hexfishing.com - my art website has finally been updated to include some of the newer paintings I have done as well as some not previously up for sale. Some of these have made it to this blog and some quite simply have slipped through the cracks. Whether you plan on buying or just like to view paintings of trout, I hope you click on over and see my works Below are just a sampling of some of the paintings now available at unbelievably cheap prices for ORIGINAL artwork. I have also been asked 'why are they so cheap?' and the answer is simple - I enjoy painting them and frankly I cant have hundreds of my paintings just hanging around on shelves in my studio. I would much rather put them in the hands of fellow anglers that can appreciate them.
Check it out and share it with your friends.
I passed through Knoxville a little while ago and came across a few examples of some old school art on southern money. For all those out there complaining that there has never been a woman on our paper currency, (Sacagawea has her own dollar coin in case you forgot) I say look to the past and look to the south. The Ocoee Bank Of Tennessee not only placed a southern bell on their $10 note, they also included a Native American and an African American (and two horses). I'm not a big fan of removing key founding fathers from our national currency in the name of political correctness (anyone who knows me knows P.C. is a not my forte anyhow) but if we ever issue a new denomination, I am fine with a deviation from the norm. I nominate Sitting Bull for a new $25 note, Betsy Ross for the $75 note and, G.W. Carver for the $150 bill. Who's with me? How cool would a $25 bill be?
Nothing much to say about this one other than it has already been spoken for before it made it here. It was a practice piece just to keep me involved with the color flow and to practice my watercolor skills.
This one was just a simple sketch done a few moments before the marbles. I did this in a rough style and under five minutes just to get my mind going.
Yes, none of this has to do with fish but its what I have been up to so I thought I would share it with you.
I have been experimenting with dots lately and got inspired to do a little bit of dot sketching outside my usual fish subjects. A recent client of mine asked if I have done any birds in watercolor and I immediately thought back to the Pheasant and the California Quail I did a few years ago. Of course I have also done various song birds and even a few mallard ducks (which currently hang in my hallway) but they are still a bit different than my favorite subject - the trout.
That being said, birds offer another layer to my art that a trout just can't. They also contribute to the scope of what I consider myself to be - a sporting / outdoor / nature artist.
The butterfly was done a few months ago and also falls into the category of my love of nature. For many people, the butterfly is about the only beautiful insect out there but as a fly fisherman, I see striking similarities between the butterfly and the mayfly. I venture to guess that most people have never looked past the wings of a butterfly to see the insect body holding it all together.
Both these illustrations are for sale, just shoot me an email.
I have not added material to this blog in far to long. I also have not put paint to paper in even longer. Both are crimes quite unforgivable in the blogger world. That said, This is a short and sweet post.
With any luck this will be a precursor to my return to posting. Hopefully I can also get a better photo of the finished piece soon.
How diverse is your Caddis pattern box? Does it just have a few elk hairs or is it stacked with a wide range of flies of all colors and material? Well if it doesn't have a wide range of different patterns and sizes of these abundant flies then you could be missing out on even more fish.
The truth is that Caddis flies populate the earth with more than 12,000 known species providing an abundant food resource for trout and other smaller fish. The adult form of this varied species resembles more of a moth but has fine hairs that coat their wings instead of the scales. Like moths, not all caddis flies are made the same. They range in size, shape, and color and for trout fishing it matters.
A few years ago I met fished with a buddy that had come down to fish trout in the hidden streams of the southeast. We stumbled across this beautiful,yet small, bend in the river with rises all through the edge of a deep pool. We took turns casting into the bend with a dry elkhair caddis, both the same size and shape but mine was just a slightly darker clay color than his. The difference was almost undetectable but to the fish it made all the difference. One after another I hooked up while he struggled to get a second look. Our casts were identical, his presentation flawless, but it was color that made the difference.
A few years later he got his revenge when he out fished me on his home waters of the Driftless waters in Southern Wisconsin but that event solidified in mind that a varied caddis box was essential if I was to have a successful dry fly outing.
This winter I spent a good amount of time organizing and restocking a dedicated Caddis box with as many examples of caddis patterns as I could tie. Deer hair in various colors, caribou hair (a favorite natural looking sedge wing material), and a few colors of elk hair all are important in a diverse caddis box.
If you are worried that your caddis tying is lacking in quality, I can offer this advice; Don't. Through years of fishing them I have discovered that the rougher they look the better the trout like them. Color and size seem to be more important to the fish than the exactness of a well stacked elk hair. I seldom buy my flies anymore but when I do come across a store bough caddis I rub it in the mud and rough it up before I fish it. If you doubt the sense in this than I point you to the fly itself. There is nothing pretty about a caddis struggling in the water film. To put it another way, if a mayfly is the Porsche 911 of dry flies then the Caddis is the Ford Escort. It may not be the best looking thing in your box but it will reliably get you form point A to point B.
And don't forget to tie up a number of good larvae patterns to compliment the dry fly. Caddis flies also make excellent strike indicators for fish feeding on the larvae of these, and other underwater insects.
The other day my little girls asked if I could sketch a butterfly for her so I got out the pad and started inking out a monarch using nothing but ink dots. Its a technique called stippling and I had only dabbled in using it in the past. It had always struck me that, although beautiful in the end, it was tedious and time consuming form of illustration. For this subject I decided it was more of a challenge so I dove in head first and started to dot up the paper like a manic telegraph operator.
Not a bad way to ease myself back into an artistic mindset especially after such a long absence.
Of course I have to ask, Does anyone have proof that Trout eat butterflies? I am sure it happens but I'd love to see any fly patterns people have used successfully.