Friday, December 16, 2011

Angling, Art, & Passion

I recently finished yet another trout watercolor, this one as you can see is titled "Rainbow Trout On Blue".  I have done so many trout paintings over the last few years that it is getting a little difficult to simply title a piece by the fish that is in it.
One might think that I am getting sick of painting the same trout over and over again, but actually I think of it much in the same way an angler views catching the same fish over and over again.  To me each painting is a separate piece.  Its a chance to expand ones knowledge about the subject.  A chance to improve on technique and form, much the same as each fish is an individual and each trip to catch them is a chance to become a better angler.  The more I do it, the better the end result and the more passionate I become.
I believe every angler comes to a point where they make a choice; Do I become passionate about the sport I love or do I treat it like a trip to the zoo (meaning do I do it just because its entertainment and a good way to pass the time)?  Don't get me wrong I love the zoo, mostly because my kids love it, but I do enjoy it, I am just not passionate about it.
Fly fishing (and my associated art) on the other hand, as my wife can attest, now that is something I have become passionate about. Whether one makes this decision consciously or buries it deep under layers of wool and neoprene each time he hits the water, each angler will come to a point where he decides which river to take.

Many choose to stay on that smooth stretch or water that produces good, average trout time and time again and they treat each trip as just a good chance to get away.  They never push the boundaries or explore new water, and rarely will they tie on anything not featured in the latest Orvis catalog (Also don't get me wrong, I love Orvis and all they offer and will gladly help them endorse any free merchandise they choose to send me;-)

The second set of anglers take that small tributary that leads to undiscovered water.  They eat cobwebs on their trek through brush, skin knees and rip waders, and they will often forgo lunch just to get that extra fifteen minutes of time on the water.  They fish long after it is sane to do so and often miss judge just how far up river they have traveled until that very last moment when they pry themselves from the water only to find that what they thought was going to be a fifteen minute hike back to the car turns out to be a hike covering the better part of an hour and a two thousand foot elevation change.

For my part, I am obsessed with being on time, in fact most times I am eager to be early.  Whether its work, church, parties, the movies, or doctors appointments (though I'm not sure why because the doctor never seems to be on time.) I am always early.  I hate to be late.  But when it comes to fishing, my duty to on time performance somehow escapes me.  My loving wife, as I am sure many a wife of an obsessed angler can attest, knows to tack on another hour or two to the time I say I'll be home if I'm out fishing.  I don't do it consciously, its just that when I'm hunting trout in the mountains, I loose track of all else.  I am obsessed.
My devotion to my art is beginning to be that way as well.  Over the years of practice and failure intermixed with some successes, my art has evolved into something I care about.  I look at my past paintings and judge them with a new eye and view each new work more critically.  I am okay with direction it is taking me and the progress I am making though I'm not sure where it is taking me.  In the end I know that I will never reach the level of a A.D Maddox or Derick DeYong (no relation) , Bob White, Andrew Wyeth, or  Winsolw Homer (Homer was my first inspiration to do watercolor), but its that striving to do better and that passion to be better that keeps me going.
The painting above is titled:
"Rainbow Trout On Blue"
Watercolor on Paper
13" x 8"
Prints and original for sale

Also don't forget about the special Christmas Deal for Four Rare Trout Prints.  You can find this deal at the top of the page.  Hurry before Christmas is here and the deal fades away.
I have also added one more page of prints from recent paintings that you can purchase.  Check out some of my newer stuff HERE.


TexWisGirl said...

your art is magnificent. that rainbow is gorgeous. i always enjoy seeing what you come up with next! enjoyed your post today!

Brk Trt said...

Joel your killing me.
That Rainbow looks like it just came out of the water.
That rainbow has to be one of your 5 best.

Todd said...


Jim Yaussy Albright said...

Good thoughts. I don't know if you'll ever be as "good" as Winslow Homer,whatever that might mean. He was him, and you are you. And you're damn good. And I bet he was simply doing what you expressed so well in this piece. (Wonder who he thought he might never be as good as?) Beautiful painting!

cofisher said...

I agree with brk trt! You keep outdoing yourself and I love it.

Sanders said...

Beautiful rainbow! It's always fun to see the next painting...well done sir!

Anonymous said...

Your rainbow is a amazing, the colors just jump out at you! Keep the art flowing!