Saturday, January 22, 2011

Going Old School with Old World Craftmanship

 This post is a post completely different from any post I have done.  For this one I have gone old school with a work of functional art and although there is a drawing of a fly - you need to look closely at the rod case to see it - my drawings or paintings are not the highlight of this post.  No, for this post I am mearly wetting your appetite for a taste of the old world way of doing things and for an additional feature of this blog.
I have always loved and felt a connection to the past.  Back to an time when if you needed something you made it yourself or found a chap that had the skills to make it for you.  Occasionally you might see some new products in the outhouse as you search for suitable toilet paper in the Sears catalogue but for the most part it was a small business driven society where people relied on themselves and their neighbors for the things they needed.
A while ago - while struggling to pop the top on my pvc rod tube - I decided that it was time to invest in some 'real' protection for my rods.  The only problem was that just didn't like the look of the cases I saw in the stores.  Most were metal or plastic tubes that offered ample protection but lacked the style I was looking for.  What I really wanted was something classic.
Then it hit me as I was fiddling in my garage with some woodworking project.  Why not make one out of wood?  I toyed with a few drawings of square boxes and hinged cases but found the style to restrictive and cumbersome.  Once again the tube came to mind and drawing on my long forgotten knowledge of geometry I sketched out a hexagon style rod case.  As with any good idea, I soon found that this hexagon style case was not new to the industry.  In fact there are a number of wood shops on the web that offer this style of case to us fly fisherman.  The only problem was that what they wanted for the case was not what I was willing to spend.

So, falling back on my love of the past and those men of ingenuity, I set to work constructing my very own case.  My first attempt was a pathetic attempt at the concept of a hexagon case but I consoled myself with the idea that it was a prototype and returned to the workbench hell bent on improving the design. 
Well after numerous attempts and a lengthy process of trial and error I final got a design I felt reflected my vision of what an old school fly rod case should look like.  My first customer was a friend of mine that had built two rods for me for virtually nothing.  As a thank you to him I gave him the above pictured case, complete with hand rubbed oil finish, leather handle, real wood inlay, and a magnetically fasten cap that fully seals the case.  Of course what case of mine would be complete without the addition of a wood burned fly decoration.

In the end, what I have come up with is a beautifully crafted piece of art that could easily be displayed in ones den.  Unlike the cold metal or cheap plastic tubes readily available at any mainstream manufacture, I believe these cases could comfortably sit alongside any old world decor and be a showpiece unto themselves.  Sturdy hard wood and solid construction should protect a rod for decades to come.  If that is enough to wet your appetite then great. 
I have gotten so much enjoyment out of making these cases that I have been looking at making and selling them in limited quantities at prices appropriate to the time used to construct them and below the rate seen on the Internet.  In the future you will more than likely see more posts on the subject.  As these cases become available I will post photos of the details and prices on these original hand crafted works of functional art.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Four Sketches Of Flies & The Sea Dog

 Spending a little time on the road doesn't really lend itself to bringing much of anything with you except the almighty pen.  I would love to be able to bring my paper and paints, my fishing gear, and fly tying equipment but that just isn't going to happen, so instead I settle for sketching on the road.  Besides, this week I spent some time in Maine and short of ice fishing - the trout season isn't going to be open till spring.
 These flies are just a few of some of the sketches I worked on the other day.  In their present inked form they may resemble many different types of flies but they actually are rendered from an English tying book and so the names might not be that familiar to you.    From top down they are: Greenwells Glory - a nice little winged wet fly short shanked hook, The Green Peter - another winged fly fished dry or wet that is very heavily hackled,
 The Moc's Cert - streamer fly with dark hair back and jungle cock 'eyes', and the frequently used and beloved Iron Blue Wingless - a type of wet fly that has been in nearly every tying book I have ever seen and simply a great, effective fly.

While on the road I also managed to stop by my favorite brew pub in the Northeast - The Sea Dog.  For those that have not heard of them you might have heard of their sister Brewery - Shipyard.  Great seafood - a selection of fine brews - and an atmosphere only a snowy Maine winter can provide.  If every you find yourself in Bangor Maine - or Portland I guess - I encourage you to stop by and have a pint.  I look forward to every visit I have there.  I recommend the East India stout or Windjammer Pale.  They also have a Blue Berry brew that has a select following but is not really to my liking but you might find it tasty.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Poaching To Supplement My Lack Of Stream Time

Bigerrfish Winter Trout
 I haven't been fishing lately mostly due to the fact that my Jeep has been out of commission but that hasn't kept me from thinking of fishing.  In order to fill that need for fish I have been turning to the bloggers to see how they have been fairing so far this year.  One of these is none other than the Bigerrfish - not a typo - It is spelled with two rr's.  Most all my followers are also his so you more than likely already know that he seems to out fish most others.  Its not the first time I've poached his blog in order to fill my creel and it more than likely wont be the last.

 Anyway - I was jonesin for some stories and fishing adventure and caught this pic of a beat up trout on the snow and his Ross Reel that hooked it. A not so long story short - I liked the look of it and took a few lazy hours on the weekend to whip out a quick painting of it. As time was running short I only had my cellphone camera to take some pics of not very good quality but I did manage to take a few progressive painting photos.  I am not happy with the colors that the cellphone camera pics up and i hope that in the next week I might be able to get a better representation of what the painting actually looks like.  For now Its all I got and as such, Its all you get.  My apologies.

 Some of you might also remember that Josh and I teamed up this past summer for a few joint posts of the flies we fish.  I have never met the guy on the river but I am hoping that sometime this year I might take him up on his offer to guide me around his rivers.  If you haven't had the opportunity to view his blog, check it out.
A quick note on my trout chasing Jeep - I am told that It will soon be finished and back on the road.  I CAN'T WAIT!!!!  I Need To Go Fishing.  Granted that the nasty weather in the south recently would have curbed my fishing anyway but it not having transportation or the option to hit the stream when the mood hits me has been hard to take.  So I am hoping to have a few good posts on fishing - with actual fish and not paintings - by the end of the month.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

New Print Available

Steelhead And Egg Sucking Fly
 Just a quick post today to let you know that the "Steelhead And Egg Sucking Fly" painting is now available on the BUY A FISH PRINT page.  Available as an 8x10 or 5x7 and framed with acid free mats, these prints are shipped to you ready to be framed in any standard 10x14 or 8x10 store bought frame.  Please use the PAY PAL buttons at tthe bottom of the page and include the name of the print you desire to purchase in the purchasing comments section of the paypal purchase.
This painting is also available for purchase at this time.  Please Email me for purchasing information.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Steelhead, And Snow In The South.

So keep in mind that these photos are taken with my cell phone camera so the quality just is not what it could be for color and clarity but you get the idea.  While I have spent the last few days at home trying to recover from a cavalcade of illness, I just couldn't bring myself to paint.  I actual couldn't bring myself to do much of anything except go to the doc and get meds which is why I now feel good enough to toss some paint around.
For those of you that don't know I live in SC and the massive storm that hit the region on  Monday morning did a number on the state.  For instance, I have not had mail in two days.  I guess the old postman's oath no-longer applies....  Anyway, as I sit with my sniffling nose and massive headache staring out the window at the 6-7 inches of snow and ice covering my yard, I think about ....what else, Fishing!  And the perfect fish to hunt on a winter day, the Steelhead.
Here is a rendition of a steelhead with a egg sucking pattern in his lip.

I did this while watching my kids play a bit of WII on this second snow day in a row so I failed to remember to get a few more 'work in action' photos.  My apologies

As always, this painting is done on the highest quality acid free  paper with top quality, light resistant paints.  It measures about 10x8 inches and is available for purchase.  Please Email me for questions you might have  regarding this piece.
 Hopefully in the coming days I can get some quality scans of this painting and have prints available.  As soon as I make them available I will do another post.

So to give you a bit more info on how the south reacts to a winter storm that those in the west would barely blink at, let me tell you about my trip to the doctors office yesterday.  My wife was gracious enough to call around to all the urgent care facilities near me since my family doc was closed.  After a lengthy search she fond one and asked if I needed an appointment.  Short answer was 'There ain't no body here so come on over'.  It was great to go to a doctors office and not have to wait in line.
Being originally from a northern state frequented by bad weather, I hoped into my wife's van, (my jeep is still being worked on) and headed out.  literaly three cars were on the road and on the drive through town I didn't see any businesses open but walmart a random gas station and my doctors office.  after a short visit and being informed I also had an ear infection, (Great!) I headed over to the only other business that was open, Target.  I was one of two cars in the parking lot at 2:30 in the afternoon.  Crazy! 
Hopefully the sun will peek out from behind the clouds in the next few days and get life around hear back to normal.  My wife informs me that the kids school is canceled again tomorrow but I'm not complaining about that.  I can always use more time trying to outplay them on the WII.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Pear Tag Via Fly&Fin

Another favorite blog of mine Fly & Fin posted this fly the other day and inspired me to toss a bit of paint to paper.   A Peal Tag Caddis........ What? you want the recipe?  Not Here visit his site to get it.
Not much more to post today, Enjoy..

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Tarpon Study Gone Wrong..and A Fly

 After a brief hiatus from the daily posts of 2010, I decided to pick up a brush again splash a bit of paint around in a study of a larger work I have had in mind for a few days.  It didn't turn out exactly the way I had planned but that is why I do a small work before beginning a larger one.  This one is a 10x14 watercolor.  My original purpose was to layer the fisherman over the Tarpon and give the work a collage type look.  What it looks like now is a monster fish and two Lilliputian anglers about to bet smashed. 
  What can I learn from messing this work up?  1.  I should have done pencil sketches first too set this up.  I opted not to this because I believed I had the perfect setup in mind.  Sometimes whats in the mind doesn't always translate to paper.  2. I should have used less watercolor.  The complete saturation of pigments on this work muddies the whole composition.  I should have kept the whites white.
   Oh well, Its all a learning process and at least its something to post so there you go.

 I had original planned on going fishing at the beginning of the month but unfortunately my Jeep is in the shop (actually my buddies garage) getting a complete coolant system replacement and a few extra stuff.  What I had thought was a small leak in the radiator turned out to be multiple leaks which now can only be cleaned up by replacing the entire system, taking the engine head off for cleaning and repair.  I am hoping to have my trout chasing jeep back by the end of the month but until then my fishing is curbed.  Thank goodness for friend with skills because with out his help this would have seriously killed my fishing budget.  It already is going to cost a load in parts but I cant imagine what a shop would charge. 
(Beside paying him for his time, dispite his protest, he is also getting a nice bottle of whiskey)
  Since my jeep is out of commission, I spent the last couple of days working on setting up my studio / fly tying bench / office.  It really is little more than a closet in the garage but it does have a enough room for my painting and fly tying. 

I also thought I would add this little fly I inked out last year but never posted.  I really enjoyed drawing flies with or without the color.  Each style has its own qualities and although the watercolored flies reflect the colors of the actual fly, the inked flies show a detail I find hard to duplicate with watercolor.