Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Streamline Design

Just a few simple designs for your humpday.  Sketched this out during a very long (10hr) and unexpected stay (Thankyou winter) in an airport terminal.  I think the black would make a great design for a sweatshirt.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Two Rainbow Trout Paintings

Over a decade ago I moved to South Carolina and I took up hiking the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains.  Fishing wasn't a high priority ant the time and fly fishing was a complete unknown.  On these hikes I frequently found myself crossing the countless freestone streams that cascaded through ancient valleys and catching brief glimpses of active native trout. It was on one of these hikes that I ran across a fly fisherman casting to stream raised trout. Miles from a road and framed with the fragrantly green magnolias so common in the south, the angler made the picture of a classic American sportsman. He was straight out of a Winslow Homer watercolor: An Adirondack fisherman quietly alone communing with nature and casting to elusive rises. The poetic naturalist, H. D. Thoreau couldn't have placed words together to match the beauty of that moment for me.
 I watched him from a distance until he coxed a trout to take a dry fly then stealthily returned to my hike. He didn't realize it, but in that quiet moment that idyllic angler hooked two creatures with that one cast. The next week I bought myself a cheap rod and reel setup and began my adventure in fly fishing. It wasn't long after that I began painting the fish I brought to hand and the rest has led me to this.
Simply put I cant get the fish off my mind.  I tie flies to catch them, comb over the internet for gear to cast to them, I read about them, paint them, and have a blog and website dedicated to them.  A psychiatrist might classify it as a sickness and they'd be right but its still better than the other afflictions out there.  
For all you fellow sickos out there I worked up a two completely different trout this morning.  Both are watercolor and ink paintings on smooth acid free Bristol paper and measure 14x11 in.
Rainbow #1 (12/13)
First is the classic sketch of a rainbow trout on a drab brown background.  A simple illustration of a trout in full breading colors.
Rainbow #2 (12/13)
The next is yet another rainbow sketch with a bit of artistic liberty thrown into the mix.  Two completely different styles of illustration of essentially the same trout.  Love them or hate them, they are the product of a trout infused diseased mind.  Enjoy.
Both Paintings Are For Sale

Friday, December 6, 2013

Trout In The Mist

   I finally got a chance to drive up the mountain and do a little more trout fishing on the Chattooga river the other day.  It has been too long since my last outing and I was eager to get out so after dropping the kids off at school, I set the cruise, grabbed a coffee, and headed out.
   Some of you might remember that my artwork is now being sold as the Chattooga River Flyshop in the town of Mountain Rest South Carolina.  Well, in less than a week after being displayed in their shop they sold four of my paintings.  Never one to miss an opportunity, I used my trip to pick up the check to also get in some much needed fishing.  I also dropped off four more paintings to fill the holes left on their walls.

Abel Fly Reel  
    Karen and Karl, owner operators of the Chattooga River Flyshop, are two of the most genuine people I have done business with.  It is a real encouragement to an artist to have their work welcomed into a store but when I watch them admire my paintings, it really makes me want to paint more.
   I encourage any of you that ever find yourself fishing in Northern Georgia or South Carolina to hit up the small fly shop in Mountain rest.  Not only will you get to see a few of my paintings in person, but you will also be blessed with good deals and local fishing knowledge.

   Now onto the fishing.  After the stop at the flyshop I rushed over to the river to get a few gills on my line.  I was met with a full parking lot and a dense fog rolling through the valley.  Perfect fishing weather.

   Right out of the box I hooked into a large shouldered brook trout right from the fish hatchery.  For a stocky it was a pretty good fighter, even giving a few good leaps before giving up the fight and allowing me to bring it in.  The thing about stockies for me is always the color.  Give a stocky a few months to slim down and recover in the cool clean river and they will regain some of that vibrant colors but right from the hatchery they all look rather dull.  that being said, it doesn't take much from the fun of catching them even if the photos aren't that stunning.

  For this trip I once again strung up the Fall River Bamboo and Abel Fly Reel.  Fishing this combo has been rewarding and fantastic setup. The two were made for each other in terms of weight and performance but when you admire them from an artistic point of view, the combination is fantastic.  Add a rolling fog into a valley greened up my a falling mist, a few hold over rainbows that were as bright as a painting and you have a scene that deserved to be filmed for the next Fly Fishing Film Festival.
  Of course there were some some stocky rainbows to hook into but the trip was food for the soul.  I headed home with a smile on my face, a few more bucks in my wallet from selling a few paintings, and ready to tackle the rest of the week.

  And as an added bonus, before I got into my driveway, I got an email from the Chattooga River Flyshop that yet another painting sold.  Looks like I have another excuse to go do a little fishing.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Suspended Bloodworm - Red Midge

    The Red Midge is a massive food source for the fish we love to go after.  Easily identifiable by their bright blood red color these wonderful little larva may grow up into a pest that leave itchy welts on determined fishermen but in the worm stage these midges are simply awesome to fish with.
    While researching this painting I was reminded just how innovative fly fishermen are with the shear scope of patterns that have been developed to imitate these little bugs.  I have no doubt that all the patterns posted on the web and in books can fool a fish into taking this midge.  There are roughly over 1000 different types of Chironomidea throughout the world and since I don't think fish really care which species they eat I expect that they simply eat the ones they see floating by.  But if that is the case, why don't I hook into fish every time I fish them?
    I believe it has to do with the recognition of species to a specific stream.  In short, what works on a Maine stream might not work on a Utah river even if both water systems are choked with the blood worms.  That being said I am also convinced that there are a few patterns out there that work no mater what.  So I ask you - what patterns are the most effective for you?  And a follow up - do you commonly use them?

    Now about the painting.  I again went to the canvas on this painting with the objective of gaining experience in the medium.  Determined to paint a Bloodworm I was faced with choosing the right worm to paint.  Painting just a simple red line on the the canvas just didn't seem exciting enough so I choose to go with the suspended worm.
   Imitating a struggling worm as it attempts to break the surface of the water, the suspended worm is a popular choice among anglers.  Not only do fish see a struggling worm as a prime feeding opportunity, the white foam ball near the head of the fly allows a keen angler the ability to track the midge in smooth water.
  With the subject selected I then decided to make it really pop off the canvas with a background that would showcase the white foam ball of this iconic fly.  You might not be able to truly see it in the photographs but the background is a mix of dark reds, blues, and blacks.
 Unfortunately I am discovering that photographing the final work is almost more difficult that doing the painting.  The soft gloss effect of the paints coupled with the texture of the canvas and paints make photographing the true colors of the work near impossible.

The Suspended Bloodworm
Acrylic On Canvas
For Sale

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Mayfly - Acrylic On Canvas

  Its a subject that only fly fishermen and entomologists get excited about.  In fact, if one would ask the normal human being if they would ever consider hanging this painting in their house the answer would undoubtedly be no but the those select few, the Mayfly is a thing beauty.
   They mayfly constitutes a bulk food group for the trout of not only North America, but the world at large and it is for that reason that we anglers love that odd little bug.  We read about it, study the different species, take time away from fishing to look for them, and have more than one photo of them in our archives.  The flies we tie and fish with emulate the wide range of species in our streams and we constantly search for new and more effective patterns that might deceive the mayflies primary enemy.  So, yeah, We love these little bugs.
    It is for that reason that I decided to sit down the day before Thanksgiving and paint a representation of the mayfly.  My wife may not get it but I am sure a lot of you out there will.

    Having recently completed a Tiger Trout painting using acrylics on canvas I thought I'd give it another go.  Using a very sparse palette of browns, yellows, oranges, and white I chose to use as little definition on the background as possible and focus instead on painting the mayfly.  I then went back and highlighted the areas I needed to with whites and blacks.  In the end its a painting that could easily hang over any fly fishermans tying desk.

Happy Thanksgiving Everybody !!

Acrylic On Canvas
For Sale

Monday, November 25, 2013

Tiger Trout Painting

  Sometimes you need to escape your comfort zone to achieve something special and I think I did just that with this painting.  As most of you know, I am primarily a watercolor artist and am really comfortable with that medium.  I have done a few oils and acrylics before but have never got a good feel for it  On this one however, I thought I'd give it another shot.
    Like most anglers that are in tune with the world of fish artwork, certain artists names are easily recognizable and heavily sought after.  If you like salt water fish then Guy Harvey is your guy but if you like fly fishing for the American fresh water species then the biggest name out there has got to be Derek DeYoung.  Other great artists also come to mind but the real hot ticket for trout artwork has got to be Derek.  His stuff is on everything from beer glasses, to flasks, fly boxes, tee shirts, and even drift boats.  If you have been to a fly shop in the last five years then you have seen his work and all of it is brilliant.
    Well, as you can tell, I am a big fan of his work.  My watercolor style may be completely different than his oils and acrylics but it hasn't dampened my desire to try my hand at a style of painting trout that he has made famous.  This artistic representation of a Tiger Trout is an acrylic on canvas and giving credit were credit is due I would feel like a real dolt if I didn't directly attribute this style of painting to Derek.  Of course the subject and design is still all me.

  Anyway, enough hero worship.  I painted this just to see if I could and I think I did it justice.

     So what is a Tiger Trout you ask.  Its a freak of nature.  A sterile cross between a Brown Trout and a Brook Trout, it is one of the few instances in the world where two groups can interbreed to produce offspring.  It is only possible through a rare (or laboratory controlled) heat shock to streams where spawning Brown and Brook trout live.  The dramatic change in weather allows the Brook Trout (with 84 chromosomes) fertilize Brown Trout (only 80 chromosomes) eggs and produce the distinctive Tiger Trout.
    Known for their aggressive appetite for eating other fish, the tiger has been used by stream managers to control populations of invasive fish and since it is sterile there is no danger of mixing them into the native population.  Eventually they will die off and the stream can return to normal.

"The Tiger"
16in X 20in.
Acrylic on Canvas
(and wife says its going into the living room, soooo Its not for sale) 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Weekend Flies & Much More

Orange Brookie Killer
 Its been far to long since my last fishy post but it is not because I have nothing to share.  Quite the opposite - I have had a deluge of stuff to share but due to life I have not had the time to sit down and put it all down.  So I am glad to finally have a moment to sit down and catch up with this hobby thing.  But first I wanted to talk flies.
  For some of you out there you might actually recognize the simple ( and poorly tied) fly that leads this post.  I don't know if it has an actual name but for me I call it the "Brookie Killer".  Tied with a #16 - #20 Dry fly hook, Orange dubbing, orange thread, and a little grizzly hackle wrapped around its length, this easy fly is deadly for small stream brookies.  The most interesting thing about this fly is just how species specific this fly actually is.  All other fish seem to ignore it completely but the Brook Trout will hunt it down with reckless abandon.  It is a definite go-to fly on any brook tout stream.
  Next up is yet another three ingredient fly.  The Peacock Herl Dry may not be the most glamorous gal at the ball (or in the box) but it will lure a few trout to take her out. More of an all around killer in the winter months, this Peacock Hurl dry will never fail when trout are rising on those warmer winter afternoons.  Best if tied small, I choose a #16 or smaller hook, then wrap three Herls forward followed by a little grizzly hackle.  Tied with black thread this simple fly is simple and deadly.
  Quite often the three ingredient flies are overlooked by anglers and it is for that reason I feel the need to promote them as much as possible.  I am also a pathetic fly tyer but you can probably tell that.

    Next up is a little creation that probable wont catch a darn thing but I got this new fur substitute and thought I would play around with it.  With a #12 nymph hook, black thread, red wire, a tuff of synthetic bear fur, and some Magic Stretch to cover the body this fly will probably look better in a salty environment than my rivers and ponds.  Next time I'm at the pond though I will be sure to give it a whirl.  Until it hooks a fish I am holding off naming it. There are far to many flies out there with fancy names that never catch a fish and I refuse to contribute to that list until it produces.
As for the other stuff, you might remember the odd looking $8 lounge chair I whipped up a few weeks ago.  Well one can not just have one fireside chair so with a little more homemade engineering I decided to improve the design and whip up another.  It is a little beefier and architecturally pleasing to the eye but still remains under the $15 goal.  They are bound to get a lot of use year round because unless it is raining we are a family that loves the outdoors.
And since this is an art and fishing blog I thought I'd share a little painting I did quite a while ago.  I ran across this little bird while cleaning out my studio and had completely forgotten about it.  It was just one of those little paintings I did back in 2008 while on the road prior to launching this web thing.  Relatively small in size, the watercolor is only 3.5 inches by 2.5 inches.
Unfortunately if any of you had a mind to buy it from me I will now refer you to my grandmother-inlaw.  You are going to have to go through her to get it.  I suspect she would sell it for the right price (everything has a price) but you better bring your big boy wallet because it might be steep :-).

Thursday, November 21, 2013

My Grandfather

    After a long absence from this hobby thing, I wanted to share a bit about my Grandfather.  The belt you see here is a hand crafted piece of work done by my grandfather nearly 40 years ago.  Part of the reason I have not posted anything recently was because my beloved grandfather passed away last week.  Buried with full military honors - complete with gun salute, and taps - my grandfather was a veteran of World War 2.  At the age of 17 he joined up and served in the Pacific.  He also was an almond and walnut farmer in the central California valley, a carpenter, and a dedicated fisherman.  He was a God fearing dedicated family man that raised a large family with my grandmother on a farm that dated back to the turn on the last century.
  When I was a little snot, I remember watching as he helped my father build our first house in the mountains of California.  He was a tireless worker at everything he put his mind to doing and worked every day to provide a solid home for his family
  Before I was born he was working on framing up a house and took a spill from a second story roof and busted nearly all his bones in his hand.  As part of his rehab he made this belt.  Some of my fondest memories of him were us on Lake Don Pedro and Pinecrest Lake in hills Central California as we trolled for large lake trout.  Using lures that he hand crafted and cut from copper pipes he had shaped into deadly effective spoons, we would troll around all day till the limit had been reached and then head back to do the cleaning.
   Needless to say, I was extremely honored to be given his belt.  I cant think of a better way to remember my grandfather than with a piece of his artwork he used.  It is something I can tell my children about and it is a great way to remember a life well lived.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Fish On Friday News

  Its Friday again and yet another week gone by of cool fall days and dwindling fishing opportunities.  Luckily for me I was able to get out twice this week.  A few days ago my son and I hit the local pond where we were able to hook into quite a few small aggressive bass.  It was a blast for him and probably even more so for me.  Nothing can beat the sight of an excited kid reeling a good fish.
  Yesterday I had yet another fishing opportunity as I made a business trip up to the Chattooga River Fly Shop in  Mountain Rest SC - but more on that later.  After my meeting I hit the Ellicott Rock Wilderness for a little fishing with the bamboo fly rod and Abel Reel.  As always the area was stunning in its beauty.  The fall colors were in full blown brilliance and despite the amount of leaves and needles in the stream, I managed to hook into a few trout.
 The water was so clear that it was fun to see the slow rises of hungry trout even if it made me focus my casts and provide them with the perfect presentation while still trying to aim for the random spots of water devoid of fall foliage.  Truly a challenge.

  Now for some exciting news slightly related to fly fishing but I feel the need to share it with you anyways.  Yesterday I was invited up to the Chattooga River Fly Shop by the owners Karl and Karen.  I'll save you the details of the meeting and simply say that if you are interested in my art, there is now a physical place where you can see it in the flesh.  The Chattooga River Fly Shop currently has approximately 20+ original pieces of my art now on display and for sale.
  For those of you that have never been to the fly shop in Mountain Rest SC let me just tell you that it is just the kind of place you picture in your minds eye as the perfect fly shop - complete with the aged pooch lazing around in the corner as the owner is busy at work tying up flies for a future guide trip.  Idyllic to say the least and just the right environment for my style of artwork.
  The plans they have to expand the upstairs into an artisan space full of local artist seems like the perfect marriage. Needless to say, I am looking forward to our partnership.
  If you find yourself on the road from Atlanta north or fishing the world famous Chattooga River (that right - the river featured on the movie Deliverance)  I encourage you to hit up Mountain Rest and visit the Chattooga River Fly shop.  And as always, my artwork is still available at

  On one final note updating a previous post.  I finally finished the simple chair I had been working on this week.  After a great color of stain and weatherproofing this chair is looking good enough to be in any rustic chic boutique.  I am sure to enjoy quite a few nights relaxing by the fire pit in this baby.  That is if I can beat my wife to it..... come to think of it, I better make another.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Fishing With The Boy & Constructing A Cheap Sun Chair

  I took to the pond yesterday with my boy for a little bass fishing.  With a chilly wind and a bright sun high in the sky doing a decent job of heating the afternoon water, we were able to hook into a few small bass in the short time we flicked out some flies.
    Despite having a minor mishap with a thistle in the palm of his hand, the little guy did a good job of reeling in two active fish with my MRC large arbor reel and #8w fly reel.  He hasn't got the hang of casting the big rod yet so I helped out a little bit by hooking fish but he quickly took over and enjoyed the fight to bring it in.
    He was also a bit nervous about sticking his thumb in the fishes mouth but after a bit of schooling in how to properly hold a bass he gave it a try and luckily all the bass behaved.
    Over all it was a good hour with the boy before we headed back home for some homemade pizza. I am sure it is yet another day at the pond that he will remember for quite a while.

    Before we went fishing however I had a good few hours to mess around in the garage with a spur of the moment idea while walking the isles of my local hardware store.  Originally I had gone there to get a chimney sweep so I can clean out the fireplace and save myself over $230.  $230!!!  No thanks, I'll stick to my cheap Dutch roots and do it myself.  I hate going on my roof for anything but for $230 I'm not blinking an eye.
So how do you turn a total of $7 in cheap lumber and $5 in hardware into something relaxing?  You just make a few simple cuts and drill a few holes and then you got a very comfortable sun chair to place outside near the fire.
  I actually found the idea for the chair on an advertisement for Delta.  It was a background piece of furniture on a travel banner but it looked so easy to make that I thought it would be an quick project to get me back in the garage and out of the house.  Happily it was nearly as easy as I had hoped and even though I will make a few changes to the design in the next chair, it was simple and more importantly - Cheap!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Silver Creek Apache Trout

  Today I had planned to do about a thousand other things that needed to be done but when I awoke to find rain and drizzle falling outside, my ambition quickly faded away and I decided to get to work on a painting recently requested by a client.
  This work titled "Release Of A Silver Creek Apache" is a spin from my resent painting of a Rainbow Trout being released.  I really liked that painting so it was no surprise when I got an email asking if I could paint a similar painting only with an Apache Trout as the subject instead of the rainbow. My answer - Heck Yeah!
  They also asked if - since it was a gift for an angler in their life that had caught a number of Apache Trout on the Silver Creek in Pinetop AZ - could I replicate the grass and reed choked banks of the legendary stretch of water.  So with greens and yellow pigments in the pallet I eager went to work painting grass.
  I love painting the rare species of American Trout and the beloved and endangered Apache is no exception.  A few years ago I did a series of paintings of rare trout and they must be popular to other anglers out there because everyone of them sold fairly quickly.  Classified as Critically Endangered, this beautifully spotted trout dwells in only a small section of the south western United States.  With its distinct yellow coloring it is a treasure among fishes and I am glad that this painting will serve as a memento to a beautiful fish that was released back into the wild.
  I am going to look into getting high quality Giclee prints made of this one of a kind painting so feel free to email me with requests.

"Release Of A Silver Creek Apache"
Watercolor on Paper
Size - Aprox 14in x 10in
Original Sold
Prints Available Soon

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Painting Trout Flies

  Just having a bit of fun painting flies.  Its up to you which way you see this painting.  As always, this work is for sale.  feel free to email me for pricing. Have a Great weekend!