Saturday, September 28, 2013

Sketching Trout

  Having a little fun with the pen and ink yesterday, I decided to give this sketch an rustic etched look.  Sometimes the simple line designs speak for themselves.  never one to leave well enough alone, I then took this pen and ink and loaded it into the computer for a little tweaking.
  If I was ever in the mood to do a series of wood prints I think that this design would be a killer project.

After messing around with the image I then decided to see how it might look on a coffee mug.  For a simple line drawing I thought that the only type of mug that would fit the design would be the stainless traveler.  What better way to start your morning drive to the river then chugging coffee from a cool mug like this right?

Hopefully in the next few weeks I will be able to hit some trout waters and actually do some fishing.  Unfortunately my scheduled and various time constraints have really hampered my ability to wet a fly for trout, but that excuse wont hold water for much longer.  The tug of fall brookies and chasing blue lines in the upstate is just too strong.
Fish on!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Red Drum (Red Fish) Painting

Red Drum - RedFish
    Continuing with my theme of painting saltwater fish I decided to paint the Red Drum in the same style of the Spanish Mackerel I painted last week. For those that have never had the privileged of fishing reds on a spin rod - or even better yet a Fly Rod - you need to add these to your bucket list!
   A few years ago I fished these powerful fish on the grass flats down off the coast of Tampa Bay with the biggest fly rod I had at the time: A 6 Weight!  Between all the Spotted Sea Trout I eventually hooked into something that took me on a ride for a good five minutes.  I had no idea what it was since I was unable to see it but as it pulled out line and made my line sing I knew it was something special.
After finally tiring it out and bringing it in I held a solid mass of fish that took my breath away.  It was my first redfish and at that moment I finally realized what all the hype was about.  The Red Drum truly is a top sport fish for all coastal anglers.
     Using a four color palette of Venetian Brown, Gamboge, Brilliant Cad Red, and Carbon Black I first laid down a two and a half inch strip of color to add a dynamic backdrop for the redfish.  I then added a mix of splatter effect and drips to liven the painting up.
  After the backdrop is dried I then got to work on the red drum.
  The finished product is a vibrant Red Fish.  For those that would like a print of this fish or the Spanish Mackerel I will be taking orders soon.  I plan on having a few professionally printed Giclee prints made in small poster sizes.  Details will soon be available.

    On a completely different subject, My wife found this giant Orb Spider hanging right off our front steps.  She of course demanded that it be removed immediately in order to prevent a possible frantic morning surprise.  After taking a few shots so the kids and I could hit the web and identify the unusual spider, I gently placed it on a 'extra long' stick and moved him/her to a large tree away from the house.
  About the size of quarter, this 'Spotted Orb Spider' usually lives in heavily wooded areas and weaves a strong web about two foot across.  Due to its size one might think that it would be deadly to about any insect but unfortunately its greatest enemy is the paper wasp.  Although rather creepy looking it is not poisonous to humans so in this case I would take the spider over the wasp.
   And that's your nature lesson for the day.  Enjoy the rest of your week.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Beer labels, Fishing Shirts, And Hunting

    Its been one hectic week and as I sit down to catch my breath I decided to have a little fun on the computer.  I am a sucker for all things trout related and that includes my beer choices.  When I was in Montana I had the privileged to try out many local breweries, nearly all of which had some sort of fly fishing or trout theme to their labels.  Pure genius in marketing if you ask me because I was sucked in by the labels alone.  The added bonus was that the beers were quite good as well.
    With beer and brewers names on my mind like 'Trout Slayer', 'Madison River Brewings Baetis Belgian, Copper John Scotch Ale, & Elk Hair ESB' and even Georgia's 'Sweetwater brewing' featuring a colorful rainbow trout as its logo I decided to have a little fun with my own label.  Pretty simple design but not a bad concept.  I even decide to see how it might look on an actual beer bottle.
  Besides wasting time designing beer labels I have been doing a lot of road cycling lately.  Last week I did a 11 mile short ride, a 25 mile ride, and one 51 mile trek up to Travelers Rest SC.  Averaging about 16mph I am no Lance but it has been good for my cardio.  Its also fun to go flying down a steep hill (My top speed was a 45mph descent) even if going up is a killer.  So with that in mind I also created this logo the other day.
  For those wondering if I have had the time to hit the water for a bit of fishing - the answer is yes but not nearly as much as I would like.  I also got a new shirt to sport out there on the water.  While messing around on the web a few weeks ago looking at what my designs would look like on a shirt I accidentally ordered one.  How I did that I am not quite sure but apparently I hit the order button instead of the exit button.  Oh well.  I now have a good looking sports tech shirt featuring a RedFish chasing a shrimp.
  And finally I managed to get one wet morning of hunting in.  Archery season opened last week here in the upstate and although the deer are tricky to predict this time of year I headed out anyway.
  My buddy saw a few does at a distance but as a cold front began to move in bringing a load a rain, it became very apparent that the deer were not in a mood to be moving.  In the end it was a nice peaceful morning in a tree stand watching the ground fog burn off as the forest begins to come alive with the sounds of squirrels fighting over acorns and song birds waking from a restful night.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Spanish Mackerel Watercolor

Continuing my work on new fish for this blog and this artist I decided today to go with a Spanish Mackerel.  A few years ago while fishing the coast of Florida with a simple bait caster, I was lucky enough to hook into a small mackerel and had a great time hauling it in.  Pound for pound, these torpedo like fish put up a great fight and although I released it shortly after I landed it, I am told that even with the abundance of oils (Also good for you) they are a down right tasty meal.
  As always I started out with a basic sketch of the subject done in light pencil.  Once I have established all the lines I want for the painting I then add slightly deeper pencil marks and gently erase all the light sketch marks outside of the established subject.
  Adding a bit of background color has been a recent development in a lot of my more recent paintings and for this one it is no different.  Exploring new background ideas is a great way I have found of not only adding more color to the painting but also a way to make a more dynamic piece of art.  For this one I decided to use a simple band of color across the bottom of the painting.
  Since I was only using a limited palette for this work I also used this band of color as a reference for how the colors would blend on the paper.  The most colorful Mackerels that I have come across fresh out of the ocean display a brightly colored aqua blue and green back so I dropped a bit of Phthalo Blue and Green with a light yellow to set off the distinctive Spanish Mackerel yellow spots I would eventually add to the fish.  Using a bit of splatter technique is also a recent addition to my works that I have come to love.  For this one I just left a hint of splatter below the band with the idea that less is more.
After that I added the colors for the Spanish Mackerel and then all that's left is the details.  After adding a bid of contrast with a deep black mixed with the greens and blues I painted in the eye and called this piece done.
    I know that a whole lot of you trout anglers up in the rain soaked Rockies may not ever have a chance to hook into some salt species, and as such might not give two bits about a Mackerel.  But if you are striving to be a well rounded angler you will not dismiss these fish.  These toothy missiles are worthy fish to hook for any angler.

"Spanish Mackerel"
Watercolor On Bristol Paper
Size - 20in. x  12in.
Not Currently For Sale

  For me I cant wait to get back down to the coast and hook into any salt species.  Yesterday I took delivery of a new 8wt mid-fast action fly rod perfect for bass and coastal fishing and even though I cant test it out on the SC red fish, I do plan on heading out this afternoon for a bit of bass fishing.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Two Snooks Watercolor - Plus A Few Paintings For Sale

Good news for salt water fishing fans... You are going to see a few more salt fish species on this blog.  Why you might ask?  Two reasons - I am looking at branching out into some uncharted waters and expanding my fish resume and second - I now have a market for them.
  Thanks mainly to a previous customer I was placed in contact with a guy looking to illustrate and provide artwork for a in-shore fishing tournament located in Tampa Bay FL.  After submitting a few sketches and ideas for logos to place on this years shirts the panel decided to go with my artwork.  They have also decided to add a few paintings into the mix as prizes.
I will save you the details and just share with you these most recent painting designed off the illustration I provided for the logo.  'Two Snooks'  Is a large watercolor and ink work done on acid free paper.

   After sketching out the snooks and inking them in I then covered all areas I wanted to save white and began to splash the paint around.  I then went back and began the task of painting the mix of colors one sees from a snook as the light reflects through Florida's salty bay waters.

  For those of you still wanting to see trout I have added a few recent paintings at the bottom of this post for you.  Both are still for sale and I need a new fly rod so If you want to contribute to my fishing addiction, send me an email and we will talk price.

Otherwise - enjoy the rest of the week.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Afternoon Pond Fly Fishing

    After a lengthy morning on the road bike traversing the back roads of Greenville SC, I packed the rod case and flies in the back of the jeep and headed a few miles down the road to hit a local pond.  I wasn't expecting much in the heat of the noon day sun but if I was going to get any fishing done before the kids got home from school then I had little choice.  Fortunately for me the fish were not effected by the timing.
    I haven't been back to this pond in quite a while with all the things going on this summer so when I arrived I immediately noticed the weeds on the shore had extended their reach into the pond by a good six feet.  Now fishing with a backup 6wt since my fast action 7wt snapped on me early in the season (whole nother story) I knew fishing this pond might be a challenge.  (needless to say I am in the market for a 8wt salt/warm water rod)

    As always the gills in this pond are eager to provide a guy with enough action to make a few hours fishing exciting.  Taking flies and small poppers off the top are the bread and butter of these guys but patience is the key.  More often then not it is a waiting game.  You toss the fly out there strip it a few times and then let it sit.  Eventually you see a shadow emerge from the deep and check out the alien floating on the surface of his world.  If you are lucky he'll hit it hard and if your fly isn't up to snuff... well you got to see a fish but you'll never hook them.
Quite a few this day were hooked on a Little Green Diver #6 short with rubber legs and fluff behind the head.
   Next up I grabbed the standard Black Woolly Bugger with sparkle and marabou tail and tossed them along the weed beds.  As best as I could I tried to avoid the snags but as one would expect, the occasional cleaning of the fly as it hooked into moss is an ever present hazard.
    First to hook into the Bugger was this little guy that darted from the cover with torpedo like speed.  I quickly learned that a slow pause retrieve was the order of the day.  I went through the gamete of speed and styles but the only hookups where with a slow action.  If I recall correctly this trend carries through most of the summer here in the south for warm ponds.  The lethargic bass just tend to avoid anything that will make them expend energy.
To finish the day I hooked into this 14in+ bass (I measured it) that took me for a quick ride, pulling my light 6wt double.  After that he shot for the bank and tangled up in the mass and weeds and the fight was over.  All that was left was digging him out but with a hearty leader and #3 tippet it was not difficult.
  Incidentally those in the know might recognize the beautiful reel adorning this under-powered rod. That right, its the MFC Fly Reel I got from the OutdoorBloggerNetwork and Fall River Fly Rod contest last year.  With its large arbor and smooth action it is the perfect bass fly reel.  I even like the camouflage colors.  Officially it is a river stone paint job but to me it screams the bass fishing look... I hope Larry The Cable Guy doesn't sue me but --- Git R Done!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Juvenile Rainbow Trout On Leaves - Watercolor

Today I awoke hoping to get out and do a nice long bike ride but as I settled down to fuel up with coffee I looked out the window to see a rumbling front rolling in from the north.  Another morning of rain in the South East...  So what to do on a wet morning - I guess I'll paint myself up another trout.
  Lately I have been having a hard time selecting trout to paint.  I have done so many over the years it now beginning to get difficult not to repeat myself.  On the flip side, my love of painting these fish has forced me to spend more time on perfecting my technique.  I can now go back to the beginnings of this blog and see a steady progression from armature works not worthy to grace a wall to a collection of paintings that fellow anglers now pay me to have hang over their fly tying desks.  I have even been lucky enough to have my works published and I am currently in talks to have more of my illustrations featured in a prominent event.
  To say that starting this blog has been a good thing for my fishing and art would be a gross understatement.  Again I would like to thank all of you loyal followers that have forced me to improve myself.

  For this painting I decided to move forward with a style I experimented with for my recent Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout watercolor.  After finally deciding to paint the Juvenile stage of a rainbow trout I got to work planning out the scene.  Using the large Bristol smooth paper I again began by inking out my sketch of a Juvenile Rainbow trout on a selection of fall leaves.  Using these bright colors I felt was a great backdrop for such a brilliant stage in the life cycle of a Rainbow Trout.
  To add a bit of texture to the background I then used the three colors of the leaves and splashed them around freely.  After I finished with the splashing of paint I then got to work painting up the trout.  After a few shadows are added The finished product seems to come alive.

"Juvenile Rainbow Trout On Leaves"
-  11x15
- Watercolor
- Acid Free Smooth Bristol Paper
Juvenile Rainbow Trout On Leaves