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