I Would Rather Be Fly Fishing
Again, I admit a blog hiatus. After last weekend’s three-day art festival, I was exhausted, returning to school at 7:35 the next morning, still ill from the allergy symptoms suffered last week, and totally run-down. I’ve spent most of this week in school and in bed, with little in between.
Two days ago, tornadoes destroyed over 400 homes in my city, coming within 1/4 mile of my house. Surrounded by destruction, and looking at the faces of many of my students who have lost their homes, I’m devastated at this turn of fortune. There is no describing the loss that I see all around me now. There is so much pain.
I think I have finished this watercolor sketch that I began while in my booth at the last festival (Kennedale’s Art in the Park). While my Art I students are finishing an assignment before sailing into the three-day weekend, I’ve been at my desk fiddling with it. I changed the color of my shirt in order to make me stick out a little more. Also I darkened and salted the water more for contrast and drybrushed lightly more weeds about my feet and landing net. More tree foliage needed to be drybrushed as well. I think I have done about all I can. The setting of this sketch is Troublesome Creek, northwest of Denver, and east of the town of Kremmling. The creek flows into the Colorado River. Trophy trout cruise those waters, and I have pulled out dozens of them–rainbows, brookies, cutthroats and browns. I even hit a grandslam the last time I visited there (all four species caught in the same day).
Soon, I hope to pursue a series of watercolors on the fly fishing theme. I have dozens and dozens of digital photos on file that I have taken over the years during my own excursions to Colorado, north Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas in search of trout. I am looking over a museum catalog I purchased on Winslow Homer’s fly fishing watercolors. I attended that show when it came to Fort Worth’s Amon Carter Museum, and saw another major retrospective of his watercolors at the Art Institute of Chicago a few years ago. I need to devote more time to studying his techniques.
I miss Colorado so much that I ache. It has been two summers since I last enjoyed those mountain streams and the thrill of painting the front range. I wish to God I could get there this summer, but I’ll have to wait and see.
Tomorrow I will visit Malakoff, Texas for the first time and experiment with some plein air painting. I am thrilled to have been invited to teach a two-day workshop there next Thursday and Friday. I’m going there tomorrow to “scout” the town so I can know in advance what kind of landmarks my workshop participants can sketch in watercolor. I really hope to meet some of the participants tomorrow when I get there.
Though I have been under the weather for a considerable time (and doing very little blogging) I have been immersed in the writings of Paul Gauguin (The Writings of a Savage). I don’t have the itch to go to Tahiti, but I would love to adopt his “savage” lifestyle in the mountains of Colorado, if only I could go there for awhile. I have no foolish ideas about living off the land and the trout I catch–I would be satisfied with canned goods. But I would love to study the color and light there, the mountains, rock formations, streams and Aspens. I really need to find new directions in my work. I hate it when I feel that I am doing “hack” work, whipping out watercolors for the trade. I’m only happy when I’m a student of this craft, always learning new things.
Thanks for reading.