Posts Tagged ‘fishing lures’


March 8, 2013
Lures and Flies


Lazy Ike and Lucky 13Lazy Ike and Lucky 13

Bomber and Tiny Lucky 13

Bomber and Tiny Lucky 13

Like many Southerners, I was ruined for church by early exposure to preachers.  So when I need to hear the sigh of the Eternal, I find myself drawn to a deep hollow between Fork Mountain and Double Top Mountain on the eastern flank of the Blue Ridge.  This is where the Rapidan River plunges through a hemlock forest and through gray boulders that jut from the ferny earth like the aboriginal bones of old Virginia.  This is a place of enlightenment for me, the spot where I received the blessing of my middle years.  Here, after three decades of catching fish, I began learning to fish.

Howell Raines, Fly Fishing Through the Midlife Crisis

Finally I get around to posting the three watercolor sketches I finished up yesterday afternoon (Thursday) after school, while inhabiting my Man Cave.  Tonight, I sigh with a deep sense of contentment, enjoying my first evening of Spring Break, not returning to school until March 18.

Though I doubt that I will get any fishing in during this break (there is so much work to do and I welcome the space for it), I have turned recently to watercolor sketching these vintage pieces of fishing memorabilia.

I am opening this meditation with these words from Howell Raines, whose book changed my life profoundly.  He and I live in parallel worlds–I learned to fish as a young boy, and it was always my passion, but when I took up the fly rod about ten years ago, everything changed in ways that carry religious overtones for me.

I have titled the top piece “Transitions,” because of my shift from bass lures to trout flies about a decade ago.  All the subjects in the sketch are vintage.  The lures are borrowed from dear friends of mine.  And then, a student a couple of years ago gave me a beautiful wooden box filled with vintage flies!  I have been randomly selecting them for watercolor sketches as well.  I dare not fish the vintage flies though.  I just love to look at them, along with a few vintage bamboo fly rods and antique fly reels I have acquired over the past decade–great for looking at and watercoloring, but not for real use anymore.  I treasure them like museum pieces.

Riverbend Resort, South Fork, Colorado

Almont, Colorado, about to enter the Taylor River

And of course, I couldn’t resist inserting a picture of myself during happier days.  The Taylor River, a few summers ago, lifted me out of this world of business, and inserted me into a paradise where time seemed to evaporate.  I felt those Howell Raines sentiments, with the Eternal breathing gently in my ear, and my heart palpitating every time a brown rose to sip a dry fly.  The babbling sounds of a Colorado mountain stream just have a way of changing the way I breathe the moment I step into the waters.

Finding the Seam


Thanks for reading.



A Juggler with Too Many Balls in the Air

January 7, 2013
Watercolor of vintage plugs and flies in actual size

Watercolor of vintage plugs and flies in actual size

Following a lengthy and delicious Christmas holiday, I returned to school today for a teacher work day.  Tomorrow the students return.  My classroom has all the charm of a frozen food locker.  My nose is cold and runny, and it appears that the climate will not be fixed today.   All my paperwork is in order.  Everything has been photocopied for tomorrow’s Philosophy and Art History classes.  I have enjoyed reading, writing, listening to the Voices and Visions documentary on T. S. Eliot, and now have added a couple of dry flies to my pair of vintage bass plugs begun recently.  I have only turned in half a work day but already I’m conflicted between studying for classes, reading for pleasure, blogging, writing in my journal, and experimenting with new subjects in watercolor.  I guess the only thing I haven’t tried this morning is playing my guitar.  Too many interests, too little time.  Life is short, art is long.

I am getting more comfortable with the nuances of these small still life forms, and think I am ready to turn the page.  I am not sure what kind of composition to assemble, but I love the looks of the lures and flies, and really would like to copy more patterns.  Perhaps they could become small matted original watercolors (5 x 7″ or so) as well as greeting cards.  I’m ready to pursue this new subject for awhile and augment my growing collection of “stuff” (good grief, I have scores of matted, shrinkwrapped watercolors stored in steamer trunks featuring landscape, architecture, vintage vehicles, Route 66 scenes and plenty of plein air experiments).  It’s time to explore new genres.

Tomorrow school begins officially, but my New Year resolutions include watercoloring every single day, even if only for short spells.  I don’t want this momentum to stall.

Thanks to all of you who have posted since I was “freshly pressed” yesterday.  You have ushered me into a new world, and for that I thank you.

Reeling ’em In

January 6, 2013
Watercolor Sketches of Vintage Fishing Lures

Watercolor Sketches of Vintage Fishing Lures

This day wasn’t as conducive to painting as it was answering blog posts with much appreciation.  Today is the first day my blog was Freshly Pressed on the home page of  I spent most of the day answering correspondence, with delight.

As night fell, and I began to decompress, I started toward my bed with a good book and journal, but suddenly thought: “No!  Toss out one more blog before retiring for the night.  And keep the streak alive, trying to practice watercolor daily” (one of my New Year resolutions).  I had not picked up the brush since this morning.  So, I returned to the man cave and fished out another vintage lure from the borrowed tackle box: a Lucky 13, to add to the Bomber I attempted painting yesterday and earlier today.  The results aren’t what I want yet, but I am enjoying the exercise and delight of scrutinizing these objects up close and personal, and I’m confident that any day now I will be rendering them more accurately in transparent watercolor.  I’m really intrigued with their colors, textures, contours, and the fluid lines of the treble hooks.  I have plenty of issues to solve as I work to reproduce them on the page, but I’ll get there, I’m sure.

I’m going to head for bed with my journal and copy of James Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.

Thanks for reading, and bless all of you this day for all the encouragement you sent my way.  You convince me that in blogging, I am not alone.