Posts Tagged ‘White River’

Soothing Moments in the River

May 5, 2016


brown trout 1 photoshopped

Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it.
Norman Maclean

My friend Bill Barksdale arrived at my door at 6 a.m. and we made our second journey to the waters, this time the White River.  The water levels were low and sluggish, and so were the trout, but I did manage to coax this 5-inch brown to take my fly. Fortunately, I was able to lift his sweet face out of the waters for a portrait, and then a quick release.

I was pleased with the kind of photo my Samsung phone was able to make, but Bill went to work with his high-end camera and took several shots to record our morning:  I’m surprised that I’m not scowling more deeply as this river has required tiny flies that my eyes don’t see as well as they did in younger days.



I could not have dialed up a more perfect day, spending most of it in the river. Watching trout rise to sip flies from the surface (except for mine), thrills me to the core.  For much of the morning, I gazed at row after row of trout, lined up to feed on whatever drifted past them (except for my own flies), their tails and fins undulating softly in the current.  All of it produced such hypnotic sensations, and I felt that I could have watched these sights for days.  And wade fishing in trout streams has always settled my pulse rate.  The past week has been fast-paced for me, with much travel, many daily appointments and responsibilities, and plenty of second-guessing.  I now face two consecutive days of judging art competitions, but tomorrow’s will be held late in the day, and then Saturday’s will happen in the morning. Fortunately for me, the activities are spread out, allowing me quality time to unwind between my responsibilities.  And so far, I’ve managed the perfect blend of making watercolors outside and fly fishing.  The week has flown by at warp speed and I’m astonished tonight to realize I have only two full days remaining at this event, before journeying back home to return to my full-time job.  I’m confident that once I return home, my batteries will be charged sufficiently for me to resume my duties.

Thanks for staying with me this week.



Fly Fishing the White River outside Eureka Springs, Arkansas

March 11, 2013
Tripp Standing in the White River Mist

Tripp Standing in the White River Mist

I was in such a state of mental agitation, in such great confusion that for a time I feared my weak reason would not survive. . . . Now it seems I am better and that I see more clearly the direction my studies are taking.  Will I ever arrive at the goal, so intensely sought and so long pursued?  I am still working from nature, and it seems to me I am making slow progress.

Paul Cezanne (words recorded by Maurice Merleau-Ponty “Cezanne’s Doubt”)

I must say that this is one of the most welcome Spring Breaks I have known in many, many years, and I am barely into it.  I have (so far) pursued a daily regiment that balances household chores with studio time, and have been working on three watercolors over the stretch of a day-and-a-half.  This is the first time I’ve published this one, begun late last night.  The other two were “emulations” of Winslow Homer fishing compositions.  This is from a photo taken by a professional photographer nearly four years ago while he and I were fly fishing the White River outside of Eureka Springs, Arkansas.  His wife was taking my watercolor workshop at the Eureka Springs School of the Arts that week, and he and I were getting into the river as much as possible, outside of class hours.  The river is remarkable as it is frequently shrouded in mists, and I have always been intimidated, trying to capture misty atmospheres in watercolor.  I always thought it would be relatively easy, but for me it’s not–I have tried this painting over and over again, and this is the first attempt that I have dared put on the blog.  The others were shredded and discarded.  I still don’t have what I want, but I am getting better, and think I can share in Cezanne’s exasperation–how much longer do I need?  Will I be given that time?

Thank you for reading.

Oops! Missed one from Eureka Springs! June 16, 2010

June 16, 2010

White River Tree

One evening after we finished class at the Eureka Springs School of the Arts, I travelled with Bill and Sandy Barksdale to the White River for some viewing.  While Bill took photographs, Sandy and I attempted some quick watercolor sketches of the scene before us.  The late afternoon sunlight was enchanting as it picked up the bright yellow-greens of some of the trees on the opposite shore.  At the same time, fog was drifting over the water’s surface, and the colors of the river depths began to engage my imagination.

This sketch only measures about 10 x 6″.  I only had time to drybrush masking fluid for the highlighed leaves, then lay in the dark green shadows.  The water only took about 10 seconds to paint–about 4-5 horizontal strokes across the wet paper, and then plenty of salt sprinkled.  Nature did the rest.  Last of all, I blocked in a quick sky (probably 5-10 seconds, max).

The following morning, I rose early and found a seat on a shaded bench on the beautiful grounds of the Crescent Hotel where the school lodged me for the week.  As I entertained the hotel cat lounging at my feet, I scraped off the dried masking fluid and laid in a wet wash of light yellow-green to finish out the highlighed leaves.

Though I put very little time into this sketch, I’ve really grown fond of it, maybe because of the memories it brings back of two special friends I met at Eureka Springs.  I’ll always remember them taking me out to find places to paint, and especially Bill’s willingness to take me along as a fly-fishing buddy.  We certainly found willing rainbow trout by week’s end!

Thanks for reading.

Back from Eureka Springs, Arkansas, June 14, 2010

June 14, 2010

In the Stream

I have finally returned from a one-week plein air watercolor class I taught at the Eureka Springs School of the Arts in Arkansas.  The experience was fabulous for me–seven adult students very enthused about studying watercolor and applying techniques en plein air. I think that I actually learned from the experience more than they did–I honestly found them that inquisitive and stimulating.  They have inspired me to work even harder in exploring this enterprise.

What I have posted is an attempt at poured watercolor.  Those of you who have followed my blog will recognize the subject matter–I painted this before, only smaller (this one measures 12 x 16″).  I am the fly fisherman, and the setting is Beavers Bend, near Broken Bow, Oklahoma.  I’m working from a photograph my wife took while we were there in summer 2009.  On the first day of waterc0lor class in Eureka Springs, we were greeted with rain, so we chose to work inside the studio.  During the afternoon hours I began pouring the upper half of this painting to demonstrate pouring techniques to the students.  On Friday it rained again, so we stayed inside on that day as well.  It was then that I decided to make the lower half a fly fishing composition.

This painting is still in progress. There are plenty of rough edges to file away.  Hopefully I’ll get back to it this week–I have plenty of other tasks that have managed to stack themselves around me and my studio.  Tomorrow I hope to get back outside for some more plein air activity, although Texas is nearing triple digits daily and isn’t too pleasant for outside tasks.