The Green Drakes
Over the summer I had the pleasure of taking a very special trip to the area where Idaho meets Wyoming meets Montana. We fished and filmed, and as the mornings waned and the clouds rolled in, the drakes began to pop. The hatches never lasted long, but they brought up the biggest fish from the small mountain streams. It was amazing to fish to 12-20" cutthroat that we could see nosing out of the water.
This piece aims to capture the beginnings of the hatch. After a good, long hike up the mountain under crisp morning skies, we had left any trace of the crowds. Around 11 am, when the water had warmed, cloud banks would begin to saunter into the canyons. As soon as those clouds would block the sun the green drake mayflies would begin to emerge from the bottom of the stream. It didn't take long for the fish to churn. In the image you can see the breaking blue skies and the ensuing cloud cover. Light beams filter through, here and there, alluding to the idea that the water has been heated throughout the morning. The water is a boiling red, and thick black arrows guide the flies upward. It's a long dark path for a hatching mayfly.
A hatch in the mountains is like rush hour for flies, fish, and fisherman alike. I chose this imagery to be bold and chaotic as during a hatch the visual stimulation heavily increases for the fisherman/viewer. The flies rely on water temps and preferable conditions and make a break for the surface en masse. The fish key in on easy prey and jockey for feeding position, exploding about the surface to consume bugs. The fisherman finds himself in a euphoric, yet stressful state. Picking out a fish to cast to, the right fly, and then another fly, and then one that might work; good casts, bad casts, tough casts to the donkey behind the log. The whole ordeal is a cauldron of energy that cannot be portrayed lightly. My imagery is heavy on the eyes, laden with color, and expresses the nervous energy of the river's traffic jam.
I set out to make this piece during quite a funk in my creative process. I was feeling very uninspired to start works, and I was feeling as though I had become stale from catering too much to what I thought the public might like to see. This piece was an attempt to expel the demons, and it did just that. Maybe I had been lazy, caught up in hunting season, or maybe it was the blue-hair filled craft fair I set up at to make quick cash that had me down. I explored past mental space, called on experiences in fishing and art processes I had been putting off, and went for it making happy mistakes and fighting through it. Not all art will be easy to make and my best work usually comes through amendment. Expression of time well spent mixed with that feeling in your stomach when you can't find your keys formed the basis of this piece and a good start to a few other projects I had been lax on.
Stuart Davis, Hot Still-Scape for 6 Colors.
Friend, and fellow artist, John Piacquadio (@twincitiesurbanfly) turned me onto American modernist painter, Stuart Davis. After viewing many of his works on the Google, his influence definitely crept into this piece in color and fragmentation of shapes and imagery. John is moving to Mexico with his wife, Karen for the winter months. We will miss him at tying nights, and I hope he continues to send rad artists my way to help shake off the dust.