Wednesday, November 23, 2011

It's a Brown Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!

This beautiful Brown Trout was caught by an angler I found on named TroutHockey.  He posted this in the Fly Fishing category and I thought it was a perfect pose.  Caught in the in the Catskills of NY on an elk hair caddis.  I'd take some of this over turkey.  Anyone eating some trout tomorrow??

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Trout Hunters Escape the Bear!

I got a call from my father a few weeks ago letting me know that our dear friend Rich Paini had been attacked by what he thought was a Grizzly Bear and the details we had thus far were sketchy.  My heart sank.  Rich and his friend Jon Stiehl had been out for a morning Elk hunt and they were attacked.  I immediately thought of the last time I saw Rich, at his wedding on the banks of the Henry's Fork River in Island Park, Idaho at his Fly Fishing Lodge "Trout Hunter". 

It was a gorgeous day.  When my family and I showed up to attend the wedding there was a sign on the fly shop door that said something to the effect that the wedding ceremony and reception were going to be starting late because Rich was out fishing. 

As Jon explains in this update, I'm happy to report that Rich and Jon made it out alive, although Rich had some pretty severe battle wounds to take home with him.  Jon explains:

I heard Rich yell “BEAR!”  By the time I was able to get out my pepper spray, Rich and a very large dark bear with a buff face came flying into view. The bear was 3/4's erect and Rich had managed to stick up his right arm to protect his face. The bear clamped down on it and threw Rich to the ground, completely breaking his right arm below the elbow.  It looked like a hit from an NFL Linebacker. Rich thrust his left arm and recurve bow towards the bear's face in an attempt to free himself.  The bear chomped that hand splintering the arrows in the bow quiver in the process. I ran to the collision just in time to fire off a cloud of pepper spray at the bear's huge ass and watch it tear off into the woods.
A broken arm and missing ring finger later, Rich is home and recovering.  I look forward to visiting the TroutHunter Lodge in the next few years to hear the story in person.  I'll be purchasing some pepper spray before I go.

Click the picture to visit and see their Fly Shop, Lodge and Guide Service:


Monday, November 7, 2011

A Cutthroat Battle

"Flies, and Their Lawyers, Keep Rare Trout From Going Home"  By JUSTIN SCHECK of the

Restoring the Fish to California Creek Could Harm a Bug's Life; Cutthroat Battle

California Department of Fish and Game

MARKLEEVILLE, Calif.—North America's rarest trout has human allies who want to give it back its ancestral home.But the fish face an obstacle to their homecoming: bug advocates.

Federal and state game officials want to restore the Paiute cutthroat trout to the range scientists believe it occupied for many millennia—a nine-mile stretch of the Silver King Creek in the Sierra Nevada wilderness.

Yet there are also bugs in those waters—bugs that insect advocates say will be threatened by the fish fans' proposal...More After The Jump

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Bombay Sapphire - Recipe of 10 ingredients:  Almond, lemon peel, liquorice, juniper berries, orris root, angelica, coriander, cassia, cubeb, and grains of paradise.

Watercolor on coldpress paper 9x12

The name hints at the origins of the gin's popularity in the India of the days of the British Raj and the sapphire in question is the Star of Bombay on display at the Smithsonian Institution.  Bombay Sapphire is marketed in a flat-sided, sapphire-coloured bottle that bears a likeness of Queen Victoria on the label.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Native Feathers

A deviation of subject for me, "Native Feathers" was an interesting process. I haven't been focused on portraits or the figure in a long time, but will continue to challenge myself as I find subjects that move me.  I'd like to say the feathers in her hair pheasant tail for all of the fly fishing enthusiasts out there, and could probably make good materials for a tying a nymph.  Anyway, I've been inspired by the style of artist Michael Shapcott  His work is amazing and I wanted to be able to capture a similar mood.

Watercolor on cold press - 11" x 15"

As I worked on this painting, I didn't know what to expect.  I continually loosened up my style as I progressed through the different stages.  I think the most important aspect is the mood that the eyes create.  She has a look that I can not explain.  So, here she is.  Hopefully, I'll continue to challenge my style and bring more pieces like this to the stage.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Scott Howell's Squidro Summer Series

Recently, a true veteran of the sport of fly fishing created a new fly called the Squidro.  Scott Howell, a guide in Southern Oregon, has over 20 years and over 300 days a year of river time under his belt.  This fly is something else and was exclusively created for Leland Fly Fishing.  I thought it would be a great subject to paint.

Watercolor on coldpress

Watch Scott Howell in this video explain the uses for the Squidro and you will no doubt want to try on of these bad boys.  If you want to pick one up, you can only get them at Leland - click the banner at the bottom of this post.  Also, if you are in Scott's territory and looking for help getting into some (COWS) fish, here is Scott Howell Fishing


The Painting in the studio

Get your Squidro here at Leland :

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Friday in the Valley

Brushing off the cobwebs of a long, cold, wet winter my friend and I bailed from work had a "business" meeting in the afternoon. We headed into historic Valley Forge Park to try our luck on a stretch of Valley Creek that I had not fished before.  It was a beautiful day accompanied by a gorgeous stretch of water.  After a little investigating and a few run-ins with hissing Canadian Geese protecting their nests, we started to see what seemed like a sulfur hatch coming off around 4:00.  

We had a few of the feisty native browns hitting our nymphs earlier in the day, then they started hitting a combination of emergers and dry flies.  I used this little olive pattern (see below) with a gray wing and we started to see some action.  These fish were literally jumping out of the water making me tingle every time.  I had this 13 inch brown jump over my fly like a horse at a steeple chase.  Finally we had some luck and brought in a couple of fish.  We were very happy and look forward to our next "business" meeting together.
 The End.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Opening Day Brown

I thought Opening Day of Trout Season in South Eastern PA would be a good subject to introduce a new painting that I recently completed.  This Brown Trout has the gaping "stranded" look after being caught and held by the angler to model for the photo.  I also included the circular water reflections picked up by the camera as I feel it ads a sense of depth.

Watercolor on Cold Press - 12" x 14"

This brown is loosely modeled after a trout I found on from user:
Flikr - mdoughty68 You should also check out his Blog, as he's got some fantastic photos and subjects, not to mention is a Patriot of the US Military: Trout Tripper

Speaking of Opening Day...yesterday the family and I packed up and headed to a good friends house to enjoy and opening day brunch.  Our freid's house is located on tha banks of Darby Creek in Newtown Square PA and provides excellent access to the river.  We were actually a day late on the river (opening day was Saturday) and I think the fish were all gone.  We were fishing downstream from a hoard of spinners who were slapping the water.  I did see a few trout, but they were not interested in the brunch I was serving up.  It was good to break the gear out for the first time this season and I look forward to doing more of the same this spring and summer.  Here's a shot of the back of my rig with all of my gear lined up..perhaps a good panitng subject.  (Send me your gear shots if you have some good ones)

Have a great  season!

Friday, April 1, 2011

It's Over. I've lost the Mojo.

I wanted to officially announce my retirement from painting and most things artistic.  I've had an "ok" run at it over the past few years, but have come to realize that I don't much enjoy it anymore.  As some of you may have noticed, I haven't posted anything in a while and that is no coincidence.  I'm not sure creating art has any meaning any least for me.  Perhaps taking this step will cause the value of my existing paintings to increase?  I don't really care. 

I guess you could say I'm satisfied with what I've accomplished so far and don't need to prove anything anymore.  I have also decided that I need to fill the time with something else, so I have given much thought and talked it over with my wife. and decided to get more involved with dance.  My wife is a ballet dancer and it has always been something I wanted to try.  She goes to ballet once a week and we have agreed that I will join her at her next class.  I am looking forward to it.  Perhaps I can post some pictures and video.

April Fools.

I'm working on a few paintings now and hope to get back into the groove to post many more soon.
Stay tuned.

( give credit where credit is due...I got my "it's over" idea from by buddy here River Bum

Friday, January 21, 2011

Warm After Blood

Warm After Blood

Acrylic on Board 5.5" x 8"

I found this image of a Cowboy sitting by the fire taking off his gloves.  I imagine he just finished up a dirty deed of some sort...  Exhausted, cold, worn out and alone, he packs in close to warm himself by the fire.  My last Acrylic painting before stepping into oils.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

What Big Eyes You Have

"What Big Eyes You Have"

Graphite & Acrylic on Canvas 14"x14"

I have been wanting to get back into the heavier mediums - Acrylic and Oils and this is my first foray back into those mediums in quite some time.  This Acrylic/Graphite painting is of my daughter, Pilar dressed as Little Red Riding Hood for Halloween last year.  My wife made the cape from's beautiful and was the perfect fit for Pilar.  Her sheepish grin was easy to capture, but the eyes were very difficult.  There is a lot going on behind them, trust me.  I was going to call this painting "Watch Out Wolf" because I feel sorry for the wolf who crosses paths with this one. 

I plan to venture more and more into the deeper mediums and look forward to making progress and expanding learning more through the process. (Disclaimer....the photo doesn't do the painting justice...I have a terrible camera).  My inspiration for this painting comes partially from an artist I follow, Michael Shapcott Take a look.

Here are a few reference pictures:

Graphite Underdrawing:

And here is my little Pilar holding the (Finished???) painting:

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Louboutin Madame Butterfly

Christian Louboutin Madame Butterfly 150 Leopard Pump

Watercolor 9" x 12" Coldpress

An obvious departure from the fishy subjects so commonplace on my blog, this piece was at the request of one of my female fans.  I have a number of ladies who frequent my site and I wanted to impress them with some "couture" to prove that just because I like to fish doesn't mean I don't know fashion.  I thought the animal print would be a fitting theme on my site, as I know there are some hunters who might like it as well. 

The Christian Louboutin shoe is best know for it's signature red-lacquered heel.  Louboutin is a French designer who's goal is to “make a woman look sexy, beautiful, to make her legs look as long as [he] can.” I would say these red souled shoes do the trick.  Louboutin came up with the red soul almost by accident when he applied red nail polish to one of his shoe designs to make it have "more energy".  Little did he know that he would be creating a cultural icon. 

I wonder if my lady would like a pair?  I suppose that is a silly question.  What do you think?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Heineken Green Drake

Welcome to 2011! 

"Heineken Green Drake"
Watercolor on cold press 9" x 12"

Hopefully the hangovers have subsided. After all of these booze bottle paintings, I was recently asked to create a commission for a client combining my love of painting booze with my love of painting flies. This will be a gift for his father, a big fly fisherman who likes to enjoy a Heineken while on the water. He refers to Heineken as Green Drakes. I can hear him now...pass me another Green Drake!  I thought I would add a little twist to the bottle as well.

I thought it would be interesting to see the progression of this painting from sketch to completed work.  I took a few pictures along the way to show how I came to the final piece.  

1. The Sketch

2.The base layer

3. Taking shape with more details and depth

4.The Basic Bottle has been built before the fly and reflection were added.

5. The label close up

6. Close up of the Green Drake