Artist paints Montana rivers using fly rod
BOZEMAN –Three months ago Ben Miller quit his job, sold his house in Washington and moved to Bozeman to paint rivers.
But Miller is no ordinary artist, having traded in his brush for a fly rod.
A former art teacher and longtime fly fisherman, Miller gave up everything to pursue his passion.
“It just came to me one day that I could combine the two,” Miller said. “Fly fishing and painting which essentially are the same thing in that as far as casting a fly rod, there’s that repetition that is looked for in paintings. There is the color change that is experienced each time you go to the river. Is the river in good shape, is that going to determine how you fish it? Painting, what is color are you going to work with? Every time you go to the river.”
Miller calls it Fly Cast Painting.
He uses a fly rod with yarn attached at the end which is dipped in paint.
“I tried a fly, but it kept falling apart,” said Miller.
He even mixes river water into the paint. After assessing the river, choosing just the right color and then he casts.
Each work takes hours and accounts for changes in light, in weather.
The finished work is actually the other side of the poly carbon material.
So far Miller has painted the Missouri, Madison, Yellowstone and the Gallatin rivers, enjoying every moment, every cast.
“If I’m out here and I actually starve to death doing it, I’m OK with that,” Miller said. “The urge is overwhelming to come to Montana and do this. And I look back (on) my life and everything I’ve done, it’s always been kind of this progression and I think it’s a culmination of that, who I am even.”