Missouri River 10/20/16

24″x 36″ Acrylic on Lexan

Sold…Down the River

This day was the first opportunity to have my work filmed and looked into by a television company.  I had my easel set up on the banks of the Missouri River and due to the size of the river it was going to be the biggest painting to date with a piece of Lexan 36″x 48″ needing two easels to hold it in place.
Getting down to the perfect place for the television interview was just less than a quarter mile over a 12′ fence.  It was a long process in itself to get the supplies down the rocky trail and set up in time for the big shoot.  The place to meet the television company was in the fly fishing town of Craig, so I set up the Lexan and set some rocks to secure the Easels in place.  Upon returning to the river with the television crew in toe I look over to see that the easels have been toppled over by the wind and the large piece of Lexan has been swallowed up by the deepest hole on this stretch of the Missouri River.  Looking down into the murkiness of the black water where the Missouri River claims the lives of individuals every year there was the understanding that I would never see that piece of Lexan again.  Luckily…I had a 24″x 36″ piece in my truck and I hurried up the trail to retrieve it and still get some footage for the television piece.  After the television crew left, and I was just finishing up the painting, the sun was beginning to go down and with the time lapse being used on my phone, the battery was completely dead.  I wanted to get some pictures on my phone after I was finished with the painting and decided to make my first trip to the truck, where I would plug in the inactive device and have it charging  while I retrieved the rest of the supplies.  I had used a huge rock to secure the painting the entire day and with the large gusts of wind along the Missouri River the easel remained secure.  I loaded all the supplies into the truck and on the last trip I was going to retrieve the painting and the easel.  Upon arriving at the place along there Missouri, where I casted a fly line to create a unique work of art, where a television company filmed the process in action and fly fishermen came by to comment on the work…everything was gone.  The winds had defeated my attempts twice today and the Missouri claimed its second prize along with an easel.  The large rock remained as a sore reminder in the failed attempt at thwarting the aggression of the Missouri River Winds.  I broke down to my skivvies as I was going to get back my lost day, my lost supplies, and my dignity.  The sun was completely out of the sky, the cliff that hangs over river has no easy way of scrambling back up, and there are no guarantees I would find the work with zero visibility, underwater, in the dark. With a deep sigh that was lost to the winds I hung my head as I put back on my clothes and tightened my belt.  I was reminded that not all art is intended for various circumstances and sometimes has only one role to play.  As I walked away from my first attempt along these fabled waters, the purpose of this day was a television crew getting some footage, and paying a sacrifice to the Missouri River and coming to the understanding that somewhere in its depths Ben Miller was here and just passing through.


The painting on this day lent itself to dark shades on the cold side of the spectrum.  There were plenty of silver flashes on the surface and blues to pick up the mid range levels of contrast.  The depths of the Missouri can show no rocks on the bottom and the rich dark colors can just run off into oblivion.  This is the most brash painting to date and the elements of wind on the river had a lot to do with how the paint struck the Lexan which lends its visualization of perceived violence from the fury of the wind.  It would be great to get this one back.

4 thoughts on “Missouri River 10/20/16

      1. My pleasure. I paint a little and fly fish too. I have often put down my rod to do a sketch or two but never thought of combining them in the way you do.

        Just realised that all rhymes!


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