Sauk River 12/16/16


The opportunity to work on the rivers and streams that you grew up on is a fortunate circumstance.  The art is always there but to work for an understanding of where a person grew up and had the experience of a stream everyday is beyond profound.

There was a message on the computer that said “We like your style of painting”.  I happened to know that this person grew up on a particular stream and asked if she would like a painting of the river where she grew up.  The comment that makes me chuckle about this situation is “How do we get this process started”?  I am beyond excited for this piece.

The weather in Washington on this day was every bit as cold as Montana on an average day during the winter months. Setting up the stand and easel over the top of river rocks was a guessing game and a lot of shifting the easel to get is straight but being on top of the stream could not have been a better situation. The energy of the river was very stark with the ideal perch above it.  I worked faster than usual with the first layers as the sun was about to sit behind the mountains and 2:30 in the afternoon.  There was a propane heater set up inside of the easel stand about burning the wood frame to the ground.  The Sauk River typically has a green cast to it when the weather is clear but with the air was muted when the sun moved behind Jumbo Mountain.  The green had shifted to a teal color that was evident on the ripples just under the foamy breaks that cascade towards the Pacific Ocean.  The rhythm of the day is nostalgic thinking of all the times the patron experienced this very spot looking across the rock strewn slide left open by high water.  Just before dark was about to envelope the entire process the work was finished.


In the evolution of flycast painting, the works are getting more literal with each piece.  If it is a blessing or a curse the standards are taken to another level with each episode.  The action and color of this work was as close as it could be as the understanding of nature’s colors are a balance of tones that take on a grey pattern during the winter time.  There is a lot of different colors and perspectives to take on a freestone river like the Sauk.  Seeing the difference in color combinations from the morning light to the afternoon is taken as a challenge to do it better and try to avoid the monochrome that takes over when the sun is gone. The action is top notch and color as far as it goes couldn’t be any closer with the proper ratio.  It is a unique body of water that is one of the only rivers in the United States that flows north.  After this moment on the river and analyzing the work  I want to do right by my benefactor and if my shoulder doesn’t give out I will paint another painting in this special place first thing tomorrow morning.

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