What measures would it take to sell the fly cast idea? There are names that are synonymous with Montana and where the target audience lies is within the city limits of Bozeman. For the small creeks, that are in the immediate vicinity, I would have to say it would be Hyalite Creek.
Hyalite creek is up a road that has been paved all the way to the reservoir. There are bike races, marathons and in general an outdoor paradise for fishermen, paddle boards and hikers. The creek on this particular day is in a torrent of flow, cascading down from the 70 degree weather pummeling the snow fields. The water is clear to see the hyalite stones that the creek is named after and the Burnt Sienna cobbles that make up the creek’s bed. A hatch of flying ants are abundant as a Dipper on the creek’s shore had a beak completely full of them and was still on the prowl to see if it could stab one more.
With the snow having its effect on the larger streams and turning them into a muddy soup the most viable option is for a fly cast painting is on a smaller creek. This will be the easel’s third trip and it did not disappoint. With the wing nuts used to hold the Lexan in place there was quite the test in the bottom of the canyon as a high wind came rumbling down to move parts of the set up in fly cast painting. The Easel held fast and actually looked like it could take on a hurricane if it came to that. There is one other order than the easel that takes place today and that is the changing of the fly line.
For the majority of the work a 6 weight Winston Boron III Plus is used to move the paint from palette to the Lexan surface. It is extraordinary how the technology in fly fishing has changed when I was learning about the fly fishing in the 80’s the standard weight that everyone used was a seven weight rod and reel set up. One of the old adages was the fact that for a fisherman to get the most control out of their fishing rod was to use a line that was one size heavier on the chart. The fly cast setup now is a five weight reel on on the six weight rod is casting a seven weight line and it performed marvelously. The flex in the rod can be felt more readily from the butt section to the tip and with a little weight transfer from foot to foot can send that line as soft or as violent as the rod will allow.
There were two conversations on the river this day as Mike came down with his wife Theresa, as they were visiting from Kansas. Mike raises pheasant and quail and had just retired from driving trucks. They were in town to take in a graduation that their granddaughter was a part of. Some of the nicest folks are the ones that stop and say hello on the river with life stories that are so honest and real. The painting process is just a Segway to a greater understanding of the folks that can make the idea of flycast painting happen. That was my idea until the guy out of Texas stopped by… he warned his buddy that was coming down the trail that I was painting and not to get in the back cast. He was there for information about the fishing in the neighborhood. I tried to explain that there was a large hatch of flying ants coming out and there were fish sipping them off the surface in the backwater on the other side of the stream. They were staying up in Big Sky and the Gallatin River was an absolute rage and it was detrimental to their fishing practices. I gave them all the information I could and at the end of the conversation he said let me see you cast at the painting. I was just finishing one color hit before I turned around and he was half way to the car ready to take on the lakes in the surrounding hills. Some folks are more into the art itself and that is to be understood. With a smile I turned back to the painting and began capturing the second half of the textured side going from the dark undertones to the highlights that represent the foam on top of the waves.
With the new easel set up it is plausible to work on four paintings at one time with absolute security. There could be eight paintings created at one time if folks love a creek so much there is a high demand for that body of water. The paintings on this day are rationalized to the point of having two different directions in which to work. One is the expression of the side to side action that the strikes represent of the creek’s flow and the second is the idea of contrast in colors and that the up and down layering of applying the paint is more of dark an light cohesion to bring about the most visibility in color and leave more of an impact on the rocks that signify the bottom of the creek. There is a slight green to the far side of the water that was very subtle to be seen but there all the same. The move to water down the paint enough to just get a hint of the stream’s color is becoming more practiced and a longer line was used to match the intermittent highlights that help with the movement of the water’s flow. I hope you enjoy the ever changing Hyalite Creek Fly Cast Paintings.
11″x14″ Acrylic on Lexan
$250.00 a piece series of four