There are works of art, and there are concepts that are the perfect combination of worlds colliding. Up to this point this is the piece that has four very strong coincidences and perhaps even fate to be created.
If you’ve ever watched the show Little House on the Prairie, you will know there are families that make up pillars of a community. The Ashe family is an anchoring foundation for the town of Darrington. The give their time and resources for the betterment of a consistent community with strong roots that go back generations, and perhaps, this is where this painting begins.
I received a message from Sheila Ashe and she wants to get a gift for Kevin that shows his love of fly fishing. I had been toying with the idea to create a hybrid piece with resin over the top of a fly cast painting. This was that chance. We began to spit ball about how much fly fishing means to Kevin and to showcase his love for the sport. A story from over 30 years ago came to mind about the Ashe’s secret creek they used to fish. After a little more conversation it occurred to me that I had access to the house that Kevin grew up in and to make that the foundation for the painting that was going to take place. It is a good thing I called when I did because the wood was in a burn pile and ready to be torched in the fall. Everything was falling into place more than I could have hoped.
Getting into the secret creek for the fly cast painting had my dog pretty pissed off. I was bailing off the side of a canyon wall to see what the terrain was on the creek bottom to set up the fly cast painting, Filson was refusing to come down. When she finally did make her way down the hill we had to go back up to the top of the rim if we were going to make any progress. The most remarkable thing about this particular place was the light color of the rocks and how granite dominates the bottom of the stream. Truly remarkable it was, and a fly cast painting scenario I have never been a part of with that type of color palette. When the painting was finished there was time to cast a couple of flies in to get a specimen for the painting and have the species of fish that was native to this body of water be present in the painting. The fishing did not disappoint with a fish, or several trout coming to the fly on just about every cast. The fish weren’t hanging in the slack water as readily as they were in the middle of current. I could only imagine that competition was so fierce that the ones that had the first chance at food, had the best chance.
With the flycast painting being finished it was time to select the best pieces of wood for the painting. Digging through a pile of wood that came from the house (where Kevin grew up as a kid) the old rough cut timbers from years long past were present and had nails sticking out the sides
running the length of the boards. Nails that were pounded in from Kevin’s relatives or an acquaintance the Ashe’s knew from a century ago were rusted and bent. The wood would be narrow to use a single piece so the decision was made that two boards would be fused together to get the proper width and the nails left on the sides. With the flycast painting and the boards in hand it was time to head back to Montana and put it all together.A secret fly was used, and is a part of the Ashe fishing lore was put into the painting. Throughout the length of the painting Kevin’s name is spelled in resin and when the light shines on the painting’s surface there is no doubt as to the purpose of the art and its truly symbolic nostalgia and meaning.
Looking back on the piece it has a lot of layers to ponder and the connection that is made to people through the work is half the reason to create art. While fishing on the creek, a noteworthy detail was the contrast the fish in the stream had against the stream bottom. They would blend in or be in direct contrast to the light colored rocks. This is the first hybrid painting to combine flycast painting and resin and the elements that make up the work will be repeated as the concept is rich in technique and has a strong story to go with it.
If anything is to come from this painting my greatest hope is to have (after these remaining years go by), generations of Ashes to look back and wonder and know about a snapshot into the life of Kevin Ashe and the adventures he had in a secret place that is passed down in the family.
Thank you Sheila.