If you are ever in the Northwest and are a rare loquacious fishermen on the banks of the Stillaguamish River, you might happen upon a fisherman by the name of Keith Ayers. A temperature gauge on the fly fishing the famed North Fork his fly fishing techniques have plied the river banks of the Stilly for many years. Up and down that river system Keith has fished it all with riffle hitches, switch rods, tube patterns and nymphs off of indicators. Even when the fly fishing culture is dying with the amount of fish in the river Keith will relate the stories of success in the most optimistic light that can be presented and devote his time to being present on the river with great anticipation in the next cast.
The day Keith’s painting was made there were small drifts of snow on the bank and after crashing through the brush to the river bank the trail was overgrown with Himalayan stickers and thimble berry skeletons. There were blow down logs over the trail as well and the neglect for one of the last remaining accesses to the river was in ill repair was a direct correlation to the amount of fish in the river that were being pursued. The river was in perfect shape and no fishermen were present on one of the most versatile stretches of the upper Stillaguamish River.
The easel was set up with the propane tank working nicely behind the metal surface and would send up a shot of steam that was the water based paint letting out the moisture in the casting strikes. It was the perfect situation with a deep pool to look into and get the true depth of the green color and riffles on the top, before the water came over the rocks into the deeper current. The sun was peaking through later in the day and with the richness of the green color it pushed the blue as just the perfect patina to cap off the earth tones and Payne’s Grey that resonates from the overcast clouds. It was just such a time to capture the colors in the prime time of the winter steelhead season and imagine all the days Keith has spent on these waters and seeing the colors represented in his painting.