Rock Shadow #2



“On their backs were vermiculate patterns that were maps of the world in its becoming”

-Cormac McCarthy (The Road)

A few new tricks for the resin painting idea.  This work has to be seen in person to capture the subtle moves on the layering of the paint. The last layer is suspended above the lighter layers on the trout to create a shadow effect that brings out the clarity of the lighter colors on the work.  It is taking advantage of the process of applying the resin to embellish the pattern on the back of the trout.  In an overdramatic expectation for the piece is to add movement as the viewer walks by.  That will come in a later painting as the process of the work is starting to lean towards a tendency to reach into a true abstraction of the idea and sell the soul of one concept to gravitate towards another concept. In the near future the there will be layers applied in a more fragmented fashion and work on having the viewers movement dictate the action in the painting.


One subtle idea about this work is to have the fly trying to climb out of the water and onto the frame.  This might justify the fly as a crossover of the water to the safety of the painting’s frame.  Another ridiculous attempt at humor for the works.  Of all the single fish resin pieces this one really pushes the darker contrast between colors.  The rocks are hit with a lighter high key color and this allows for the shadow on the rocks to be more pronounced.


Brook trout have the most intricate patterns on their back that make up their unique camouflage. It is in the same line of seeing the back of a mackerel that has been caught in the salt water.  The vibrant red fins are accentuated by the bright white and thin dark line that resides on the outer part of the brook trout’s steering wheels.

Acrylic/Resin/Refurbished Lumber


Debating the Shallows


The learned tools at an artist’s disposal are plentiful when broken down into their simplest contexts.  Dealing with the three dimension that resin will allow for lets a person consider the possibilities of pushing the depth of water using the emphasis on the lighter areas and darker tones towards the depths, where a trout could be lurking waiting for an opportunity to strike.  I want the highlights to gradually dissipate into the depths and have a  trout weighing the situation of coming towards the shore to nab its prey.

Fish on the side

This scenario has to be one of the most dramatic developments for a trout that wants to grab the bug but something is holding it back.  One of the longer resin pieces so far as it takes about four feet of space for its length and only 8.5 inches across the surface.  The cracks in the wood are emphasized by being burnt out and there is a light toasting of the wood over the top.

Fly Segments

Another point about this work and having it be so lengthy is to have the eye move throughout the piece so to help understand the length the trout would have to travel in sketchy territory to get its desired outcome.  The idea that these paintings can be hung vertically allows for a rustic home to have more options on where to put the piece and not interfere with the other items in the house as far as furniture goes.  The imperfect slight bend throughout the piece adds to the nature of the wood and accepting the years of wear the frame has had, to get to that point.   When creating this piece the resin layer was getting very uncomfortably thick at to the point of not knowing how the three dimension would read.  After a few more layers were thrown on the rocks popped like great big pillows and had more depth than initially could have been hoped for.

Wind blown surface

Burning out the knots in wood for these pieces adds so much character to the work.  This technique of creating frames allows for a seamless corner and with resin filling the gaps locking any weakness in the piece to strengthen it more than when it was initially crafted.


Acrylic/Resin/Refurbished wood


River Pillows

Reach into the water and grab that sucker

The rocks and placement of this fish are one of my favorite works so far along the veins of the most straightforward pieces I can present with the rocks reflecting the trout’s shadow. The spots for a brown trout having an interlocking connection to them to represent the back of the fish.  The frame was left being the light wood color so the rocks play well with the contrast of the frame.  There weren’t too many hard lines when working on the rocks so the idea to title this one “River Pillows” was a moment of panic perhaps being under the gun rather than just giving it a title of Rock Shadow #whatever.DSC_2974 The idea of having the rocks placed to a distinct side of the fish allows the artist to put a shadow on the dorsal fin of the   trout that helps push the three dimension of the fish. Having created four of these with the trout turning the same way had me setting up a presentation that had the four different fish swimming in a circle, perhaps around a bigger piece that has been created.  It is a reality check to have the next paintings with the fish turning the other direction.  With the Rock Shadow series that is coming to be, the three dimension it seems is pushed even more with every painting.  With the tail flopping to the side gives the work a presence that makes the fish easy to imagine it is just taking the current as it comes and adds a real lifelike quality to the piece.  Choosing a fly for the painting always has me leaning towards bigger and bolder flies to add a fly’s shadow to the work or making it easier for the viewer to correlate the work with fly fishing culture.  The ends of the frame are burnt and not left to the openness of the them being created with just a saw and not considered for the presentation, is not what the work should represent.  When the ends of the wood pieces are scorched the grains of the wood are more pronounced and the beauty of their different layers are accentuated.



Acrylic/Resin/Refurbished Lumber

Shadow Rock #1


The rock shadow idea is a cross over from painting the shadow on the bottom of the painting and pushing perspective to to really have the trout come out in three dimension.  There is a problem with too many shadows and having the raw idea of a trouts shadow on top of the rocks.  The problem is with a hard light on the side of the piece, the trout creates its own shadow and flattens out the side of the fish.  The solution: Create a bottom of the rocks that is darker rocks and not just have the trout’s shadow hitting the bottom of the painting but making the rocks as the bottom of the painting the fish’s shadow.  I have yet to see this done in a painting and the tie in to the fish is all a part of the image that is being conveyed.  Straying away from the poetry a little bit in this piece lends more to a humorous approach with five different flies on the surface and the trout coming up to take the smallest one.  This scenario has happened to me so many times in Montana and to finally scale down to the tiny midge patterns is all the fish will take.  Throwing everything in the fly box at the trout who are educated and not to be taking just any ordinary fly.


The rustic appeal of using Montana refurbished lumber creates not only a frame that the patron doesn’t have to buy but the corners are seamless and the back of the painting for hanging is rock solid.  I have yet to do it but I am pretty sure I could be throwing these things off of a 12 story fire escape and having them come away fairly unscathed.  The resin closes the gaps in the wood and locks the painting into the lumber as one absolutely solid piece.


The cutthroat trout is getting to be one of my favorite trout to paint.  the spots are pronounced and there is a burnt sienna tinge to their backs.  The fins can have a reddish cast to them as well and create that warmth that defines a sunny day on the river.


Kevin Ashe Piece

Finished (look close you will see Kevin’s name in the resin)

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.

Kevin etching as a kid in old house
Proof of Kevin’s presence in the old homestead

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

Part of the house the Ashes grew up in

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.

Current State


Action in a painting can be rather mundane at times with an atmosphere that is tranquil or serene.  Perhaps that is the mood, the painting is trying to evoke.  The idea of working with the resin medium lends itself to a wide variety of atmospheres the work is displaying to make that is supposed to come through in the refraction lines and disturbed final layer of the resin.  To transmit more movement a light paint is applied and that takes us to the piece “Current State”.

IMG_1975The most intriguing part about this piece for me is the body of the fish and the three dimension that is coming through the action lines of the water.  The tail section, and the very slight light to dark from the side of the fish to the top is on point for this idea.  The circles around the fly is perhaps a painterly move to draw more attention to the surface of the painting and the idea of the trout’s objective being apparent to nab the fly.  Around the painting on the inside of the frame is a red line to help draw in the viewer and lead the eye throughout the work.  The rocks on the bottom of the painting are created with oil paints and to have oil and acrylic in the same work is a hard thing to find in the art world since they do not blend and have different bases in their composition.  An acrylic painted fish on top of the piece will have a lighter feel and not as much body as this work shows the difference in the two mediums.  The rocks are left with a softer brush to be in direct contrast to the trout’s sharp lines that are suspended above them.  A rustic piece that exemplifies the passion for fly fishing.  It is meant to be hung vertical as if having an arial view of the action below.  The resin slops over on the side of the frame and I appreciate the fact that is does to create a space that is meant for the frame but comes from the painting and therefore leads to the question of is the resin a part of the frame of a part of the painting and how can those two things go together.  It makes me want to open a frame shop that splatters resin on other paintings and has a frame that goes around the outside that has resin on it too.  Shark tank here I come.





Gallatin River 10/17/17



The Fall season, Axtell Bridge, leaves floating down the river in sudden torrents.  The warm color palette from the turning trees and bushes christen the banks of one Montana’s most cherished streams.  This is the perfect opportunity to create or just exist.

This painting is getting back to the river and appreciating the fall season.  Dark undertones are the combination of Burnt Umber and Payne’s Grey, and if you look close you will see a slight hint of teal to play off of the blue color at the far end of the stream.  Throughout the work is the warmth of the day brought about with a monochrome of Burnt Sienna.  There was a lot of water on the painting that comes from the river and it helps with the blending of colors.  This move of having more water being present on the painting creates a more subtle manner than the starkness of the strikes of paint themselves without interference.  The paint was drying in the right amount of time and transport was simple as I am loving the fact of having the easel on the river and having it be more about the process of the painting.


Gallatin River 10/17/17 18″x24″ Acrylic on Lexan

Gallatin River, Montana, Flycast Painting, Fall, Two Paintings in One, Water, Outside, Art,