A Salty End before the next Journey

In Montana a person is at the head waters of the mightiest river in in the western hemisphere, the Mississippi River. It is an amazing thought to imagine getting in your dug out canoe, putting it in the uppermost part of the Gallatin River near the continental divide, and in a few months, you will be dining at one of the finest restaurants in New Orleans. Just like that movie, Almost Heroes- “Sir, the food alone is worth the trip.” Searching for the spots that are at the heart of bigger bodies of water is as if an omnivore has discovered the babies in a nest. From a fisherman’s point of view the fish will get much larger the further downstream one is to wander. A fly fisherman’s point of view is to imagine the different entomology up and down that stream to catch tiny grayling with a midge at the top of the Gallatin River and marlin and stripers with foot long streamers at the end of the Mississippi. Why isn’t there a show that targets one river for an entire season? Some different flies for every occasion of species to be caught. I don’t know why I am talking more and more about watersheds of late. I marvel at the differences in colors, moods, and atmospheres that stream’s water can dictate. Even the small sound of water in a Japanese garden isn’t the largest flow but adds the perfect amount of ambiance and rhythm to a convention center in the middle of a city. As waterfalls are an attraction of unrest and power, rivers have an almost primal attraction about them. To hear the sounds a stream is making is almost a call of unrest for predators to where trout can be caught. Prey species will have to congregate to adapt and adjust to the structures or differences in a stream that has a drop off, or pool that is out of the ordinary from an even straight stream bottom.

The differences that make a river system work, is the same information of moving water for painters and fishermen to be drawn to. Where there is unrest, fishermen flock and a subliminal connection between the capture of prey and the understanding of that body of water is taken in. Take that up another notch and when looking for predators focus on the unrest in streams where their prey will reside and we find more predators. Predator is a loose term but it is an idea of taking rather than giving perhaps when it comes to the hierarchy of those that are eating and consuming over those that are all doing the same thing but the buck stops at the top in that scenario. To find the folks that are in charge of what happens along the bank of a stream is where the paintings need to be made. Consume and take in a fly cast painting that is being created in the places of unrest that draw predators to prey and the predators to places for predators. These paintings that are created in the manner in which the prey is harvested with a fly rod is a double intrigue to the predator persuasion. Another topic of discussion is trout being held at the mercy of the streams in Montana. When the rivers freeze over the long winters, and the the sudden run off begins, there are ice rounds the size of single wide trailers rolling down the stream. Like a steam roller crushing everything in its path as it goes rolling down the once simple flow of water has become a wild torrent of a hard icy rocks smashing river’s bottom and changing that river for the upcoming, calmer part of the season. In these conditions it would be impossible to create a fly cast painting in these conditions and predators would be hard to find.


What is in a River's palette?

The space any place presumes, gives power to allowing art to create that space, or be reminiscent of the place the art represents. Like a river system cascading over various rock formations the effects that watershed can have will be completely different up and down its entire length. A lot of a river’s characteristics is dependent on different tributaries and have a whole nether scenario taking place in their upper reaches. Take the Sauk River out of Darrington WA for instance, on a sunny day, in the summer, the upper reaches it is a red and gold color. Ten miles below that stretch the river takes on a green tinge that dominates the overall color, especially from a distance. The minerals, vegetation, the tea color that resides behind beaver dams all play into special atmospheres that rivers embody. These are light characteristics of what fashions a river’s color. A more dramatic color effect is the fact that more volatile rivers cascade through plains of sediment that come from volcanoes protruding from the earth. When the same river takes on more of a flow the unrest is undeniable in preparing for the deposits of erosion that will dictate the feel of the atmosphere that makes each river a different mood, and place to realize. Some folks prefer a slow river that calms down the meditation, and other smaller streams have a variety of more surprises with a laughing flow, a light wind to keep the bugs down and a different set up at each pool like a house with a work of art dominating each room and setting the stage for them to have a certain feature that sets them apart from other rooms. An idea for a very large scale painting will be to map out an entire river system with a mounted fly cast painting on each river as it comes down the wall. The paintings will be small in the upper parts of the small tributaries and become bigger as the eyes follow the lines down the different paintings to the bottom larger paintings. The paintings put together, to show the watershed, would be a direct understanding of the different moods and colors that put forth the similarities and differences that a stretch of water can have in its variance from other parts of the same system. Imagine looking at that wall and understanding the fly cast painting and even being indoors becoming a little bit closer to a stream from an artist’s perspective and technique through fly cast painting.

Stillaguamish River’s headwaters

Stillaguamish River’s headwaters