Category Archives: Fish

Sun Catcher

Sun Catcher

Sun Catcher

The graceful dolphin’s arched leap over the sun catches the fading light that will soon turn into night. My wife likes owls and hummingbirds. She also likes dolphins and whales. This painting is for her. I did this painting in one day on three pine board planks glued together.

The River Breathes

via Daily Prompt: Better

I wrote the below narrative back in 2015 after a river trip. I think it is appropriate for the daily prompt word “BETTER”. My blog here is an archive of my paintings. My story below are words only. I have a deep appreciation for people who can paint their stories with words. I think I will stick to painting 🙂

Sep 10th 2015

Early morning rain drops began to hit our camp. The drops steadily increased splatting harder on our overhead canopy. The clouds got thicker and grayer, and the rain picked up speed. I was thinking this will be our second float day. Why? Why must it rain today? We had already finished our breakfast, but now the rain was in sheets. The outfitter bus was scheduled to pick us up at 10:30 am at our camp. As I watched a fat little wood chuck rob something from a few camps down and wattle his way back towards the river bank, I thought we still might have a chance to float today. It would burn off I told myself. Our bus arrived, and we loaded our gear and headed north. As we headed upward on the winding up and down snake back road the clouds were breaking up and slivers of sunlight shined through the rugged tree line. Yes, I thought this is going to work. It wasn’t long after we were standing at the Akers Ferry put in. My wife and I never get tired of floating the Current River, and this is a real good 9 mile stretch of it. I have floated this river since I was 15 and I’m now 59, and each time is different. The river has it’s own beating pulse and life with each time of the year, day, hour and minute. Blue sky was now starting to overtake the odd shaped puffy clouds above. Bulging gray rain clouds were still rolling by, so I was still a bit wary of a cold wet blast. No matter, the magic of the river was pulling us to go in, and that dominated any other emotion. The morning rain cleared the humid air and the temperature dropped nicely. Two days earlier on our first float further down the river we seen abundant wildlife. Numerous striped bass, blue heron, king fisher, ducks, turtles, beaver, otter and more. The air was also teaming with dragonfly and butterfly. We expected the same this day and we were not disappointed. The water was swift on our first float, and I knew it would be even faster today. The slope of the river increases the further up you go. It was running perfect and slightly high. We anxiously sat in our canoe and shoved off. As we traveled down and picking up speed, I glanced back and I couldn’t get over how evident the downward slope of the river was? I wasn’t sure if it was an illusion or actual, but I almost felt I was on an escalator. We were moving at a great clip now. With patches of thick clouds still rolling by and cool air slipping over our skin we couldn’t stop smiling. Love this river! I barely had to use the oar to paddle, and mainly only used it as a steering device. Even in the widening flatter parts of the river we were moving at a good pace. On many occasions, I stood up. Standing gives a much greater vantage point when you look downward into the river. Of course, this made my wife a little a little nervous, so I was limited on this practice. This stretch of the river does have some tricky bits to negotiate from time to time. Large root wads and boulders sneakily hide just below the surface of the water, and so what looks like a harmless ripple from way back, can be a trap. After running a few little white caps through some twists in turns of the river, we heard an increasingly louder roar from around a coming bend. We had little time to react to what was lying ahead. The river straightened a bit, and I was standing once again to survey our choice of routes. The left bank had a narrow passage with deep roaring water slamming into the high hillside, and the white caps turned sharply with a hard right and out of sight. This canoe size wide passage had a very large round root wad the size of a car with another passage next to it. Next to the root wad and further right was a downed tree with large limbs spreading up and outward in all directions. Moving further right and just passed the middle of the river you could tell the river was starting to get very shallow as it moved to the right bank. This water was still running fast and hard, but you could start to see the surface gravel glisten in the sun. I almost chose that point of entry, but thought it might be to risky with the fast water pushing us into those tree limbs. I had to think fast now. I had to choose between going through the narrow passage of the tree and root wad, or the root wad and the hillside bank on the furthest left. Both options had their own unique peril. Now I had no choice but to commit. I chose between the root wad and tree. Just wide enough for our canoe to pass through, I told my wife to spread her feet wide for stability. I aimed our torpedo canoe to the  target. No turning back now we were being sucked in with uncontrollable speed. Everything at this point becomes sort of a blur because a large fear of flipping suddenly becomes very apparent. You just feel like a helpless baby at this point, and just hope for the best. The water was loud and ferocious as it slammed our vessel hard into the root wad kicking us hard right into a large tree limb to the right of us. The canoe first tipped hard left and then hard right. It was a balancing act with two rag dolls flailing wildly about in all directions. We were bouncing hard atop white water with it’s fierce loudness and anger. Telling us you don’t belong here. Feeling like a hocked loogie it kicked us out of it’s clutches and bellowed towards us not to try that again. Hearts still racing a little we were able to have a sigh of relief. That was a close one because we did nearly flip which would have been a disaster at that speed. With the humidity still lingering, there were at times real thick patches of mist floating on top of the water. The air was cool when we passed through them. Some would hauntingly climb up the hillsides off the river. The river is alive and it breathes. A lone blue heron standing about 2 feet tall stays just ahead of us soaring just inches above the water, it’s 6 foot wing span let’s it glide effortlessly above the water. King fisher dives into the river grasping fish along the way. Circling above us are a few buzzards. Not a flap in there wings, they just float on the rising thermals. As we sat listening to nature with not another person on this river with us, I was thinking. All the people going to the Caribbean, Australia, Europe and other exotic locations on this wonderful planet, and here we were on this magnificent river in our backyard. Yes…we made the right choice. It’s a beautiful day. What could be  Better ?! 🙂

Salmon Fishing Reflections

salmon-fishing

I made this painting for my good friend Don whom I’ve known for 40 years as of this year 2017. Don, since I know you love Salmon fishing, I decided to make a painting for you. Besides, what is the point of painting if you can’t share it with the people special to you in your life. I really racked my brain on what I wanted to paint, and then it just came to me. This painting is on two small cedar planks. Hope you like it Don, and I will have it in the mail to you soon. I wish I could hand deliver it, but Oregon is little far for me right now. I will be there to see you some time though, so have an extra pole and lures ready for me! Your friend for life…Kevin 

P.S I learned from the first photo of taking this painting to not take it in artificial light. The detail of the painting won’t come out as good and it won’t have a yellow sheen to it. I retook the photo in natural light and it made a much better picture I think.

 

 

 

Super Moon Over Missouri Wetlands

supermoon-over-missouri-wetlands

I have dedicated this painting to the Super Moon. I call it “Super Moon Over Missouri Wetlands”.

While Super Moons aren’t unusual, having three back to back to back in one year is. These three occurred October 16th, November 14th and December 14th, 2016.

The biggest of three Super Moon events was on November 14th. That hasn’t happened since 1948! The next Super moon of this magnitude will happen again after 18 years on Nov. 25th, 2034. The next Super Moon will be next year on December 3rd, 2017. The closest Super Moon of the century will occur on December 6th, 2052. If I make it that long I will be 95 years old. Yikes!  I have no idea the next time when there will be three in one year?

I’m from Missouri, and wanted to showcase a part of its land diversity that doesn’t get much attention…the wetlands. So, I  chose the wetlands of Missouri to be the back drop for the Super Moon. I think Missouri is better known for its rolling hills and bluffs of the Ozarks. Missouri has eight types of natural wetlands: swamps, shrub swamps, forested wetlands, marshes, wet meadows, fens and seeps, pond and lake borders and stream banks. I sort of blended some of these together.

I also included an eagle and green heron ( related to the blue heron), in it. The eagle has his eye on the heron snagging a fish. The scene is fictitious, but in my mind it plays out. I have seen plenty of blue herons on the many Ozark river float trips I have taken, and there are plenty of eagles to be seen in Missouri as well. This is the wonder of painting. The act of creating anything you want. I try to mix both realistic and made up scenarios when I paint.

I wasn’t sure how it was going to end up looking, because I made the scene up as I went and wasn’t really sure where I was going with it? That is the other fun part of painting for me. Just letting things unfold as it comes. I’m happy with the outcome. I used three long pine planks for this project. This is my final painting for 2016. I did 23 paintings since February. Thank you to everyone who have seen them, and especially to those who made comments as well. I appreciate the feedback.

Owl Mountain

owl-mountain

I call this painting Owl Mountain. My wife loves owls, and we both love nature. I wanted to paint a painting dedicated to owls for her. I didn’t want to just paint a single owl. I wanted this painting to exploit owls in some kind of new way. At first, I couldn’t figure out how to do that. I was having painter’s block. I wanted to be outside the box on this one.

Then one day, out of nowhere it had hit me. We recently took a trip to Colorado, and the Rocky Mountains and Pikes Peak were still fresh in my mind. This is how I came up with Owl Mountain. I wanted to combine a mountain range with some owls. So, I started to formulate a plan for the scene in my head. All kinds of thoughts started to pour in. This painting is a culmination of those ideas. These are not the Rocky Mountains. They are made from my thoughts only. A fictitious place dedicated to owls.

The owls are actually part of the mountains, like the wood I paint on is part of the art. When you think of it, this isn’t to odd. Presidents are carved into Mount Rushmore, so to me (albeit weird), this wasn’t to out of the ordinary. This mountain pays tribute to owls in a grand and unusual way. Frankly, if there was such a place…I would like to visit. All said and done, I accomplished what I set out to do I think. My wife thinks so as well, and she really loves this painting. Satisfied. I can now move on to my next painting quest.

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Eagle

Eagle.jpg

The American bald eagle. What an amazing creature. I just had to paint this guy. I made up the background, but I was inspired by the infinity pool I had seen when I was at Johnson Shut-Ins two weeks ago. The eagle is in action eyeing his river prey. Soon he will have his fish in his mighty claws. No escape. I used seven cedar wood planks in vertical fashion. I wanted to enhance the river violently going over the falls, and thought by placing the wood planks vertically that it might help? I’m not sure it helped at all, but I don’t think it hurt either. It’s a fictious scene for sure, but I think it’s not to far off the mark. A similar situation may play out on any day in Alaska for instance. There are many Bald Eagles nesting near where I live here in the American midwest. There are also many eagle watching places and days here to spot this magnificent animal. Mainly in the spring, fall and winter months. For me, painting nature in action is my favorite subject. I’m still learning how to splash acrylic paint around together to learn what it does. It dries fast, so you sort of have to be quick with your decision of what you want from it. Again, I’m no teacher on the subject. Quite the opposite. I’m just trying to encourage anyone looking at my paintings that maybe some day they could give it a try. Of course, you will mess up, but like anything else with each try it builds a little more confidence to try again. You might surprise yourself on your abilities. Over thirty years ago I started out with water colors and poster boards. That medium doesn’t cost a lot of money if cost is a concern. For that matter acrylic isn’t that expensive either. Oil painting is a different story and it will eat you alive. Back then, living in the military on base with a couple small kids it was a concern. So, painting with water color was a cheap and fun outlet for me. Then I got away from it for decades until this year where I have gone ape painting on wood with acrylic paint. I never knew my love for wood would be incorporated with painting. Glad I stumbled on it. So, whoever is looking at this, consider grabbing a paint brush and let your imagination flow through your hands. For me it makes me look at the world through a sharper lens. I find myself focusing more on what a cloud looks like or a tree or whatever. Stuff that we just take for granted on a daily basis all of sudden comes alive a little more. Like the blog says….Shine On, and don’t be dulled by what others think.

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The River

The River

This painting is quite large (4 feet long x 2 feet high). It’s a depiction of what I remember from the current river. This river I have floated what seems like a hundred times in my lifetime. There are many high bluffs along its path. There are a few caves and trails along its many miles. Birds like King Fisher, Great Blue Heron, Hawks, Owls and Buzzards are also plentiful. The clear spring water contains a variety of fish as well. There are snakes and turtles and beaver too. It’s a beautiful river, so it was easy for me to paint from memory. Spending several days with some overnight camping on its gravel bars is a wonderful experience. Did you notice I even put a fire at the bottom left of the painting? I have dedicated this painting to my dear niece Angie, who also floated this river on many occasions. The canoe in the painting has the number 47 painted on its bow. It represents the age of Angie who unexpectedly and tragically passed while I was painting this. I do get a little emotional when I look at it. I love it for the river of course, but now I always think of Angie when I see it. Love you Angie.  Always and Forever….Uncle Kevin.

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What Whales Do At Night

What Whales Do At Night

Sometimes I feel a little weird. I think this painting reflects that. I really have no idea how this theme popped into my brain? It just felt right at the time, so I went with it. Two whales playing soccer with one another in the ocean under the moonlight. What is unusual about that? I decided to go black and white with this one. I kind of like the silhouette effect, so I may be using it more often. Bottom line is painting gives me freedom to express and freedom to escape. As I said in an earlier post it’s actually therapy for me. I love creating, and another reason I am sharing this blog is in the hope that it inspires you to create. Even if you think you have no artistic talent. You do. If you give painting a go, start out simple. Start with simple landscapes. Nature is a great way to hide mistakes. Questioning on how a tree should look or hill or rock, log or whatever is hard to do. In nature, imperfections are what make it perfect. So, just experiment and don’t be hard on yourself. I have never had professional training. I am self-taught. For now, I just hope I made you smile a little and inspire you to create something.

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Alaskan King Salmon

Alaskan King Salmon

This painting is for one of my great nephews (Donovan). He is the son of my niece who I painted a Panda for. He likes fish. So, I decided to paint some Alaskan King Salmon making their way. To me at a distance the water below the fins of the fish appears to be moving. It’s just another unintentional optical illusion. I also left the top of the painting unpainted to leave the exposed wood. About an inch of it shown. The knotty grain enhances this painting real well I think.

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