After The Storm

After The Storm - student project

After The Storm - image 1 - student project

I have always found watercolors to be part of my nature. Being a water sign and having always lived near the water gives me the assurance that I am in the right element. I do not fish but I know from personal experience and acquaintances that the fly fisher is very much akin to the watercolorist. 



The  FLY  ROD and the PAINT BRUSH. Are close cousins of the fluid stroke and the fluid  cast. Water is their medium.Nature is their  mentor and the catch is the bait that keeps them returning to the  river again and again.

These two disciplines are in many ways a secret society. A union of skill and flourish that does not come easily but when mastered is a delight which enraptures the soul.

It can also be the most frustrating  experience of your life. Water,moving water is the key element for success, Know your water know what it can do for your  fly rod and your brush. If you ignore the part that H2O plays you will end up out of control.

Line tangled, paint muddy, fish laughing and taunting you.nature intimidating you. a frustrating experience with little fruit for your labor.

Labor is the key word here because if you labor at it you kill it. You are probably not going to catch much with an artificial fly and the mindset of a lure dangling in the water waiting for a big fat trout to wander by and bite.

The fly must be cast with skill-flicked/ drawn/thrust/hurled -It must tease  imitate a food source and entice the hungry acrobat beneath the water to project its writhing body upwards out of its world and strike.This is fly fishing the  complete anglers dream  and there is nothing like it when it comes together... except watercolor painting.

After The Storm - image 2 - student project

The  magic of watercolor is found in the  immediate response to the wetness of the paper the purity of the color and the deftness of the brush. There is only one mistake you can make and that is to try and control the natural properties of the water. You have to stay in the background at the end of your brush much like the angler at the end of his rod.

The action takes place on the surface of the water away from you  and you have to feel and observe not control  and fuss. The paper is saturated with water. The brush is  charged with pure pigment and thrust, flicked,and maneuvered across the receptive surface of the  paper.

There is no turning back you are committed and you have 15 to 30 minutes  for the image to surface, start drying, and  and be transformed.

What it will look like is always a mystery until it has set and dried just as the fly rod enthusiast  doesn’t know his catch until they cradle it in their hands.

At the end of the day the catch and release is the same. The silver speckled contestant is returned to it’s home and the sparkling paper gem is released to its new home… a frame

After The Storm - image 3 - student project

Detail of painting outdoors in Winter. Flicking, dashing, flowing, and melting together...the essence of watercolor.

Ron Mulvey✏️
Artist / Art Teacher