Fishing ELIXIR

Fishing ELIXIR, verse by les booth; reference photo by Bill Elliott | eLITHOGRAPH  17″x15″

A ‘Throw Back‘ photo caught my eye when it was posted by ‘Friend-Not-Yet-Met’, Bill Elliott. As many of my FB Friends know, such a collision of image and timing – can generally dislodge a story, poem, haiku or some sort of textual creation.

This event, was no different.

Taking the image and recreating it as an eLITHOGRAPH and composing a few lines of verse to fulfill the promise of story – combining them – I built the following full image montage – recapping Bills illustrious career as a top sporting life illustrator, painter and spokesman for outdoor activities.

eLITHOGRAPH: ‘Fishing ELIXIR’ measures 17″x15″.

Thanks to Bill Elliott for the inspiration and the ability to fill, quite nicely, another slot among my Facebook Gallery,

‘Artist in-Situ’, as well as permission to create from his original image.

Enjoy.  – AOJ





Why Fishing Makes Me Smile

Why Fishing Makes Me Smile
Image courtesy Diane Michelin
Prose by Les Booth

Each time I reach for a brush, I access water in the process.

Each time I reach for a color to bring life to the image growing before me, I am casting to a rising thought;  a potential inspiration.

Each time I enlist imagination to see the thin, spare line between what is and what can be, I am watching for the tell-tale trace of the heart-beat just beneath the surface.

Each time I feel the connection between an artistic vision and the viewer’s joy, I am feeling the strike of primordial energy connecting to feed and sustain the species.

Each time I stand back to observe the image forming on the easel, I see the beauty of life at the edge of the water – beckoning me to engage, drink and realize possession is but a temporary illusion.

Each time I prepare to consign art into a new environment, I taste the twin pang of pleasure and loss, while remembering this bit of truth:

  ‘Tis mine in mind, ephemeral as the mist.

  ‘Tis we – forever bound –  as inseparable: genetic.

Each time I remember, each time I remember.

Each time,  I know.  I am connected through art and water.

Each time I fish — I am haunted by memory… and I smile.


Every story has in its innards a story just hoping to be heard.  The story for this collaboration tells of serendipitous inspiration …  a comment and an image – placed on on a social media site.

Diane Michelin, Canadian water-colorist, posted on her Facebook account the image above with the comment, “Why I smile when I fish.”  

Easy enough.  A lot of us smile when we fish. But only the artists in the group understand the true meaning behind that smile of which Diane speaks.  It is a smile of devotion, passion, love and ecstasy.  As well as pain, loss, separation, disappointment and hurt.

All of these emotions are daily fraternity of the experience the artist feels when she – or he – engages with their creative juices and the object of their effort and talents.

For the artist – ‘connecting to/with water’ both important, necessary and done – in a different manner.  For the water-colorist, water IS the fuel of their medium.  Not so much with the oil, pastel, ink, color pencil artists.  The sculpture – if in clay – revisits the intimacy with water as well.  But all artists must transition concepts formed in their minds-eye to whatever surface they are working on. Those who bring water to their work, must have a deep and liquid affinity with their subject as well. Those who do, do not need explanation – their passion is spread across many disciplines  and examples for all to see.

For the artist whom also participated in  the art of fly-fishing, water is the beginning – the force – and the end,  of a multi-layered experience; all wrapped into one.  The water is the center of everything about fishing.  Water is the fishes habitat. Water is the environment the fisherman must conduct his interview with the point of his pursuit. Water is the vehicle of the fisherman’s pleasure.  Without water- there is no fishing.

The artist – who is also a fisherman – is both burdened and blessed, with a burning duty/desire to bring to life the vision of the watery world in which each fisherman pursues his or her desires afield.  To present memory and introduction is a wonderful opportunity and honor for every artist who takes up the challenge.

Thus, when the artist readies to match wits with the piscatorial delights of their favorite water way, there is so much more going on than a mere selection of equipment, reading water, battling elements, controlling adrenaline.  The artist finds themselves in a mode of recording the ‘vision’; moment; feelings; atmosphere … and action!  All the while they are satisfying their ‘inner fisherman’.

As well, the works produced by an artist, most often do not afford the artist the luxury of adorning their walls for very long.  Art is their product/commodity’/livelihood and they must move the art; sell it; in order to make a living.  Thus, connections with the art are ephemeral.  Emotions can – and often do – run deep. The very life blood of an artist is embedded in the paint they use, the stone they cut, the clay they toss, the fly they tie, the rod they build, or the story they write.

It is a temporary acquaintance the artist makes with their work. But it is becomes a life long conversation for the artist and their clients (friends!) .. all tied to the art they so enjoy.

Knowing this, it is not hard to see why when they fish … the artist cannot help but smile.

Wet Wade: CEC2010-002

 “No real-fly-fishin’-man would wear ‘wimp-assed’ waders in ‘wet-wadin’-time’ Eh?”
story ©2010 Les Booth; painting, Wading Wet, ©2010 Diane Michelin

The phone was nearing the end of its ring cycle. Two more rings and the really cool answering machine voice would engage.

“Hey Y’all! This is Curt’s sexy, silky voiced digital female assistant.  I’ll take your call, but Curt isn’t here.  He’s somewhere getting wet, freezin’ his ass off and loving it so much I have no idea when he’ll be back.  But don’t fret!  He calls me everyday; he can’t live without hearing my voice. Clearly say your name, the date you’re calling, state – clearly – what you need and leave Curt a callback number.  He’ll get back to you… ’cause you can only wet wade in 50 degree water just so long.  Thanks for calling. <Kiss!> .. Beeeeep.

Well, she’s sultry, witty and tireless.  She’s wonderful … but she didn’t get to prove it – again – this time.

“Hi. This is Curt. What can I interrupt to assist you?”

“Wow dude, you really know how to make a person feel welcome.  When did you join the International Order of Misanthropes?”

“Hey, Josh. Frick! If I’d have known it was you I’d have let CC answer the phone.”

“CC? Who’s that?  You got a new roomie or something?”

“Nah! That’s my new sexatary answering machine.  Her name is Chrome-Cathy.  I call her ‘CC’. You’d get a kick out her… knowing just how much of a perv you are!”

“Gee, thanks.”

“No problemo pard.  So, why’d you call? Surely, not to get a verbal butt kickin’ from me. Whatcha up to?”

“Well, I’m off on a fishing adventure in 3 weeks and wanted to know if you’d like to join me.”

“Where we goin’?”

“Idaho. Small drainage on the eastern side of the state. It’s remote. Quiet. No people.  And it has some of the best Cutthroat fishing this side of 1840.”

“So, where exactly in ‘eastern Idaho’ is our paradise located?”

“It’s in the Selway-Bitteroot Wilderness, just west of the Montana border. It is remote! Nearest road is 30 miles away. We have to fly in or do a hard 3 days on horseback.  This is one of – if not the most – remote area in the lower 48 states.  Mountain lion, black bear, gray wolf, elk, deer, bobcat and a whole lot more are still in abundant supply. It’s not a place for city folk.”

“When do we pack?”

“In three weeks.  Booked 2 weeks in the only lodge in the area, starting 21st July.”

“So, what do I need to bring?  I take it we’ll be doing a lot of back country hiking, right?”

“Yep. That’s all we’ll be doing.  That and overnight camping; at least 6 of the 14 days.”

“So why did you book the lodge?”

“Best place to stay. Best access to the area. Best food in 60 miles. And they’ll come get us if we get ‘stuck’.”

“OK. Just thought I’d ask.”

“Pack rod – fly only, of course.”

“Duh? Yeeaaah!”

“Count on bead-head nymphs, Stimulators, Hairs-ear nymphs.. and some gawd-awful big Wooley Buggers.  Black, dark-purple and olive w/flecks of sparkle dun in ’em.  There are the occasional Bull Trout in those waters, too.  Don’t want to pass that up, eh?”

“OK!  Sounds pretty much par-for-du-course, Bro. And thanks for the inclusion.”

“Oh and Curt, don’t forget your camera crap… OK?”

“Right!  You smart-acre! I got the ‘hint’ 10 years ago.  Just remember… I don’t ever ask anyone else to carry my ‘camera crap’ and y’all  -always-  love to look at the ‘purdy pictures’ I bring home. Eh?   Take care.  Hey! Gotta run.  Finally got hold of a live-one!  A real cash-paying victim .. uh, er…  I mean ‘client’.”

“Well, that’s good to hear.  Maybe you’ll actually pay for a beer or two on this trip. Eh?”

“Careful dude. You know which of us runs faster.  And I’d bet $2-and-a-donut’ that there are cougar where we’ll be goin’. So… just remember what ‘slow-buddies’ are for…!”

“OOOOO!  Shaking in my waders already.”

“Waders? Dude, who’ll have waders?  We’ll be there in July, ‘wet-wadin’-time’ !!  No real-fly-fishin’-man would wear ‘wimp-assed’ waders in ‘wet-wadin’-time’  Eh?????”

“Are you crazy dude? We’re talking about Idaho.. high altitude… cold mountain streams. Freeze your jewels off cold water man.  Not to mention rocks… and along with the cougars – there are rattlesnakes.  So, call me ‘wimp-assed’ all you want, but I’ll be wearing waders.”

“Hey, I’m just sayin’.”

“Gotta run. Talk with you again in a week.”

“Sure thing and thanks again .. REALLY! .. for the invite. I’m looking forward to it.”

[Two months later]

Rinnnng. Rinnng. Rinnnng. Rinnng.

“Hey Y’all! This is Curt’s sexy, silky voiced – and now really worried – digital female assistant.  I’ll take your call, but Curt isn’t here.  He’s somewhere getting wet, freezin’ his ass off and loving it so much I have no idea when he’ll be back. I thought he’d have called in …long before now.  But don’t fret! In the past he’s called me everyday; he can’t live without hearing my voice. At least… I thought he couldn’t.  You know the drill – After the ‘Beeep’, say your name clearly; state the date you’re calling and what you need. Please speak clearly as you leave Curt a callback number.  He’ll get back to you: I’m now only assuming this is still true. ‘Cause you can only wet wade in 50 degree water just so long.  Thanks for calling and please, remember Curt fondly. I certainly do. <Kiss!>

.. Beeeeep.