Sunday, November 20, 2011

No Artistic Value Whatsoever

This post has no artistic redeeming value at all. If you read this blog for its artwork and creative insight, skip this one. It is about white lies and tall tales. It is about..........fishing.
I write this because I had a fluke extraordinary experience. I had slept in and skipped the opening day of deer season but wanted to see my hunting compadres and share the stories so I drove to the "camp" arriving at lunch. No deer. "Haybale Farm Doyle" that I mention in some of my earlier posts, strolls in and asked if anyone wanted to catfish instead of hunt that afternoon. Didn't have to ask me twice. I'm in.
Stinky Bait
I actually wanted to see the river more than anything and if we caught a few fish, win win. I had not been on the river in a few years. I sold my boats and committed to this addiction of plein air painting so haven't made the effort to ride the river like I used to. I had not seen it since the flood of last year so I was very curious as to the extent of the damage. And let me just say that in areas it was profound, shocking. And then in others you never would have known it even rained. The volume of water and the power and force of it is still incomprehensible. Anyway, my trusty guide had the boat full of poles and "stinky bait". For those of you who have never used stinky bait, I am not quite sure how to describe it. I do believe this though: that it was developed by the military at some point to spread on a battle field and run everybody off of it. It is the most permeating, rancid, gummy, vile material I have experienced. If you get it on you, you will smell it days later no matter how hard you try to remove it. And catfish love it. And we eat catfish. Yeah, I know. After baiting, which consisted of sticking a spongey tube with a treble hook at the end in the bucket of stinky bait, withdrawing it and casting away, we got in to them. 23 fish later, all Chanel Catfish, sun was setting and we motored home. But in the time between the 23 fish, I saw some of the most gorgeous sights I have seen. Everything from Bald Eagles to Gar apparently spawning, not sure, but they would breach the surface of the water in acrobatic flips and spins. And some were at least two and a half to three feet long. I had never seen them do that. Pretty impressive creature. But by far and away the most attractive and impressive sight was the river landscape. If I thought I could logistically and financially do it, the river would be my one subject to paint. I ask artists I meet that have travelled and painted the world if they had one place left they had to paint the rest of their lives where would it be? Me, the Duck River. It's moody, earthy, colorful, ancient. And changing all the time. I saw millions of paintings in a 3 hour trip. Imagine how many over a lifetime.


Saturday was one of those rare days, like finding money on the street. Didn't plan on it, couldn't re-create it if you had to, but grateful it happened.

7 comments:

Janet Paden said...

Doesn't is just drive you crazy sometimes, to see thousands of possibilities for paintings, and no way to get around to them all! I hope to see some of those scenes from the Duck River in your painting soon.
Oh, I love catfish! I once slept over night on the bank of the Duck River after we had set out a bunch of trot lines. We were listening for the catch. Don't remember if we caught anything, but I remember waking up pretty wet from the heavy dew.

Kevin Menck said...

That's Hilarious! The worst sound in the world was when we had trot lines out and it would be getting late and everyone was tired and Doyle would start with," Bait Up! Let's Go! Time to Bait Up!" The older we got the less we thought we needed to Bait Up! all night.

Denise Rose said...

Love it Kevin! My hubby is a fly fisherman and we spend a lot of time on the Little Red River in Arkansas, so I know just what you mean. I plan to spend time out there this upcoming spring painting more. Great fishing story and I love the comparison to "finding money on the street." So true!

René PleinAir. said...

[quote]But by far and away the most attractive and impressive sight was the river landscape. If I thought I could logistically and financially do it, the river would be my one subject to paint. I ask artists I meet that have travelled and painted the world if they had one place left they had to paint the rest of their lives where would it be? Me, the Duck River. It's moody, earthy, colorful, ancient. And changing all the time. I saw millions of paintings in a 3 hour trip. Imagine how many over a lifetime.[/quote]

No no artistic value whatsoever, ... hehehe thanks for this lovely insight.

J Joy Nocifora said...

Kevin I have smelled that stinky bait and it is truly disgusting, but I have eaten many a blue channel cat that that stuff attracted to a trot line.
And as for that stinky stuff having no artist value... just maybe it does indirectly... it was part of your Duck River experience. A sense of place that an artist tries to capture is made up of sights, sounds, feelings and yes smells. Your Duck River sounds like an artist and fisherman's paradise.

Lisa said...

Thanks for a great post! I can see the river in a new light. I love the photo of the gray trees with the warm sun spots....that's going to look so nice as a painting!

Anonymous said...

No artistic value is correct. I was an
avid reader but am rapidly fading. Very few posts over the last while and now you seem to think folks are interested in what your fishing bait smells like. GD