Drawing Fish & Flies 52 – 50_Popsicle


Click the image for a better look.

Drawing Fish & Flies 52 Popsicle. One of the quintessential flies of Alaskan fishing (a modern-day classic from George Cook). My choice from last week (I am behind a week, obviously). Like the Royal Wulff from week 49, this is a great fly to draw or paint.

Notes: This fly has so much melded color that it can feel overwhelming, especially in 30 minutes or less as the DF&F52 project rules dictate. I thought about the approach, then decided that I would follow Jeff’s lead and paint a similar piece to his. I felt that it might be interesting to see two different watercolors that took a similar wash-based approach. So, that’s what I did—for 25 minutes.


Just as I was about to finish up (and feeling quite pleased with the result), I did something stupid. I broke rule #1 of painting/drawing/sculpting/anything: “Know when to stop.” I added one more wash to what was already over-saturated paper and BAM! Instant mud. I then tried to save it by blotting and BAM! No mud—and almost no underlying color, either. In a matter of seconds I went from “lookin’ good” to “look what I just killed.”

There was no way I was posting that mess, but the DF&F52 rules say “30 minutes.” So, I did the only thing that I felt I could do and channeled my inner Marc Chagall (his drawings, specifically). I first hit the paper with a few pale washes to get things juicy in the middle, but since I had no time to paint bold black lines, I just went with my trusty Derwent dark charcoal. Over that I slopped on color with a foam painter’s brush that I had in my brush container. There was enough time to hit the paper with a few key hues (and some on-paper mingling) and that was that.

Well, Chagall it ain’t, but I actually like the end result. Minimal, but I think not lacking in visual presence. So here you go, four minutes from paper to Popsicle!

Process: Charcoal (dark) and watercolor (applied with foam brush) on Canson watercolor paper.

Available: No. Brooke has claimed this one for herself, so keep it I shall.

JK’s Image: Jeff’s Popsicle here. Another piece that deeply appeals to me. I think that Jeff is ending the year with some seriously nice work.

FWIW, the two tools used for today’s panic-painting here at FF&W:



  1. Jeff Kennedy says:

    Love it JB! I really dig using the foam brush and other non typical brushes! Mysterious and unexpected results prevail! Great job brother!

  2. Jeff Kennedy says:

    The more that I look at it I am really drawn to the simple spontaneous charcoal marks!

  3. JB says:

    Jeff—Thanks, my friend. I was relying pretty heavily on mysterious and unexpected, a well as spontaneous, so good to hear that someone else likes the results, too!

  4. Jason, hello…in sharing the same ‘mud’ experience, one makes pies or starts over! Suspecting we share being ‘perfect’. our watercolor messes are safely stored out of sight (never #13’d, ever)! Presently, in creatng a digital collage of fly fishing legends*, your site was discovered. Parusing through it, the ‘Three Nights…” essay is a work from your postings which gives a descriptive ‘word picture’ of the force of the river. Passion for the overall experience is found in your story. Ergo, where I would like to request your permission in using a line from it (credits included) as an overlay of my ‘River Rocks’ painting. The project is being digitally produced (screensaver) as a get well soon gift for Tom Brokaw, an owner of my work. Have truly enjoyed your wesite Jason. Fly fishing, art and poetry are ‘spiritual siblings’to my world. Last ‘wader venture’ for me was outside of in Idaho at Wild Horse Creek Ranch where the owner has most of my originals displayed. Being disabled today does not impair my memories of many a West coast river! Brother-in-law Jason lives/guides outside of Idaho. Looking forward to hear from you at email given. Tight Lnes….Ciao, Teri

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