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!

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