river why trout

Bing Redband Rainbow, 12″ x 12″ watercolor on clayboard, 2010

Fish have been a subject I’ve painted for many years. Myra Platt, my remarkably talented friend, is Co-Artisitic Director of Book-it Theater here in Seattle. She contacted me in 2010 when she began adapting David James Duncan’s novel, “The River Why”, to the stage. We talked about me possibly painting something for the set…or having some of my fish paintings hanging in the lobby of the theater. Most of the fish that I had painted up to that time were salt water fish. This was a story about the wild rivers of the NW, so it was time for me to focus on these wild rivers and the fish that swim them.
Myra’s stage adaptation of “The River Why” was brilliant. During the run of her Book-it Theater’s production, I was fortunate to meet the author, David James Duncan. Aside from being an inspiring writer, he is a passionate environmental advocate. We spoke for a long time about the current challenges facing our river systems. I was curious to know more about this “treasure trove” of wild rivers here in the NW and researched it further. This particular painting, Bing Redband, is of a Redband Rainbow Trout…and the hand tied flies above it are the ones used by fly fishermen to catch them. With the help of Bing maps, I was able to identify some of the wild river systems in Oregon and pinpoint the habitats and spawning areas of these magnificent fish.

Why Trout, watercolor on clayboard, 2010

Why Trout is the piece I did for the production. It is actually a Kootenai River Westslope Cutthroat Trout. I made a limited edition of 24″ x 48″ giclee prints from a watercolor painting I did on clayboard. One was hung in the lobby of the theater for the run of the play. It sold as a fundraiser for Book-it and another print was given to the author. Myra has the original painting…my gift to her for being simply inspirational.

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