25 December 2009

Ice Fishing...

This painting is for Bill Anderson as a gift from his wife Judy for Christmas. I've been sitting on it for a week not to spoil the surprise. Now here it is. The subject I was given ice fishing. What can I say?

I've been ice fishing once in my life. It was when I was in my early 20's. My friend Keith, a high school buddy, and I went winter camping with our friend and ex-high school English teacher Art Froehle. Froehle is a real character and we've kept in touch after all these years.
We stayed in a tiny cabin in the woods and it was really cold that weekend, almost beyond imagination. Cold even by January in Minnesota standards. I remember painfully walking across the frozen lake to the ice fishing house with a bunch of gear. The wind was biting us to pieces and I felt that it would never end and we would never be warm. It felt like hours, and when I think of it, I imagine a version of me still out there in an eternity of cold. Inside the little house was a fire, so it was warmer. Warm enough so that I didn't worry about it being a fire on ice over a frozen lake. Froehle for some reason left Keith and I in there by ourselves to fish (maybe it wasn't big enough for three?) while he would cross country ski around the lake. I'm not certain if we were ice fishing in a "correct" way. Neither of us had any idea of what we were doing. We just sat there holding our poles.
After one a few hours, one of us actually caught a fish ... but it got away... back down the hole somehow. I was secretly relieved because I didn't know what to do with it. It was like a giant active muscular slime tube. Do you let it flop around on the ice?
...But all and all, I have fond memories of this trip.

When I made this painting I thought about what someone would enjoy about ice fishing. It wasn't hard. Sitting outside on a lake in the morning by yourself, how beautiful and peaceful.
Beth suggested I do a painting of the inside of one of the crowded little houses. I thought that would only be interesting to people who didn't ice fish. The outdoors is what an ice fisherman would be interested in.
When I asked Judy about it, she said that Bill usually sits outside on a bucket. That seems like they to do it to me.

Thank you Bill and Judy!
Thank You Art Froehle for the memorable camping trip all of those years ago...

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