With fishing as many other pursuits, success is in the details. Will I ever learn that it is crucial to check ahead for the most up to date report of the condition of the river? Even 24 hours can make a difference. For Abby’s annual Fathers Day gift of a day on the river together, with her providing the lunch and dinner on the way home, we chose the Arkansas River. Though it was still high, the prospect was for some very good fishing. While we found a few willing browns, it was tough and the wading was confined to the very edge of a heavy flow. Then the rains came and muddied the water. At the fly shop in Salida we learned that an upstream release had increased the volume by 200 cubic feet per second, almost a third again of the flow putting the trout completely off their feed. Still, spending the day fishing with your daughter is priceless whether the fishing is good or not. Dinner at the Dam Brewery in Dillon was a perfect ender.
I first was first aware of Bob Kuhn’s work when I struck out on my own as a sporting wildlife artist. In 1969 he was doing dynamic covers and story illustrations for the big three outdoor magazines. Shortly after that I saw an exhibit of his original work in a Denver gallery and bought his book The Animal Art of Bob Kuhn. I believe this was about the time he was transitioning from illustration to painting. Emulating his style would be impossible, but being inspired wasn’t.
Kuhn had a unique personal style that incorporated acrylic paint with brush and sponge with impeccable drawing. He brought to his art a completely authentic understanding of his animal subjects and their gestures that was only matched by Carl Rungius. And his decorative use of color added yet another dimension to his work.
I only talked with Bob Kuhn a few times at shows we were part of. He was warm and outgoing person. I wish I had had the chance to spend more time with him.
Going back forty-nine years to 1965, when I made a frontispiece drawing for J. Frank Dobie’s Rattlesnakes, on a weekend during army basic training in Fort Polk, Louisiana until now, I’ve contributed art to these twenty-eight books, everything from chapter drawings to dust jackets to a whole book of my work. This aspect of my career was never intended or sought out. It just sort of happened while I was painting my passions.
The Paintings of Eldridge Hardie-Art of a Life in Sport, Eldridge Hardie, Stackpole Books
The Fine Art of Angling-Ten Modern Masters, Diane Inman, Di-Les Books
Meditations on Hunting, José Ortega y Gasset, Wilderness Adventures Press
Leaves from a Steelheader’s Diary, John Alevras, Frank Amato Publications
Royal Coachman-the Lore & Legends of Fly-Fishing, Paul Schullery, Simon & Schuster
Shotguns & Shooting, Michael McIntosh, Countrysport Press
Reflections on Snipe, Worth Mathewson, Sand LakePress
Snakefoot-the Making of a Champion, Robert Wehle, The Country Press
Pick of the Litter, Bill Tarrant, Lyons & Burford
Pheasant Tales (anthology,) Countrysport Press
Dancers in the Sunset Sky, Robert F. Jones, Lyons & Burford
Bobs, Brush, & Brittanies, Joel Vance, Lyons & Burford
Where the Pools are Bright and Deep, Dana S. Lamb, Winchester Press
The Fishing’s Only Part of It!, Dana S. Lamb, Amwell Press
Pheasants of the Mind, Datus C. Proper, Prentice Hall Press
Fisherman’s Summer, & A River Never Sleeps, Roderick L. Haig-Brown, Lyons & Burford
Pheasant Hunter’s Harvest, Steve Grooms, Lyons & Burford
The Ultimate Fishing Book, Lee Eisenberg, Houghton Mifflin Company
Rattlesnakes, J. Frank Dobie, Little Brown & Company
Now You Hear My Horn, James W. Nichols, University of Texas Press
Better on a Rising Tide, Tom Kelly, The Lyons Press
Tenth Legion, Tom Kelly, The Lyons Press
Dealer’s Choice, Tom Kelly, The Lyons Press
Goldens Forever, Todd R. Berger, Editor, Voyageur Press
Upland Days, William G. Tapply, The Lyons Press
The Sultan of Spring, Bob Saile, The Lyons Press
Hunter’s Log, Timothy Murphy, The Dakota Institute Press
Art of the Cast, Anthology, Stackpole
The Unforgettables & Other True Fables, Bill Allen, Strideaway