I love Winter. I loved the skiing. I loved the snow shoe hiking. I loved the ice fishing. But spring fever is in my veins now. Every Spring we make an annual trip to Tennessee to visit Ma and Pa…..ummm, I mean mom and dad. I love the Smoky Mountains. I love the Little River. I love the views from Mt. LeConte. I love it so much I put away my blocks and cutting tools for a while. I’m on a fly tying roll. Time to dust off the fly rods. Time to build some leaders. Time to get out the maps. What trails will I hit? I don’t need more gear. I don’t clean my vest or waders. Stains and dirt are a like maple leafs on a football helmet. All stand for glory days. The more holes in my vest the better. I don’t want to look like I stepped right out of a catalog. I want look like I havent slept in days. I don’t smoke cigars to look hip. I smoke em’ to keep the bugs away. No need for anything more than a pack of Swisher Sweets for that. I don’t rush down to the river. I sit on a boulder and observe. The river is like a woman who needs some attention first. Sit quietly and listen. Admire her beauty. When the time is right I step softly. I go slow. I make my first cast. Usually my first cast ends up in a tree…..rejection! I laugh. I gather myself up. I try again. Suddenly I notice it’s dark. Where did the last few hours go? I would stay but I’m thirsty. There’s a cold beer waiting at the cabin. Dad’s probably smokin’ chicken in the egg….crankin’ the Tejano. Better get busy tying flies. That’s cold weather work. I’d rather be sitting on the deck under the moonlight in Tennessee than squinting under the dim light of the kitchen wrapping feathers around tiny hooks.
K and I visit the Smokies quite often since my parents live in Wears Valley, just outside of Townsend. Smoky Mountain images are always floating around in my head so this wasnt too difficult to develop into a linocut design. But, it didnt come out as well as I would have liked. For one, my cuts were too deep in many places. I had hoped they were high enough to show up in the sky but they were not. Anyway, I’m supercritical of my work and could go on but I wont. I thought about calling this linocut “Black Jack” because I ran out of ink on the 21st print. I’ve been hand printing all my prints with a Speedball plastic baren. I just ordered two new barens the other day to experiment with. I ordered some larger sheets of linoleum. I’ll need them for the Artalicious Art Festival in a few weeks. I also ordered some heavier Rives paper than what I have been using. I used up the last of my Speedball black ink. The other day I used some of my friend’s Dick Blick ink and I think I like it a little better. It was not as thick as the Speedball brand. I use oil based ink mostly. I’m a slow worker so I like the fact that it wont dry up on my glass before I even get going. When I’m really organized and energetic the water based ink seems to work just fine. I have yet to try and paint over dried water based ink. I assume it would dissolve but I havent experimented with that yet.