Posts Tagged ‘fishing’

The river is low and clear and fisherman have been testing their luck at the Falls of the Ohio.  It’s one of those situations where even if the fish aren’t biting, it’s still wonderful to be out in nature.  Sightseers have been moving along the riverbank and on this occasion I have come across other sculptures that while they aren’t mine…may have been inspired by what I do out here? 

Visitors have “recycled” one of my old pieces and made this work that I call “Jack Daniels” based on the empty whiskey bottle stuck in the sand by its feet!  It’s a decidedly tipsy work and seems to sport what I think may be an improvised ice pack on its head.  The turned-wood cane steadies the piece and provides much-needed support.  Perhaps the same person or persons did this other sculpture near “Jack”?  It may be either a robot constructed from stacked rocks or maybe an image of a small television with antennae balanced on stacked rocks?  It doesn’t really matter.  I responded to the sight and added it to my collection of images of “Other People’s Art Made at the Falls”.  Over the years, I have also collected pictures of what other folks have made and left with materials indigenous to this area.  Actually, I’m surprised that I don’t come across more of the stacked rock works since that seems like such a universal human thing to do.

Appearing with more regularity are the Ring-billed Gulls that move into our area once the weather begins to cool.  I observed a large flock with their distinctive white dot on black wing tips flying above me in a slowly circling ball.  Maybe they were getting their bearings on their way to other areas? Anyway, a few stray birds peeled away from the drifting flock and remained in the immediate area.  I photographed this juvenile Ring-billed Gull standing in shallow water near a small Styro-fisherman I had constructed.

When I come out here, I try to make something from the debris I come across.  I usually always feel better about life in general when I’m engaged in creating an artwork.  Here’s the fisherman figure I made on this day.  He is standing on beaver-chewed willow legs as is the pole he holds.

Although I have made many fishing figures over the years, this one was inspired by that day’s finds.  Walking the riverbank, I assembled a small collection of soft-bodied jigs lost by real fisherman.  The river works them loose from wherever they are snagged and beaches them lead-head and all.  The curving tails are intended to flutter through the water once they are reeled in.  It’s an effective movement that fish find hard to resist.

I selected the one that looks like a blue minnow and because it also had a nice length of monofilament attached to it… added it to my work.  I carried the piece along the shoreline and photographed it by the water.  I drew a few quizzical looks and even a laugh or two from real fishermen!

Here’s another image that shows the figure in the context of the larger landscape.  The old railroad bridge in the background has become such a presence in so many of my photographs.  Until next time…

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Fishing on the fossil rocks, 7/09

All along the Indiana bank at the Falls of the Ohio, fisherman were having success.  The water level had dropped and is approaching its summer pool.  Soon it will be possible to cross over and explore the world on the Kentucky side.  I can hear the high pitch sounds of the Eastern Kingbird and marvel at how fearless they are as they dive-bomb the vultures trying to catch thermals on their way up.  There’s plenty of food for scavengers, because the fishermen are wasteful.  When they leave there’s a feast waiting for them.

Stringer of fish, 7/09

This was the most impressive stringer of fish I saw today…but I wouldn’t want to eat any of them.  It’s advised that you avoid making a meal of the larger, older bottom dwelling fish in the river.  Although things are supposed to be getting better…there’s still toxins and metals that are present in their tissues.  The species on this stringer include:  a flathead catfish, freshwater drum, carp, and what I think are highfin carpsuckers on the left.  Methods being used include both natural baits (cut-up shad and chicken liver) as well as casting with artificial lures (florescent jigs).  I walked the bank picking up the odd item I could use and went and found my studio. 

native man, 7/09

native man, detail, 7/09

This is the figure that walked out of today’s  junk found on the riverbank.  The starting point was a broken hairbrush I pinned onto the head.  A butternut split in half forms the mouth and a plastic cap from an ink pen is the nose.  I created a cloak from a piece of flexible foam packing material I found nearby.  I associate this figure with the indigenous people that once  fished here for thousands of years…and could safely eat the fish!  Finding the sticks to give the arms and legs gesture took up most of the time in making this piece.  Even when you are standing on mountains of driftwood finding the right expressive stick can drive you crazy.  I also photographed plastic containers and other junk stranded by the retreating waters.  As someone reminded me recently, the native people lived here forever in a virtual paradise and in a little more than two hundred years we have trashed the place up pretty good.  Here’s an image that’s proof of that.  The drum is obvious, but the black sand you see is actually coal dust.

blue plastic drum, 7/09

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