I’ve grown up in, on, and around the water; fishing has always been a huge part of who I am. If I wasn’t swimming with the mullet in the livewell, I was throwing a gold spoon off the dock. Not too many people get to see redfish and snook blasting mullet from their bedroom window every morning. I watched the Walker's Cay Chronicles like other kids watched weekend cartoons - my family took the boat over to Walker's every summer until I was about 13 to fish and snorkel for conch. My mom bought me a fly tying kit when I was about 10 - I picked it up quickly and loved tying flies but didn't touch a fly rod until I was older. I think most people do it the other way around.
I had never really been away from home – then I decided to make the trek to Berry College in Rome, Ga for my bachelors. I had always been a saltwater and bass girl, but I lived for going up to the Smokies in the summer and doing some trout fishing. So, naturally, I was pretty excited to be going to college not far from some great trout waters. I have a soft spot for most fish, but there’s nothing more beautiful than a trout and the stream you find him in. College at Berry was where I really got into fly fishing – that was my escape. Instead of sticking around campus on weekends, I started taking off on trips to the South Holston River in Bristol, Tn, or the Chattahoochee headwaters. Between classes I’d take my kayak out in the local rivers around Rome and chase Spots and Coosa Redeye bass. My little apartment looked more like a fishing camp – you sure wouldn't think a girl lived there! I had to invest in a Glade plug in just to cover up the not-so-pleasant aromas of garlic and craw coming from my duffel of soft plastics. I’d joke about opening the doors and windows and taking a leaf blower to the inside of my apartment to get rid of the rogue fly tying trimmings.
So where does the art come in? I took a few art classes in high school, but nothing serious. I really didn’t draw or paint for fun, it was more just a resource I had when a project or other need for it arose. I was always being asked “why aren’t you going to art school?” which for some reason I was slightly offended by – I'd always pegged myself for biological sciences. I couldn’t fathom why someone would go to college for art.
I hadn’t picked up a pencil for artistic purposes since high school. It was my last semester of college – I needed a filler class to complete my needed hours for graduation. I figured an art class would be an “easy A” with minimal effort and I would breeze though like I did in high school. I could not have been more wrong. I did not claim to be an artist, but what I knew about drawing and painting was basically all self taught. That drawing professor and I went head to head – I had no idea what he wanted, and he thought I was obstinate and thought myself too good for his instruction. Organic chemistry and microbiology stand down, this art class was proving to be challenging. Eventually, we understood where one another were coming from, and I finally found myself in a real, challenging, instructive art class. I brought a board and piece of paper out fishing with me on more than one occasion – I drew the rocks, I drew the river, I drew my fly rod, and then I started drawing fish. And for the first time, I wasn’t just making art because it was an assignment – I was enjoying it. I was enjoying the subject matter (fishing) and being able to express myself with it. After graduating college, I came back home to the Space Coast of Florida and got into flyfishing the salt and St. Johns.
For the time being, I am back on the Indian River Lagoon spending my days fishing, painting, and working...maybe not quite in that order! I still make at least one trip a year up to the South Holston River to bother the trout, but the majority of my time these days is spent buggy-whippin' around with my boat the Indian River Lagoon and Mosquito Lagoon.
Hope you enjoy my work!