An Elegant Obsession

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Project Description

An Elegant Obsession

Limited Edition Print
Edition of 950 S/N
Image: 20″ x 26″, Overall 24″ x 30″

75 Artist Proofs available with original watercolor remarques.


Over the years, I have done many major sporting still life paintings with outdoor themes, usually involving hunting and fishing. “An Elegant Obsession” is my first major piece dedicated to fly fishing. To those who are fanatics, it really is an obsession. To anyone who either witnesses or experiences fly fishing, it is truly elegant. Few other outdoor pursuits provide such a communion with nature and it’s grace, beauty and wildness. I can’t think of too many places or experiences in the outdoors better or more memorable (except maybe a duck blind at sunrise in a January marsh) than wading a crystal clear stream with forest and mountains on either side and the only sounds being the wind and the ripple of the water. THAT is elegance.

Like most of my major pieces, this one involved a lot of research and a lot of friends who loaned treasured books and other great props. The books range from the true classics of fly fishing like Vincent Marinaro’s A MODERN DRY FLY CODE, Ernie Schwiebert’s MATCHING THE HATCH, Charles Fox’s THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF TROUT, Traver’s TROUT MAGIC, and Ray Bergman’s TROUT, to some newer books which may well become classics like A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT and a small but wonderful book RIVERS OF MEMORY by the late Harry Middleton. (By the way, I read A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT before Robert Redford’s beautiful movie hit the screen.)

The fly box in the middle of the shelf dates from the turn of the century, and the interesting thing about it is that the owner was so meticulous that he hand numbered each compartment and then detailed inside the lid which flies were in each one. The rod is a classic split bamboo and the marvelous old creel needs no description. I hope Winslow Homer will forgive the use of “A Good Pool” in the background, but it worked perfectly. As for the hat, well… everyone has on old hat, perhaps not with flies stuck in it.
On first glance, the painting appears to be about trout fishing only, but it isn’t. Salt water fly fishing is becoming popular and I have added some apropos books. And the fish in the Homer watercolor is a salmon. Also, while many of my major pieces are “regional” like “Carolina Sportsman,” “An Elegant Obsession” encompasses many regions, from Idaho to North Carolina, from Alaska to Florida and even other countries like Scotland and New Zealand.

This painting was a great challenge to me, and I hope I did it justice. I hope you’ll think so as well. Please inquire about personalized remarques, using your image or your favorite fisherman’s image, painted in watercolor. Just call Joe Seme or send us an email.

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