Friday, August 30, 2013

Shuswap Lake, my first international map painting!

Here's a lake that you have probably never have heard of, Shuswap Lake. I Just finished a custom canvas lake map of Shuswap Lake located in British Columbia, Canada. My first international map. 

This lake is located near Salmon Arm, B.C. and is a large lake. It's unlikely that I will ever see this lake in person, but from what I have read it's a beautiful lake with many recreational activities, including some great fishing.

Oh Yeah, I'm headed to the big stream this weekend, the Duck River. We will be kayak fishing for most of Saturday. I should have a report next week. Have a great holiday!

Life is short, get away from the big screen and get on a big stream, or at least enjoy one on your wall. Frame your favorite lake, river or bay... 

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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Rusty, Red Hornet in the Studio!

The last few days (three to be exact), I have been battling a "RUSTY RED HORNET" in the studio. The hornet that I will call "Buzz" has been sneaky. I will be patiently working and Buzz will come out from some place and fly around my head like a bad dream. As soon as I go into a full all out attack, Buzz disappears.
Here's the problem, I am allergic to bee stings, I swell up like a pumpkin and can't get my breath. When I get stung, I take a double dose of benadryl and go to the hospital. Normally, I can wait in the hospital parking lot for about 30 minutes until the symptoms subside, if not it's into the hospital emergency and a shot of adrenalin. So... it's an understatement to say that I FREAK-OUT around bees. In fact, I scream like a little girl.

Lucky for me, I have a boat paddle in the studio and I will use it! Finally, Mr.Buzz came in range and with a few home runs, I nailed the bee. As you can see, not too much damage around, just a few maps out of sorts. I survived!
RIP, Mr Buzz!
 Life is short, get away from the big screen and can on a big stream!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Wall maps of Lakes, Rivers, & Bays

One of the fun things that I have been doing is personalizing my maps. I completed this beautiful personalized decor map of Greers Ferry Lake for a customer a few weeks ago. Also, I hide things in the waters of my maps, but more about that later. I used my watercolor painting of Greers Ferry and added the customers memories (photos) to the map. The map below was a gift for someone special that had fond memories of Greers Ferry Lake. The photos added a nice touch that turned a beautiful vintage style map into a wonderful family heirloom and a treasured map.
The customer emailed me color photos, in which I converted to black and white to give them that vintage look. I carefully positioned the photos around the map for the best view. Also, a lot of customers like for me to add a small star and title near there lake home, or where they caught that trophy fish, or to denote a special location. If you look really close, you may find a tiny mermaid in the waters of all my maps.
Here's a letter from one of my customers:
"I was finally able to give my husband the map I bought for his birthday last night. I want you to know how beautiful it was and how touched he was by it. He loves this Lake. His family has a home there and when we are lucky we get away for a few days, it’s the only place we want to be. He actually had tears in his eyes. Thank you for the beautiful art work."

I don't hide snapping turtles, but I do hide a tiny mermaid/fish in the waters of all my lake map paintings that folks love to search for. I call my maps treasured maps because most folks have that special body of water that they treasure. These maps make great gifts for the lake house owner, lake lover, or fisherman. I have over two hundred on my website that can be purchased right from the site, or I can do custom and personalizes lake, river or bay maps, too. If you would like to see more and read about my treasured maps go to

As you can see, my maps make a great gift. To see more of my work click here

Remember: Life is short, get away from the big screen and get on a big stream, or at least enjoy one on the wall.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


A few days ago, we had a raccoon invasion in the ten acre woods. A mother and her three kids came by the ten acre woods. This little one in the picture is showing how bad he can be. Wifey couldn't resist these bandits and tossed out some bread.
The outside cat (Spot Nose) watched at a distance. Cats and Raccoons seem to get along okay. I know the cat will not attack the raccoons because raccoons are tough creatures. I have seem the cat swat at the raccoon and even get its claws hung in the raccoon fur, but the raccoon didn't even notice.
The mother raccoon was the boss. She could eat without interruption and even take food away from the little ones. The small raccoons would fight amongst themselves.
I love living in the woods because every day is an adventure. Remember: What's in your woods, river , lake or bay? Get out to find out!

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Saturday, August 17, 2013

I'm an official Troutmanizer!

How did I became a troutmanizer, well first a little background. You ever wonder what "Mayfly on the grille with a little hummer means?" Well, hang around and I'll tell you. When I was 13, my dad purchased a fly rod and a box of flys. I halfway learned to use this fly rod in the waters around Nashville. I really enjoyed fishing with it for perch and bass. I quickly learned that there was an art to fly fishing and fly fishing was something special. Lately, I've been thinking about fly fishing again...So...a few weeks ago, I booked a trip to fly fish in the Great Smokey Mountains.
It's always more fun to have a partner, and here's mine, Pop, my father-in-law. A great fishermen, but like me, not much fly fishing experience. Oh yeah, Pop just turned 86 years old and is in great health. He can maneuver over rocks like a cougar. I hope I'm like Pop when I'm 86. Anyway, we met our guide, Eugene in Cherokee, North Carolina and drove a few miles to Bradley Fork Creek near Smokemont. We arrived, parking near the creek. Eugene is local, born and raised in the mountains. I knew I was going to like this guy when he asked..."Where "youns" from?" A mountain slang that is used all the way up into Pennsylvania. My go to word would have been... where "y'all from". Now if I had been up in New York, I may have been asked where "yous guys" from. Boy am I off track, lets get back to fishing.
Eugene has been fly fishing in these waters all his life and was very knowledgeable. In fact, Eugene has won many events, and set a couple state records in the process.He currently holds the NC State Record for Distance Fly Cast set with a 9′ 5 wt fly rod that sent a fly 114 ft. Dang, I was having trouble casting a fly 20 feet. Anyway, he has competed in numerous US National Fly Fishing Championships, and Regional Qualifiers, and has won numerous regional events. Now, why am I showing you a photo of the grille of a hummer?...Because it's dinner for the trout. Really, the flying bugs on the grille are what trout are eating at this moment, so match the fly to the flying creature and bingo bango, you have the blue plate special for trout. Now this brings up "What is for dinner?...Mayfly on the Grille with a little hummer." Oh yeah, here's my favorite bug joke: What's the last thing that goes through a bugs mind when it hits the grille?...His butt! He He!!!!

Here's Pop with a small trout. I believe catching trout in the relaxing cool waters (59 degrees) of a mountain stream will give you a "possum grin." Can you tell he's grinning like a possum? I think so.

Hey, check out my fish, a small rainbow trout! How do you like my trout net, fly fishing vest, flys right? Well, that's not me, its Eugene the fishing guide. I'm the one taking the picture, just behind the camera. Oh yeah, I was fishing a dry fly and a dropper. All our catches were on the wet end, however I did get a few bites on the dry fly.

Eugene is giving Pop a few instructions on how to improve his technique. Both Pop and I were lucky that we stayed out of the trees and didn't lose any flys. Also, no one got a wet butt from stubbing over rocks, either. Check out that can of bear spray on Eugene's waist, just in case a black bear tries to still a trout.

Here it is "my first brown trout." Eugene indicated that he was a wild brown and the way you can tell is by the pattern. The wild trout are born in the stream and have more and deeper brown markings on each side that look like the images of fingers gripping the side of the trout, sort of. Eugene referred to this as the hand of God. I apologize for the crappy pictures, with mountains on each side and dense foliage, too much shade was around and my cell phone was just not up to the task. I brought my Nikon D80, but was afraid that I would drop it in the creek.
All good things must end and so does this trip. We did catch several rainbows and one brown trout, not large but fun. Now I think I have become a "Troutmanizer!" What is a Troutmanizer?

Remember: Life is short, get away from the big screen and get on a big stream!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Water Lily Lake

Last weekend, Buttermilk (My fishing buddy) and I, fished at Greenbrier Lake, a small lake near my home. As you can see from these pictures it should be called Water Lily Lake because of all the water lilies. Can't you just see all those big, fat bass laying right under those lilies.   

The water lilies were a small problem. There was a bigger problem, Milfoil. Milfoil is an invasive plant that is not native and grows just under the surface. What looks like open water is filled with milfoil. Most of the time, I would reel in a four or five foot long mess of milfoil, pick it off the lure and repeat the process over and over. Oh Yeah, weedless bait was no help. 
The picture below, gives you an idea of how thick the vegetation was on top of the water. You could almost get out of the kayak and walk across the lake, but this is great bass habitat. Right!

Ooooooooh, Buttermilk proudly displays his trophy catch. A perch.

Believe it or not, Buttermilk is taking a picture of me holding a 10 lb largemouth bass. Not, we didn't catch any big fat bass, but it was a great day of fishing..............

Except for the Water Lilies and Milfoil!

This coming weekend, I will be in the Great Smokey Mountains fly fishing. Wish me luck! Always Remember: Get away from the big screen and get on a big stream!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Fish Tattoos

I've been cartooning again and it's something I enjoy. I think I have over 150 now. Some of them I spend time and draw well, others I just quickly sketch out. I warn you that they are kind of nutty and borderline crazy, but it's humor, I think? Oh Yeah, I do have another blog called BaitRageous.

I hope they were funny, and remember
"Get away from the big screen and get on a big stream!"

Monday, July 15, 2013

Kentucky Lake Road Trip

A few weeks ago, we took our daughter to Governor's school, a summer program for talented high school students. On our way to UT Martin we passed Kentucky Lake. I was lucky enough to briefly get off the beaten path and take a few pictures of the su rrounding area. Unfortunately, I didn't have time to fish.

This is a picture looking south off highway 79. As you can see, Kentucky Lake is a very large lake. In fact, I wondered what is the distance that you lookout over water and see no land due to the curvature of the earth, so I looked it up. At a height of 6 feet, with no land on the horizon and only water, it is 3 miles (Note: the higher you are above the water, the further you can see). What's the reason for this useless fact? If you cross the Kentucky Dam and carefully lookout over the water, there's an area that you can only see water and sky like at the ocean. Now that's a big lake.

Here's a map of Kentucky Lake that I have painted (see more at If you look you closely, you may find a tourist town named Grand Rivers, which is between Lake Barkley on the Cumberland River and Kentucky Lake on the Tennessee River.

Grand Rivers is becoming a destination. It's sort of a mini vacation rivertown with little tourist shops, restaurants and even entertainment.
A great place to eat in Grand Rivers is Patti's an 1880's themed restaurant. It started in 1977 and has grown into the top tourist restaurant destination in Kentucky. Try thier specialty, pork chops, I have and they're great.
Patti's is a unique and interesting place with not only a restaurant, but many shops to discover. Check it out at: Also, near Grand Rivers is Green Turtle Bay Marina and Resort located on the waters of Lake Barkley. This is a great place to launch a boat or have a meal and explore.

Remember: Life is short, Get away from the big screen and get on a big stream!