Thursday, February 14, 2019

Cold Dark Water: February on a Kayak

It’s been a while since I wrote perspectives from a kayak. The idea of kayaking just hasn’t seemed as fun with my son off to the army.

Yesterday was the first time I put the kayak on the car by myself and even with his tendency to call out every imperfection in my process: I missed him.

A windy February day and the lake at Daingerfield State Park was an atmosphere of dark water and high contrast ripples reflecting an overcast sky. I am deep in the middle of painting a series on water and I was inspired to study every element of the reflections.

What I love about kayaking is the silence and the sound of water rushing with every stroke of the paddle. Rich reds, yellows and greens of the lily pads were like abstract patterns begging to be painted. I know there will be more paintings added to the current series.

I listened to the birds in the darkening forest as the sun hid behind the clouds and moved closer to the horizon. I heard the nasal call of a nuthatch as it crept upside down on the tree trunks. There was a chorus of tree frogs that called constantly but it’s not simply the wonderful sounds, it’s the fact that I took the time to listen.

Kayaking usually ends up being an introspective time for me, a time to be still and listen to nature. This day was perfect for that, I caught one small pickerel and for the rest of the day I just floated on a dark mirror of mercury reflecting the trees and gray sky in monochromatic drama.

Very tall pine trees surround Daingerfield State Park; so it doesn’t even feel like a normal Texas lake. The trees shelter you from the wind and the experience of quiet and calm is something I’ve been wanting for quite a while.

The patterns in nature are so fluid and constantly changing form and color. It is my job as an artist to see how the eye sees for just a moment and inject that same pattern on a flat dimension while keeping the emotion and sense of space and time consistent.

I never get tired of watching water and it's many dimensions and intricacies. I am in awe of a slow moving stream or the torrent of a waterfall, it's capturing that feeling and the sound in a painting that is the hardest task.

To learn more about camping, fishing and kayaking at Daingerfield State Park go to

To see more images and upcoming paintings go to This blog will be moving to that address as I continue to grow the site.


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