Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Date day:  Occasionally the artist and angler/photographer of this blog get to share a day together, each doing what they love.  In the case of Lois, that would be painting while Ed prefers a cane fly rod in hand in pursuit of wild trout.  Recently they shared time on the upper reaches of the Neversink, deep in the heart of the Charmed Circle of these Catskill Mountains.

A plein air moment:

Salvelinus fontinalis, a wild brook trout, attached to a Brown Bivisible dry fly:

Flat Brook, the culvert 10x8:

The Flat Brook is a tributary to the East Branch of the Neversink.  It winds its way through the Tison Estate at the end of dirt lane flowing through a culvert under Denning Road before joining the Neversink.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Woodstock School of Art:  During July Lois participated in a workshop offered by the distinguished Woodstock School of Art.  Noted artist Kate McGloughlin taught the practicum titled Simplifying the Landscape.  It was a very enjoyable and learned experience, one Lois truly cherished.

Below are several plein air landscapes that resulted from this endeavor.

Eleanor’s cottage, 8x10:

As part of an “Arts in the Park” joint venture, on July 10th Woodstock School of Art students visited Val-Kill the National Historic Site of Eleanor Roosevelt’s cottage and her eventual permanent home after FDR’s death in 1945.

Olivebridge barnyard, 8X10:

Sunlit field, 5x7:

The little red barn, 8X10:

On July 17th students were in Olivebridge, near Tongore Cemetery, wandering the landscape of the Sanchez family farm.

The wedding barn, 8x10:

The woodshed, 5x7:

July 24th found students in Kerhonkson on Upper Cherrytown Road at Claudia’s farm, a friend of Kate McGloughlin.

Mount Tremper, 8x10:

Bearsville barn, 8x10:

Finally on July 31st, artists met along Cold Brook Road in Bearsville taking in mountain views and other landscapes of interest.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Morrell’s:  With little doubt this run on the Rondout Creek, immediately upstream of the UC 42 bridge over the headwater brook near the former Morrell Field, is one of this angler’s favorite piscatorial settings.  History can be seen in the remains of old stone abutments while the brook runs as clear today as it ever did.  Plus, not far from here the iconic Catskill flyfisher, Edward Ringwood Hewitt, noted the difficulties associated with catching wild brook trout in the legendary Blue Hole when he shared his angling secrets in Telling on the Trout.

Morrell’s, 8x10:

This landscape was painted before from a different photograph and titled Above Morrell Field, 11x14:

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Shangri-La:  Deep in the very heart of the Charmed Circle, lost in a dead-end valley along Denning Road surrounded by the Catskill Divide--- Red Hill, Woodhull, Van Wyck, and Table Mountains--- plus Wildcat lays a place lost in time, known as Shangri-La.  Days slowly fall off the Gregorian calendar like autumn leafs tumble from Catskill hardwoods; time stands still.  Hemlock and birch line the banks of the East Branch of the Neversink and the sky is uncluttered except for the occasional red-tailed hawk that patrols the airwaves.  Whitetail deer, red fox, and black bear saunter through the forest as your only angling partners.  This headwater stream is cold and clear, with highly polished cobble underfoot, and so transparent that dry flies cast upon it appear to be floating on thin air.  Wild brook trout with bluish-olive wormlike vermiculation on their backs, sagging melon-color bellies, and fins edged in chalky white--- natives of the Catskills--- still abound.

The landscape below was done from a pre-Irene photography; sadly the setting of the Abutments’ Pool has changed.  However, wild trout still prosper here in the East Branch of the Neversink, as do young swimmers from Frost Valley’s YMCA summer camp staying at the farm.

Abutments’ Pool, Shangri-La, 11x14:

Friday, July 4, 2014

Budapest Hotel:  Portrayed below are purple lythrum along the upper Esopus Creek at the site of the old Budapest Hotel waters, still home to wild trout.

Many a trout fisher erroneously referred to this location as the “Budapest Lodge”, but a review of historical records indicates such was never the case.  The grounds and building--- currently known as the Baptist Camp--- are now owned by the Missions Board and operated as a summer camp.  However, this old hotel has an interesting and rich history; it was once a premier Big Indian guesthouse

Originally built in 1872 by the Donahue family it was first called the Forest Home.  Then in 1921 it was sold to Eugene Grossman who operated it as Grossman’s Forest House until repossessed by a bank.   Eventually other owners reopened the old landmark hotel.

The June 5th, 1949 issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle ran a full page add sponsored by the Big Indian Valley Business Men’s Association highlighting lodging in the immediate area.  At the time Louis Green was the proprietor of Hotel Budapest which featured Hungarian cuisine and gypsy music.  Andrew Rohaly, another owner, would call the building and grounds Rohaly’s Budapest Rest.  The guesthouse had at least one other owner, Mr. Feynes, but apparently was never known as the Budapest Lodge.

The particular scene below also once housed a bridge over the Esopus that the Town of Shandaken closed to traffic in 1967.  This angler remembers tangling his leader on that bridge with errant casts over feeding trout during the early 1970s.  And, today if the astute angler looks carefully, he/she will still see the stone remains of old bridge abutments as well as the old historic hotel.

Budapest Hotel waters and purple lythrum, 11x14:

This landscape was originally painted on a 16x20 canvas and called, Budapest Lodge, Esopus Creek (sold):

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Woodland Valley:  There was a time when Woodland Valley was known as Snyder Hollow, named after Colonel H. D. Snyder who owned large parcels of land and a tannery in this Catskill hollow during the early 1800s.  Later John Burroughs’ essay, The Heart of the Southern Catskill, which appeared in his 1910 book In The Catskills, fondly recalled pleasant memories of Woodland Valley.  Nowadays many a warm summer afternoon tubers are seen floating down the Esopus Creek from the Woodland Valley Bridge, the gateway to Snyder Hollow.  And normally on the first June weekend of every year whitewater slalom gates for kayakers occupy Railroad Rapids just below that bridge. 

This old Catskill hollow has a little bit of something for everyone, especially flyfishers who actively pursue the wild trout that occupy nearby waters.  The landscape below was painted from a photo taken one such evening as trout rose in the Esopus Creek while the sun disappeared over Garfield Mountain.

Sunset over Snyder Hollow, 14x11:

For an interesting read on historical aspects of Woodland Valley, refer to the Winter 2013 issue (Volume 28, Number 4) of Kaatskill Life pages 10 to 18.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Cascade Brook:  Cascade Brook is a Catskill Mountain stream known by three different names.

Some maps, as well as the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, refer to this Esopus Creek tributary as the Giant Ledge Stream, perhaps since it’s not far from DEC’s Giant Ledge Trailhead.  Yet the United States Geological Survey (USGS) once maintained a gaging station here.  Station number 01362192 was online from 2001 through 2009 and referred to this brook as the Panther Mountain Tributary.  However, Ulster County may have the proper name of all three.

Following the historic Hurricane Irene, the county built a new bridge over this often minuscule trickle after angry stream flows washed out UC 47 creating a chasm some seventy-five feet across and fifty feet deep.  On that bridge Ulster County placed a memorial plaque referring to this stream as Cascade Brook and this name has historical significance.  The plaque is in memory of Steve F. Fischer, an Ulster County native and employee of the county Department of Public Works.

Richard Lionel De Lisser, in his turn-of-the-century book Picturesque Ulster, included photos of an Esopus Creek tributary he called Cascade Brook, but specific details of its location were lacking.  Essentially the black and white photos depict various waterfalls.  One such waterfall, perhaps Blossom Falls, is located immediately below UC 47.  Another falls, the one pictured in the painting below is located some two-to-three-hundred yards upstream of UC 47.  So perchance this stream is appropriately named after all.

As if three different steam names aren’t enough, some Oliverea locals also refer to this general locale as Crazy Nels.

Cascade Brook, second falls, 14x11: