A couple of summers ago, I was able to make an artist's dream trip to Europe with my wife and sons. I had always wanted to see the Sistine Chapel, and the Piéta in Rome. A friend of ours worked at the Vatican, and she insisted that she book us a tour of the tombs below the Vatican. As we toured each Mausoleum that the Vatican is built upon, it was explained to us that the tombs were Pagan, and were built for wealthy families. Then we got to the first Christian tomb,which is very close to where the bones of St. Peter have been discovered. Being a fisherman -my second passion to making art, there was a mosaic of a fisherman in the first wealthy family Christian tomb. All I could think of is - why have I never seen this in a Art history book?
The idea has been percolating for awhile with me now to do a painting inspired by this piece. I just completed it early this morning. It is of two of my friends fishing for pike on the fly at a local man-made reservoir. It is at dusk, and there is a hazy beautiful sunset, unfortunately created by the Fort MacMurray forest fires blazing up North, which were at their peak that evening. I was painting watercolours from the shore, and my friends were pulling up to shore to pick me up.
I recently held a contest on Facebook to name this painting, and a person by the name of Rea Tarvydas submitted one that my fishing friends chose called, "No Clear Line," based on this quote by author and fly-fisherman, Norman MacLean. I feel that the title and the quote it is derived from best sums up the whole process of this painting.
“In our family, there was no clear line between religion and fly fishing. We lived at the junction of great trout rivers in Western Montana, and our father was a Presbyterian minister and a fly fisherman who tied his own flies and taught others. He told us about Christ's disciples being fishermen, and we were left to assume, as my brother and I did, that all first-class fishermen on the Sea of Galilee were fly fishermen and that John, the favorite, was a dry-fly fisherman.”
-Norman Maclean, "A River Runs Through It."
And thanks Barbara - for insisting that I venture below the Vatican.