Taking to the Ice

In the summer my front yard is a huge body of water, a playground for boats, swimmers and fishermen.

In the winter that water gets a hard shell of ice and becomes an entirely different playground, a brand new piece of “land” where we can walk, skate, and even drive snowmobiles and pickup trucks. Fishermen set up their shanties, forming cozy little villages.

As children we skated here with our mom and dog Lumpy.

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When I illustrated my 1st book in 1983 I remembered times spent skating with my dog.

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Cardinals in February from A Year of Birds by Ashley Wolff

During this Christmas break we got some lovely light snow and my sister and I set out to make this our new front yard.

We walked across the lake, following coyote tracks, and noticing where a bird landed, leaving wing and tail marks in the snow.

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We made snow angels ,

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built a buxom snow maiden,

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did donuts,

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drank cocktails,

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and lost our balance!

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Happy New Year.

Keep the wine handy.

We’re going to need it!

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Fishing through the ice

Once the lake “ices in,”a whole new world emerges.

Acres of new real estate, previously accessible only by boat, become available for exploration on foot.

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Fisherman, cell phone photo

Fishing is the winter sport of choice. Whole towns spring up, populated by fun loving, hard drinking fisher-people.

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Fishing village, gouache on brown paper

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Give up the booty, gouache on brown paper

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Four fishing shanties, gouache on brown paper

Up on top there is the bait, and the fish who take it.

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bait fish, cell phone photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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land locked salmon, gouache on brown paper

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Pike and lake salmon carcasses, fillets removed, cell phone photo

But I became fascinated with what was going on UNDER all that ice.

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What’s down below,  gouache on paper

My personal goal for this winter is to walk across my lake and to drink an Irish Coffee in a pub on the other side If this happens I’ll let you know!

If you enjoyed this post, please  follow me here: Ashley Wolff Art on Facebook, my webpage , my Etsy shop, or Instagram. You can follow the blog by hitting the “follow blog” button at the top of the sidebar.

What is it about Ice Fishing?

I don’t fish.

I like lots of aspects of the fishing culture. I like lakes and rivers. I like boats. I like hand tied flies, and I like fish.

I just don’t want to catch them and kill them and eat them.

So I observe, ask questions and translate into various paintings.

For the 1st time I am living on the shore of a frozen lake. I knew about ice fishing, but I didn’t pay much attention. This winter, life on the ice is proving to be a vivid, ever changing show.

The shanties began to appear in December and now there are at least 3 dozen.

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Some have full on heating systems and rustic touches like elbow stove pipes. Beyond you can see a “bait bank.” A bank consists of a submerged barrel to store live bait, generally with a padlock on it.

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This one has a solar powered porch light too.

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And some have homey, gingham curtains and custom, fish, address plates.

Fascinated by this new, growing village on the ice, I began photographing, drawing and finally painting with gouache.

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A helpful fisherman posed for the foreground figure. His manual ice auger is in the background. many fisherman have power tools for this.

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Once the ice has formed, it is strong enough to drive on, so there are tire tracks everywhere.

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Once I became familiar with what the surfaces looked like, I began to think about what lay beneath.

That’s when I imagined this scene.

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If you enjoyed this post, please like my page: Ashley Wolff Art on Facebook. I sell prints and out of print books in my Etsy shop and my webpage is www.ashleywolff.com.