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.

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We are Making Bear Dens!

I get a charge of energy from working on art projects with young children. Their lack of self-consciousness and freedom with materials is inspiring. I often say 1st graders are art geniuses.

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They have a lot of small motor skills  and they are mostly free of the doubts and fears of not being good enough that seem to set in later, even by age 7!

I did the same Bear Cave project with three classes, a 1st, 2nd and 3rd, at a school in Pasadena.

I started by showing them my book Baby Bear Counts One and talking to them about what happens as autumn comes and how bears prepare to spend the winter in their dens.

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The materials were simple:

An 11 x 14 piece of pale blue paper, an 8.5 x 11 sheet of black paper and a half sheet of brown paper, a thin paper plate, glue stick, scissors, markers/crayons, and a pencil.

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The young artists created the forest first, drawing trees with autumn leaves and making a good, wild habitat for the bears.

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Then they cut the paper plate in half and cut a rough “den” out of the flat, cut side. Now it was time to camouflage the den so it didn’t stick out. A lot of effort went into this step.

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I love this one with two apple trees and apples all over the den.

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And this ‘Welcome’ sign.1stgrade:web_5 1stgrade:web_62ndgrade:web_1

There was a lot of glue being used and sticky fingers were everywhere.

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They glued the brown paper behind the paper plate den so it looked dark.

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Finally, it was time to make the bears out of the black paper.  We had lots of sizes of googley eyes to make the bears look alert.2013-10-22 09.34.32
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