The November/December 2016 issue of Eastern Fly Fishing magazine features my article about Winslow Homer’s fly-fishing watercolors. From his house and studio on Maine’s Prouts Neck, where he lived from 1883 to his death in 1910, Homer frequently traveled to the Adirondacks, Quebec and Florida, where he often fished and produced extensive series of watercolors dedicated to fly fishing. Painted for the most part between 1889 and 1904, his watercolors are a unique window into the life of Victorian fly anglers when fly fishing was still in its infancy and new railroad lines opened distant frontiers to American sportsmen.
Beyond their inherent documentary quality, Homer’s fly-fishing watercolors were — and remain — praised for their modernity. Doing away with details, his technique conveys the beauty of the whole fishing experience through dynamic brushstrokes and dramatic compositions in which nature, not the angler, takes center stage.
Illustration: The Adirondack Guide. Watercolor over graphite pencil on paper by Winslow Homer, 1894. © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (bequest of Mrs. Alma H. Wadleigh).