I have painted trout in local rivers for many years now and the fascination never goes away. As a naturalist, there is the wonderful experience of patient observation and understanding a wild creature. But there is more.
Chalk streams are very rare eco-systems. There are less than twenty in the world and the majority are in the UK. they are fabulous places. In the summer, the clarity of the water and the richness of the greens is truly dramatic.
I will never forget the first time I looked down off a bridge into this amazing aquatic world, and learned to see things that most people pass by. This is a confection of rich greens, violets, and oranges tossed about by the dancing surface and the emergence of form out of the chaos of flickering lights; sometimes disguised by reflected UV, sometimes not. It appeals to the artist whose best work often brings form out of chaos and serendipity.
Understanding the way light is reflected off the surface of water is a challenge.
Combine all that with the capacity of water colour to describe the richness of the colour and the fluidity of the subject and you have the reason why I endlessly paint trout in the water, often standing up in very awkward postures.
These places are under huge pressure from water abstraction and pollution; it would be an unmitigated tragedy if they were to suffer continued degradation and efforts must be, and are being, made to restore them.