Sunday, December 7, 2008

Blessed beyond words, but I'll try anyway

Betsy and I, with our vacation just behind us, soon realized that we had left the beach and returned to the reality of the holiday season. First, there’s Thanksgiving, with the familiar family feast, festivities and all the gastrointestinal gluttony that comes along with it. It’s quickly followed by the Christmas season, which presents the opportunity for us all – regardless of religious affiliation – to celebrate faith, family and the season of giving.

I’m thankful for so much and blessed with more than I probably deserve. I’m blessed to live in the greatest country in the world, in the middle of the best state in the Union (of course, I’m biased) and married to the best woman in the Universe. Betsy is my wife, my muse, often-times my mentor and forever the love of my life. Without her, well, I can’t imagine it. It’s cliché, but it’s true – she completes me.

I’ve been blessed with a wonderful family, led by my parents, who brought me into this world and instilled in me faith and a core value system which has helped me to succeed and excel, to give and to share, to love and to cherish and to smile and to laugh. They’re the reason I’m who I am, and I’m eternally grateful for their guidance through every part of my life.

I’m also thankful for being blessed with a wonderful extended family and a bevy of great friends. Both groups help make my life even more special. I’m a very lucky guy.

Admittedly, the freedom I enjoy I often take for granted, but it is because of our brave volunteers who devote themselves to protecting this unalienable right that I’m able to fly-fish on the weekends, do my Christmas shopping on the internet and eat 12 lbs of sausage balls through the holidays. Their commitment, their bravery and their steadfast pursuit of protecting us from the enemies of democracy are appreciated beyond words. They are our nation’s heroes.

Truly, God blessed me with the ability to express myself artistically. That gift has already led me down some pretty cool paths and promises to guide me down others in the future. Needless to say, I can’t wait to find out what’s in store for me.

I also really enjoy my guitars. And, my fishing stuff. And, my truck.

Well, the list goes on. I’ve got more than I deserve, but I also think it’s important to take time – not only during the holidays, but throughout the year – to remember those in need and to do your part to lend a helping hand (so to speak) to those who really could use one.

Moving over to my artwork ... Christmas time is normally my busiest time of the year, and this year – despite the doom-and-gloom reports of the demise of America and the free-market system – is no exception. I’ve maintained a good inventory of giclee prints, and several outlets – The Art House Gallery in Murfreesboro, the Ellen Hobgood Gallery in Heber Springs and the online gallery – can help you find the perfect painting for the perfect person. Or even an imperfect one. Person, I mean.

Despite the recent cold weather and the occasional rain, I’ve been fishing here and there – mainly with a core group of guys as addicted to fly-fishing as I am. The last few trips have involved Guide David Perry (Southeastern Fly Guide Service) – one of the more dedicated and hard-core fishermen I know. Fishing in David’s comfortable Hyde drift boat is highly-recommended, so please give him a call to set up a fly-fishing adventure soon. In the meantime, please check out his Web site for the most recent report from the river.

Until the next blog – tight lines and Happy Holidays.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


My limited-edition giclee prints are now available for purchase online through the Web-based gallery The site is devoted to art inspired by angling, and features work from a variety of very talented artists. I’m very proud and incredibly flattered to have my paintings featured with established pros like Diane Rome Peebles, Al Barnes and Fred Thomas. Please check it out when you get a chance. And, tell your friends.

The weather was there ... wish I were too

Betsy and I just got back from the beach. Why we came back, we’re still not sure, but we had a great time while we were there. The panhandle of Florida is a great place to be anytime of the year, but we prefer the fall – when the beaches are empty, the temperature reaches a perfect level and the water is full of hungry fish.

After an absolutely absurd three-year layoff from vacations, we made the most of this one, taking our time to do whatever we wanted … including absolutely nothing. I did manage to complete a couple of paintings, and did more than my fair share of fishing.

I’m a surf-fishing addict, and the cooler water in October and November brings all sorts of baitfish in close, followed by predators of all shapes, colors and sizes. More precisely, I’m a fly-fishing-in-the-surf addict, and I was blessed with some prime opportunities to target schools of enormous ladyfish, marauding pods of little tunny, cruising caravans of red drum and the occasional appearance of the prized pompano. With varying success, I caught all of them. But the little tunnies were the most fun to catch.

They’re in the tuna family, and appropriately live up to the reputation of their bigger brothers as first-rate ocean brawlers. They attacked in groups of two to 10 fish, suddenly materializing from the deeper trough between the first and second sandbars and torpedoing across the bar in pursuit of schools of glass minnows. I could spot the splashes as they fed on the sandbar just to my west and would strip out enough line to make a long cast and wait for them to appear. Once they arrived, I’d fire a cast to the leading fish, then retrieve the fly as fast as I possibly could.

Little tunnies are notoriously picky eaters, meaning I had to “match the hatch” almost exactly, resulting in me rifling through my fly-box on several occasions. But, once I got the right one, they ate it and ran. And ran. And ran some more. The first run with a tuna is a good ‘un, as they go deep into your backing on a scorching, forked-tail propelled sprint to deeper water. After that, you do your best to gain your line back, constantly keeping pressure on the fish and keeping a powerful angle on the rod to let my tackle do most of the hard work.

I hooked many, but didn’t always land them. Fish like this test your skill … and your knots. To borrow a line from Capt. Gordie Hinds, I practiced quite a bit of “conservation through incompetence.” But, I did get lucky a few times.

Betsy drew immeasurable entertainment watching me sprint up and down the beach in pursuit of the schools of fish; fly-rod in one hand, tackle bag slung over my shoulder, panting and weezing as I hurriedly passed gawking retirees out for their morning walk on the beach. But, it was all worth it.

Here are few pictures from our wonderful two weeks at the beach.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

High Cumberland Would You Believe?

It's been a fun last few weeks. My bike-wreck wounds are healing, I've been busy with my artwork and I've had a few chances to get out and fish a little. A couple of Saturday's ago, I participated in the 4th annual Greenway Arts Festival in Murfreesboro. This is a good little event; it's laid-back, a one-day deal and a great opportunity to show off my paintings to a wide array of people.

Of course, my part in this didn't exactly go smoothly. It was raining when we were attempting to set up the booth (it hasn't rained in weeks -- and hasn't rained since), and there were more than a few things that we forgot to bring with us -- including the sides of my tent and a painting or two -- but we managed to overcome the adversity, chase away the rain, get settled and enjoy a productive day on the banks of the Stones River. As usual, I had a great time meeting with new and existing customers and talking with them about art, fishing and football. I truly appreciate everyone who attended the event and made the time to stop by my tent. And, special thanks go to my Mom and Dad, who traveled up from Memphis to support me (in a bizarre way of thanking them, I made them help break down my booth -- what an appreciative and considerate son I am).

On Saturday, Sept. 27, Betsy and I attended a donor appreciation event sponsored by the Tennessee Parks and Greenways Association. This was held on the Cumberland Plateau near Crossville, Tenn., and about 250 of TPGA's friends gathered at Scott's Gulf, perched on a mountain-top high above an enormous gorge that hid the upper Caney Fork river. The scenery was incredible, of course, and I was honored to watch as several of my Brook Trout Study prints were awarded to major contributors to the TPGA. Here are some pics from the event:

Thanks to Steve Walsh and the rest of the TPGA crew. You've made sure that an absolutely beautiful part of Tennessee can be enjoyed and appreciated by generations to come.
Sadly, I have very little to report on the fishing front. Hopefully, the upcoming weekends will allow for more time to be spent on the rivers. I'll let you know ...

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Road Rash and the Greenway Arts Festival

Earlier today, in an attempt to shed some poundage and to keep up the cardio, I went out bike-riding. While I’m certainly no Armstrong, I do manage to put several miles on my fixed-frame, old-school mountain bike each week and today seemed like a good day to hit the pavement, so to speak.

Unfortunately, 30 minutes into the ride, that exactly what I did. As I steered my bike to the sidewalk in advance of a traffic light, my front tire “caught an edge” on a driveway, causing the bike to fall over and skid – with me in tow – for about 30 feet. Sprawled out and cursing like a Lebowski, I checked myself for any life-threatening injuries and thankfully only found a few cuts and a very-prodigious “road rash,” which covered the right side of my body. Bruised but not broken, I hopped back on my bent-up bike and pedaled my way back home.

Upon arrival, I promptly set out to cleanse the open wounds, first taking a shower, then applying what-I-thought-was hydrogen pyroxide. It was not until several ibuprofen and ice bags later did my wife notice that a bottle of rubbing alcohol – and not hydrogen pyroxide – had been left on the bathroom vanity. Well, I said, that explains the screaming.

Switching gears to the art-front … I’m looking forward to Sept. 20, when I’ll be one of the many artists manning a booth at the 4th annual Greenway Arts Festival in Murfreesboro. This is a really cool, really laid-back art show on the banks of the Stones River. It runs from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., and it takes place at the Thompson Lane trailhead. I’ll be offering some new, never-before-seen, original artwork, along with a selection of limited-edition giclee prints. Please stop by and say hello.

Oh, and I’ve been doing some fishing lately. Anthony, David and Mark have been the normal compatriots and we’ve found more than a few ways to fool some trout. To prove it, here’s a picture of yours truly with a nice brown. I swear I caught it.

Tight lines everyone.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

FAQ: What is a limited-edition giclée print?

My Web site houses an online gallery of paintings that I offer as limited-edition giclée prints. The limited-edition part doesn’t stump people much – it simply means I only offer a limited number of the actual prints. Of the paintings featured on my Web site, almost all of them are available in editions of 150. There are only a few exceptions: the Santa series and the new Home Waters are available in editions of 100 prints, and Betsy’s Santa is part of a 200 print series.

I sign and number each of the prints, furthering to the “limited edition” idea.

Giclée (pronounced “zhee-clay,” although, personally, I’ll accept “gick-lee” and “gee-schlay,” but never “jicklee”) is a French word which roughly means “little drops.” Producing a giclée print involves a very detailed digital scan of the original work, which is then translated to a printer that reproduces the artwork using tiny sprays of paint, resulting in an extremely-high-quality print. When placed on quality paper, like my prints are, the reproductions are almost identical to the original painting.

The process in creating these giclées allows me to better manage my inventory – or more correctly, the storage space needed to manage my inventory – as I can order small (even as small as one print) numbers of reproductions. Instead of trying to house 1,000 or more of each print – as the standard four-color offset lithography process often requires – I can maintain a small number of prints ready for sale.

Yes, the process is more expensive, which results in a higher price for a giclée as opposed to the offset prints. But, I think the giclée prints are far better quality than any of the rival versions, and personally, I think that a collector is much more pleased with having No. 149 of 150 as opposed to No. 2 of 1,000.

So, please let me know if you’d like a jicklee for your collection today!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Hey, it works.

After months of deliberation and consternation, I’ve officially gotten with the ‘90s and entered the world of social media. God help us all.

As a means of providing more up-to-date information about my artwork, my fishing and well … anything else (it’s a blog, after all), I’ve launched the site, “Dan Sharley and the Art of Fishing.”

Hopefully, you’ll forgive me for the title and still enjoy what I have to offer. As a side-benefit of this site, you’ll be able to see some of my recently-completed artwork – including many original paintings that are for sale.

This blog is also designed to be a less-formal companion to my more-formal Web site, That site is still the flagship of the Dan Sharley enterprise … which probably overstates things just a tiny, wee bit. But hey, it's my blog.

If my artwork’s main subjects didn’t tip you off, I also like to fish. A lot. As a form of self-indulgence that hopefully results in some sort of benefit of the reader, I’ll post the occasional fishing report. No promises on great trophy shots – or even great trophy stories. Think “Hunt for Big Fish,” but without the big fish. Or, in some cases, even a medium-sized one. But, I try hard. That’s gotta count for something.

I’ll be back again soon. I promise.

Thanks for reading. And, thanks for the interest in my artwork.