Saturday, September 26, 2015

Montana, Wyoming

Photos of some of the places and the fish from our trip to Montana and Wyoming this summer. The best thing about the fishing…dry flies, and of course watching the fish swim away after "letting go."  I found myself thinking about some of my favorite writers in the quiet times….  Harry Middleton, and David James Duncan. Both writers have nurtured my desire to listen for the voices of those I have loved and who are no longer here. There were many times when I could not distinguish between the sounds of the water over rocks or the breeze in stream side bushes and sounds of their laughter and voices.

I'm hoping that some new rod crossman paintings will emerge out of the memories of this trip.  It was the first time Jimbo and I had returned to Montana in 20 years.  

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Carp Anglers… yes!!!!

Carp Anglers Group :: Home

Carp Anglers Group :: Home

John Butler Trio "Spring to Come" Acoustic In-Studio (+playlist)

It has been a long winter… those who know me best understand the metaphor in those words. But...Spring has come around again… the redbuds are out, the white bass are in the river…..It still feels like I have been transported to some other parallel universe at times. Every now and then I dream about her still. One dream was so real, she was her glorified self, so perfect and beautiful. She had put on her old body, like one might put on clothes. She did that for me so I would recognize her. Everywhere there was any opening in the clothes light was streaming out.  She held me and kissed me, we talked. But I can't remember what we talked about. Eventually she said it was time for her to go, and then,  she was gone… again.

Anybody out there want to go with me?

Roger Zelazny. The Doors of His Face, The Lamps of His Mouth   One of my favorite short stories from a brilliant writer

Dry Fly….. original acrylic painting by rod crossman

Thursday, April 18, 2013


                        Two new articles on my work 


  The U.S Fish and Wildlife Service recently published an article on my work.  If you are interested in reading some thoughts on fisheries conservation, go to the flipbook version here,  Eddies.  You can find the PDF version here.   PDF 


    The  Wildlife Art and Nature Journal also published an article/interview with me.  The extraordinary writer Todd Wilkinson put it all together. He did an amazing job! You can read more of his good stuff in many places, here is a link to his blog at The Huffington Post.
    My story in Eddies starts on page 16. The cover of the magazine is a painting I created to accompany a beautiful essay written by author Jim Day on Ernest Hemingway's "The Big Two Hearted River," called "Heminways Meadow. " The piece was published in Fly Rod and Reel magazine.  I love those Nick Adams stories. Jim's story won a Robert Traver fiction award.
     Writer Lee Allen interviewed me and wrote the article. He did a remarkable job! Thanks to all the great folks at "Eddies" for putting this together.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The poet Lucy Shaw ask the question "What if heaven is just three feet away?" When I visit a trout stream and I'm able to peer into the moving water below me..... I think     she must be right. It is just three feet away, close enough to touch.  Reach through the mirrored surface and travel through time to the edge of the universe. There, you encounter the alien.... and you are forever changed.  

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Memorial Day 2010 --- I miss my father..... My dad's silver star ceremony photo and article

Thursday, April 22, 2010

rainstorm on the tailwater


My son Bryan and I on the Beaver Tailwater in Arkansas... in one scary lightning and thunderstorm.. we had stopped to hide under a rock ledge... when Bryan suggested where we were sitting was more dangerous than the storm if the ledge fell on top of us... which made me a bit paranoid about being crushed by tons of rock.... so we hightailed it out of there, in spite of all the lightning... what a day... Bryan recently posted on my facebook page this memory ... he is in the Middle East right now.... so hopefully he'll have a chance to get on line and see this video ...

Friday, November 6, 2009

Mayfly Dance

My son Bryan this summer ....

Remembering the hatch....

Simulacra and simulacrum... what is real? the virtual... the simulation.... hyperreal- a copy so powerful it replaces the original.... my memories become the powerful copy of the real..... flyfishing is stuck inside it's own language.... video

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Beer Can

       Objects have the unique ability through memory and association to become a kind of time machine. One of the most memorable objects of my childhood was a beer can.  I found it hidden under the stones in a creek that flowed near the trailer court where we were living at the time. The stream flowed through a tiny patch of wild that was holding desperately onto the edges of the altered landscape surrounding it. Our trailer court was right across the street from the town dump. We didn’t live there long enough for me to discover where the water in our creek came from or went to… I wonder now what kind of stuff was lurking in its water? Whatever… it was clean enough to harbor all sorts of creatures, crayfish,  minnows and water insects. It was my favorite place. The creek was down a dirt lane between the rows of trailers. Across a wire fence, through some trees, a few jumps down the hill, a run through the grass, some hops over the rocks. The narrow, ankle deep rivulet bubbled along over pebbles and stones. Most of the kids and all the adults ignored the little stream.  It was the most perfect thing I knew. There was a an occasional disruption,  a neighborhood dog sniffing around or another inquisitive kid. There were animals that lived in the holes along the banks. Birds loved the stream too. It was an alien world I could immerse my body and mind into, escaping all the junk around me. I’d take off my shoes and socks and roll up my pant legs before I’d step into the chilly water. Thinking back now, part of it’s allure and power was how it transformed me. I became Gulliver in the land of Lilliputians. I had at least a little control over this world. Searching under rocks for crayfish or pollywogs and minnows. I lived a very different life there than in the trailer park a few hundred feet away. The stream was a companion and friend, my first totem.

       There was a patch of woods on the far side of the stream. It belonged to the older kids from the park. I’d spy the older boys and girls  sneaking into and out of the woods. They’d hold each other in funny ways and I could tell they were doing some things they probably shouldn’t. When they’d creep back home along the woods edges the boys would  elbow and push each other and laugh like you did when you were making fun of somebody and the girls always walked ahead of them like they were in a big hurry. I watched my older brothers friend George makeout with a girl there once. It didn’t look like much fun.

     The day I discovered the beer can I was lifting up rocks, looking for crayfish. I found the unopened can wedged between stones hidden in the current. Whoever had put it there had blown it, this can was mine now! The kids in the trailer park lived by an unwritten law, finders keepers losers weepers.

      This discovery became one of my first “Eden experiences.” I came from a family of strict prohibitionist and I was also only eight years old.  A good portion of that eight years I’d spent on my butt, sitting in a church pew, hearing about how bad the stuff in this can was for my soul. This stuff was a ticket straight to hell. I couldn’t believe my luck!   There were no poptop cans in 1959 or I would have orened it and taken a swig right then. I needed a can opener! Going to a friends house was out of the question. I’d already learned none of my friends could be trusted with a secret , especially one as big as this. The last thing I needed was one of the big kids beating me up for stealing their beer.  I was going to have to sneak it home. Which met I was going to have to get it past my big sister Kathy. Kathy was thirteen years old and took care of me after school until our parents got home from work.  She accomplished this job with a combination of indifference and eagle eye attention that left me a little paranoid and always watching over my shoulder. I was going to have to appeal to her curious side and tempt her with this forbidden drink. It was my only chance. What would she do? What could she do? She wouldn’t go near the creek and if mom found out she let me go there alone she’d be in big trouble. She’d either help me or confiscate it. I was convinced Kathy could read my mind, she could always tell when I was up to something even before I knew I was up to something. To my eight year old mind she was a kind of grown-up so I was shocked how easy she gave in to this conspiracy. Kathy found the can opener and opened the can, she took the first swig and then handed it to me. I was in awe and amazed,  there was more to my big sis than I knew!  I’d smelled this stuff before, on street corners downtown and on the breath of a man that showed up in church occasionally. Whoaaamundo… it tasted worse than it smelled. We only drank one sip each, threw the rest away and hid the can… I spent the  rest of the day waiting to Satan show up and escort me directly to hell.

       I think mom may have been in her seventies before she found out this story. It was one of those holiday times, when we were all together, and it isn’t long before somebody starts telling old stories. The years had turned us into “grownups” but this kind of moment turns you back into kids. The nostalgia of these moments acts like a truth serum and the story of a “forbidden beer” finally came out. My mother just laughed and told us all a similar childhood secret of her own.

      As I wander the streams around my home in search of fish, sticks and stones.  I occasionally find an empty beer can someone has tossed. For a moment I am an eight year old boy again, filled with a yearning to know what I do not know and a willingness to have secrets I’m beholding to. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Fishing Totems

  These are edited photos, part of a series I'm working on of favorite fishing spots near my home.  The definition of a Totem:  some thing that wants to be our friend, guide or companion.  If that is  true?... then this stream is a totem for me... something I desperately need...  and lately,  need even more.  
     The stones in this totem I found in this section of the river. Turning them into these huge boulders is a way of rendering them in a visibly obtrusive,  yet sublime way. It is also a reference to what is possible, impossible, or improbable. The scale deception changes the viewers perception of these stones in unexpected ways. Rendering these small stones in this gigantic scale and placing them back where they came from or “giving them back” opens up the possibility of new questions. Just how important are these stones along the rivers edge?  Are these pieces of what were larger stones?  Where did they come from?      These balanced stones are a enigma... simultaneous precarious  permanence.... the question, “How long can this last” always remains.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

My Painting on the Cover of Grays Sporting Journal

    I hope you already subscribe to Grays Sporting Journal 
   They chose my painting for the front cover of the April (Annual Fly Fishing) issue
    pick up a copy or subscribe if your not all already.  I also have a 
painting inside this issue I hope you'll look for.   Wayne Knight is the Art Director for Grays and does a magnificent job designing this Journal. It is a visual delight! I'm always amazed how he  makes the art look so beautiful with his layout and composition. I think he is the best art director out there. Grays also publishes the best sporting writing available. They have been the # 1 Sporting Journal for thirty years and it is always an honor fro me when they select one of my paintings to publish. 

Friday, January 16, 2009

  Photos from a day on the stream this past July... it is -10 degrees here today.... right after I took this photo the fish did a tail flip off the rocks into water... I watched it swim away hoping the guys that keep every smallmouth they catch would not find her hideaway.  

These stick ups weren't far away from the place I caught the fish... They reminded me of my days tight lining bait on the stream banks of my youth.... My dad would get home from work and off we'd go to the river. I'll never forget the wiggle in the tip of the rod when a fish would start to bite... I never got over it and it's part of the reason I still fish.... but this day the sticks were  more ominous... a reminder of silent intentions....we always kept what we caught back then.... and I knew the fisherman who put these fishing sticks here did as well.

A big carp on a fly.... just pure fun...
 The circle of life.....  

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

design a fly, a cast, a stalk, fly line , a reel

 Words fall from the page ... midges fall to the surface and a trout rises above my heart. 

I need to know more.... about everything.... 

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

fishing with my son Bryan

  Bryan home from Iraq...  our first fishing trip in a long time....   no words can express my thoughts or feelings. the only thing that would have made it better is to have my other son Barry with us. 

Saturday, September 6, 2008

John Voelker

 This is the invitation to the 50 th anniversary  of the publication  of John Voekers  " Anatomy of a Murder.  It features the portrait of John  I was commissioned to paint for the State of Michigan by the Voelker Foundation.  

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Deep Woods Press

Deep Wood Press..... my kind of books ... scroll through some of the titles


  I've dreamed of a giant brown trout that feeds fussy and steady in Deer Creek...  a fish that lives in a alien world ...   where  imaginary giants cast rods as tall as a giant oak to a rise as large as  the front lawn.   Check out this land of Giants and imagination...  a marionette or more? 

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I want this guy to design flyfishing stuff

  I wonder what Da Vinci would have come up with if he had been a fly fisherman?....  Theo might know.....  

Theo Jansen.... can you imagine?   I'd love to fish with a fly rod and reel designed by this guy.  His website has even more information on his creations.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

True Films

Gotham Fish Tales ....    stories about how and where New Yorkers fish....    

Trout Grass  is a documentary about making and fishing bamboo ....  the best part of this is the filming on location in China. Seeing how the tonkin cane is gathered and prepared opens up new revelation for every bamboo rod you touch. 

Rivers and Tides  ,  a documentary about Andy Goldsworthy is  art about art. Ephemeral and provocative,  Goldsworthys work is timeless.  Much of his work is created near , in or of water.  I never tire of the mystery found in waters and this DVD will open your eyes to more of the invisible but eternal beauty that surrounds us yet eludes us. 
    Paul Mclean exlpains to his brother Norman in "The River runs Through It" the essence of this notion... " First you see something noticeable, then you see something less noticeable and finally you see something invisible." 

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Fine Art of Angling, Ten Modern Masters

   If you haven't seen this book on my website,  I hope you'll check it out. DiLes Pubishing and Diane Inman   created a beautiful book.  I'm one of the artist featured and the paintings they chose for the book are some of my favorites... some photos of the collector edition here... Fly Fishing Journal. 
     I have some copies available and would be glad to personalize them for you if you want one. You can contact me at Rod Crossman.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Music for the Road and the Fishing Trip...

    Roll down the window and turn up the Allman Brothers.   In Memory of Elizabeth Reed   helps those hours on the road seem shorter. Most of our fishing around here means a road trip.  Jimbo and I always listened to Gordon Lightfoot when we were on our way to a fishing destination.  Habit or superstition ,  it seemed to bring us good luck.  Here's some other music to tick away the miles. 

  Jeffery Foucault is moody and little dark but perfect for hours on the road before dawn.  Miles From Lightning  keeps the sun out of your eyes.  
David Wilcox .... one of my favorite singer song writers....   his music and poetry are right on in  Perfect Storm   

    Pierce Pettis is another great singer songwriter... Alabama 1959  and  Love Will Find You Again are so beautifully written and played. 

    Peter Mayer sings my favorite version of my favorite song.....  you need  itunes to go here   Moon River

  The Silent Fool  by Eric Mongrain is instrumental genius like rain in the river.... art that takes you where you haven't been before

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Handmade books and" Listening to the River"

   Stone Street Press is where Malachi  McCormick crafts handmade books.   I just ordered " Listening to the River"  from him , sounds like a book I needed. A family memoir about a young boy and a Father with a passion for dry fly fishing and for words. 

More on Nets

   When I was a kid, our fishing net was aluminum with a moss green cotton bag, the kind you buy from the local Hardware. We landed a lot of fish from Otter Lake with that thing. It was a reliable companion,  full of memories and always willing to go fishing no matter the weather.
     The bag on the net bellow is injection molded  PVC ,  there is some thinking that the rubber type bags are easier on fish. I don't know for sure but they seem practical  and easy to use.  Wachter nets use beautiful woods and the latest technology in their design. 
        Fishnat produce a line of nets with all rubber  bags that look good.  They claim that it is a better bag for catch and release. 

Friday, August 15, 2008

Landing Net Art

 Hand crafted wooden landing nets are a visual delight, check out Sams workmanship on  Nets that Honor Fish. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Skipping Stones

   I take a break to skip stones every now and then while I'm fishing.... it's a way to connect all the days, months and years of my life together.  My all time record number of skips?.... I think it's somewhere around 19.  It was my dad who taught me how to skip a rock.  I remember the awe and the magic I felt when he danced that rock on the waters surface. It was another of those gifts he left with me that only after all these years I'm beginning to understand. Skipping stones has helped me find a collection of unique rocks or fossils that I store on shelves along side my favorite books.  Each one attached to a memory of  the river.  

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Classic Angling Magazine with my painting on the cover.

 Classic Angling Magazine featured my painting " Wish upon a Star"  on the cover of the most recent issue. Published in the U.K and a great read...  it also has an article on fishing in Mongolia which has always been a dream of mine. 

Saturday, August 9, 2008

What I see ...not what I think I see....

   This is a painting I finished awhile back...  it is already sold.  I'm interested in that moment of vision , memory and imagination that collide when you see something beautiful. What a miracle water is.  It's another of those things I'm trying to understand. It's really what this painting is about.  


Friday, August 8, 2008

The Art of Fly Reel Design

Fly Reels that are innovative, beautiful, and functional with an emphasis on new ideas and technology.  

   Ari T Hart design , I keep bidding for his reels on ebay .... never won an auction yet. 

  Aesthetics and Function....    

   Technology meets Art and Design.....


Marco Reel.... form and function create fly reel design that is beautiful....

A perfect reel for fishing the trico hatch 

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Trico Take

  One of my latest trout paintings...   it's already sold but I thought you might like to see it. I love fishing during the trico hatch.  One of the most tiny and ephemeral of all mayflies.. hatching, molting, mating , laying eggs and dying in just a couple of hours.  A summer time hatch that can  turn a trip to the stream into a one of those perfect moments we are all in search of.