Not a Fish Tale

By: Matt Foss, assistant director on July 10th, 2019

An old expression claims that a bad day of fishing is still better than a good day of work. In most cases, that rings true. However, at the Woodson Art Museum, usually the opposite is the case. Sometimes a bad day at the Museum can be better than a good day of fishing. Seldom any guts to clean up, at least.

This was not the case on July 1, the opening day for smallmouth bass on Washington Island. Personally, I had a good morning. Within an hour, I had three legal fish in my grandfather’s boat, two of which were decent sized.

Besides successfully catching fish, being out on the water on such a beautiful day was a great opportunity to appreciate my surroundings. Often on Washington Island, the weather, even in early July, is objectionable. This year, it was a perfect temperature, the lake was calm, and traffic was relatively quiet in the harbor.

Because the water temperature is still relatively cool, smallmouth bass stay in shallower water, near sandy bottom areas where reeds are prevalent. This dictated our fishing grounds for the day. When the sun caught the water and the reeds just right, it reminded me of Liquidity by Birds in Art Master Artist Chris Bacon and one of my favorite artworks in the Woodson’s collection.

Liquidity by Chris Bacon, 2010.

The reason it remains one of my favorites is because when I am at work viewing the painting in the galleries or even in collection storage, I immediately feel the sun on my neck, hear the waves lapping against the boat, and smell the fresh Lake Michigan air. Sometimes, a good day at work can take you back to a good day of fishing.

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