Fd: How did Art and Fly Fishing get together in your life? How were your beginnings in these two different fields?

BH: My art career started in the back of my school notebooks. Instead of taking notes, I was drawing! I went to both art high school and college in New York City. I became an illustrator and worked as an Art Director in NYC for many years. I also did illustrations for other publications.

I started fishing when I was about 8 years old on a lake in upstate New York. I picked up a fishing rod that was lying on the dock and in doing so moved a lure that was attached to it. A bass ate the lure and as I started to reel him in, an older boy ran over and claimed his rod. I was hooked worse than the fish.

My love of fly fishing started when I was illustrating flies and outdoor scenes for a magazine and I wondered how they were used. I took a class in fly tying in a fly shop and the proprietor took me fly fishing for the first time. I was hooked for the second time…but with smaller hooks!

Fd: Have you had any mentors or influences?

BH: When I studied art, Winslow Homer was my inspiration. His art always included outdoor scenes. I was always intrigued by their beauty and his expertise.

I studied watercolors with Dong Kingman, an internationally known watercolorist. He had a great influence on me and my work.

Fd: What kind of techniques do you apply? How is your process?

BH: I usually start with a pencil sketch of a moment that inspires me and that I think will resonate with other anglers.
I work with both watercolor and acrylic paint. I also create art using the computer.

Fd: Is there a particular message or feeling you want to convey through your works?

BH: I want to convey the joy of fishing and the outdoors. My goal is to capture the intrinsic atmosphere of a location and reflect special moments in time and place and bring these to the viewer.

Fd: Are you a fan of freshwater fly fishing too? Have you considered portraying freshwater situations?

BH: Yes, I am. In fact, I cut my fly fishing teeth on a very famous river in upstate New York, the Beaverkill, and fished many trout streams in Maine, Michigan, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho and North Dakota.

Fd: What advice would you give to the starting artists that want to get into the fly-fishing world?

Do what you love and paint what you love.

You can contact Bill Hartman and find more about his work, here: BillHartmanArt.com