“Back to School” new work by Ellen Kelley McHale

One of the few pieces that I painted over my summer vacation was inspired by all the fishing that was happening in and around our get away spot along the NH/Maine coastline.  There was flyfishing, spearfishing, deep sea fishing, fishing with drop lines, lobstering, descaling of fish on my back deck (not happy about that one), and fishing off of paddle boards in the wee hours of the morning.  I painted this as the summer was coming to a close and all the guys were heading back to school and in some cases to far off lands – did I mention that this was the summer of guys with me being the one and only woman of the house? When that happens – you either fish or cut bait (pun intended) so I rolled up my sleeves and joined in …

part of my fly fishing crew

One of the best days of the summer was hanging with our boys on a fly fishing adventure.  My husband is missing from this picture because he was the acting photographer at the moment.  We had a great day – great for me because they set me up for early success. We ate great food thanks to Chef B and had a fantastic day in and around the river.

“back to school” in situ

I couldn’t wait to frame “Back to School” and hang it in my renovated studio.  I also was looking forward to working with a new (to me) fine art printing company that I was introduced to last year through the artist William QuigleyPitch Black Editions.  They are a fine art printing and frame shop that specialize in the reproduction and scanning of artists original work.  The level of detail that they are able to pick up and reproduce is amazing and spot on.  Their framing is exceptional too.  I recommend them enthusiastically whether you are an artist looking for exceptional quality reproductions or someone looking to frame a piece of art.  You can find business partners, photographers and fellow artists, Jordan and Brandon, here.

“Back to School” framed original

My favorite souvenirs from great adventures are always my memories and in this case I was able to able to record a bunch of stories of our summer in this one particular painting.  It has different meanings for each person. (Ask my son’s friend, Cam – who called my painting: “More work than I’ve done in my First 2 Years of College” – lol) If you look closely at each fish, they have their own little personalities and stories to tell – maybe the best title for this particular piece of work is: “Fish Tale“.

fine art prints of “Back to School” are available for purchase in the shop


Back to School: acrylics on cold press water color paper, framed: 27 x 35

more to come,



6 thoughts on “Back to School and Fish Tales

  1. Maureen Stachowicz says:

    El, I love the story behind this new piece!!! Tell me, though, did you all really catch that many fish?? Love your waders! Tres chic! 😉

    • Ellen McHale says:

      I caught each and every one of them in my imagination! My waders actually have a light floral pattern stamped on the bib (maybe too difficult to see)so I was able to maintain a degree of femininity despite the odds stacked against me all summer. ha! You would have loved the adventure. xo

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