Beyond the Boundaries

by John Ross

The evocative paintings of Adriano Manocchia transcend what's typical in today's world of sporting and wildlife art.

Imagine for a moment that you and I are with artist Adriano Manocchia, relaxing on Adirondack chairs under the eave of the porch at his house in Cambridge, New York, a double haul from the Vermont border. We've just come out from his studio. Inside, he just added a layer of color to a painting of his favorite reach of the Firehole, which is upstream from Yellowstone's Middle Geyser basin. Set in September, looking downstream, one sees the mud pots and fumaroles that scent the air with brimstone. To the right, a train of bison ambles down from the height at Muleshoe Bend. The low ridge and the meadow are bathed in sun, yet to the west in the direction of the Madison, the sky carries a deep grey-blue patina, the color of the barrels on that old Parker that stands muzzle-down in my closet. A front is in the offing.

You and I have fished that run of the Firehole often. The rainbows there have humbled us many times. Adriano, too.

"Fishing the Firehole can be a religious experience," says the talented artist. "Whenever we go out there we spend at least one morning or one sunset on that stretch." Often, he and his wife, Teresa, will just walk along the river, captured by the tableau before them and the water at their feet. Ask most art dealers who know his work and they'll tell you that one of Adriano's fortes is painting water. If you don't believe me, look closely at the stream in About to Test His Skill. You've seen water just like this when you've waded the Battenkill, the Au Sable, the Gibbon in the meadow where browns are suckers for 'hoppers or in a hundred other streams where you fish.

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