I was recently at the International Fly Tackle Dealer Show in New Orleans where I had the chance to see all the latest and greatest gizmos and gadgets from hundreds of different vendors. Amidst the gloss, chrome, and mile-high photographs that go along with trade conventions, the thing that caught my eye was a watercolor portrait of Lefty Kreh on display at the Temple Fork Outfitters booth. Lefty is my hero. No other way to put it really.
When I was a teenager and wanted to learn to fly fish on my local water (the Bow River) Lefty Kreh's video showed me how. When I later became a guide—and wanted to learn how to be a better teacher and instructor—Lefty's videos showed me how to do that as well. He's also taken the time on countless occasions to teach me and tens of thousands of other people not only how to be better fly fishers, but how to have more fun doing it. Lefty has been a Fly Fisherman contributing editor for far longer than I've been around—at least 30 years—and nobody captivates a crowd at a consumer sporting show than Lefty.
I've seen thousands of photos of Lefty, and many of them are excellent. But this painting really is more than a snapshot in time. It's a fitting tribute for a man that has spent a lifetime helping so many others.
The watercolor portrait of Bernard "Lefty" Kreh was done by Monica Acee, of Deansboro, New York (monicaacee.com). From her web site: "Her artwork has graced the covers of several magazines, and has appeared in many publications, including the book The Best of Portrait Painting. Her portraits have been included in news stories on CNN, NBC's Today Show and other television shows. One of her equine paintings was featured on the 1997 Hampton Classic Horse Show poster and was the first to sell out during the week of the show. She was among a select few invited to display her work alongside the paintings of Andrew Wyeth and Philip Pearlstein in the "Face of America" - an exhibition devoted to outstanding portraits in watercolor. Her paintings grace numerous collections both domestically and abroad, including those of super-model Christie Brinkley, William Bristol III of Bristol-Myers Squibb, and the American Embassy in London, England. Monica is currently accepting commissions from her studio in Upstate New York."