Angling Art: New Works by Galen Mercer


Written by: Phil Monahan

“On a Flood Tide, Restigouche,” Oil on Canvas, 24″ X 36″, 2016
All paintings by Galen Mercer

Artist Galen Mercer lives along the Battenkill in West Arlington, Vermont. Canadian by birth, he’s the grandson of two painters and the son of another, so it’s kind of in his blood. (He’s also married to Orvis’s own Jaimie Mercer, the subject of one of my favorite fly-fishing photos.) Here are five of his most recent works. Here’s how he describes the project:

For the most part, the works reflect experiences from the earlier part of the Quebec salmon season, when rivers are fullest, and the largest and strongest fish have begun to return. There’s something inexpressibly vital and grand about that period; life is surging back into the valleys, every color is radiantly fresh, and both the weather and sport share an element of roulette. I’ve always been drawn to the force or brio of this time, and hope the paintings might recall a sense of that anticipation, surprise and wonder which Gaspé landscapes seems to embody then.

Of the painting above, he says, “A brilliant day on a full river – the Lower Restigouche is a major study in scale. Panoramic views and vast ranks of Maritime clouds enliven its rugged landscape. Broad and physical, a wonderful and healthy sense of diminution attends this section of the river.”


“In the Big Mountains,” Oil on Canvas, 18″ X 25″, 2016
The breadth of a great salmon river. The promise and bewitching afterglow of a June evening.

“Twelve Greens,” Oil on Canvas, 16″ X 21″, 2016
Salmon boats at rest. A timeless aspect of every salmon camp. The variety and nuanced shades of
riverine greens, keyed to the traditional colors of a Sharpes canoe and amplified by bright sun.

“In the Shadows of Diamond Pool,” Oil on Canvas, 18″ X 22″, 2016
The operatic setting and mysterious beauty of ‘Diamond Pool’ on the Restigouche. Large salmon lie in
the rocky trench formed at the base of this dazzling mountainside.

“Passing Storm, Baie-des-Chaleurs,” Oil on Canvas, 19″ X 25″, 2016
A veiled and moody study of the aftermath of a great storm I witnessed one evening on this body of water. Nearly every salmon that ascends a Gaspe’ river journeys up this immense, marvelous bay. There’s magic in this thought.

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