Up Close and Personal

Artist A.D. Maddox Will Reel You In 


The big trout races at you in an explosion of color. In the excitement of the moment, you feel the strength and energy of the fish. You find yourself eye level with nature’s freshwater torpedo – the wild steelhead.

AJ Maddox works on the L.L.Bean fishing catalog cover

“There’s something I love about this sport,” says A.D. Maddox. She’s not talking about fly fishing. She’s referring to the sport of painting trout.


“The piece was an adventure,” she explains. “It’s all a balancing trick, taking out and adding design elements. I imagined the color and struggled with the moving water. I hook my fish when I start the canvas then let them run for a while, but I always reel them in!”


This synergy between artist and angler is what makes A.D.’s paintings special. It’s impossible for a fisherman to look at the “Running Rainbow” and not feel his heartbeat quicken. It was a great choice for our latest Fishing catalog.


Vice President and Creative Director, Marcia Minter, knew A.D.’s work was perfect for a cover. In fact, this is A.D.’s second for L.L.Bean. “We loved the fresh, contemporary approach that she has to the subject matter,” said Marcia. “Her bold use of color and graphic sense of composition bring such energy that it conveys the true excitement of fishing.”

Our Spring Fishing Catalog cover, by artist A.D. Maddox

For A.D., as with all avid anglers, it’s all about the fish. “One would never know just how beautiful they are until they rise. They’re like hidden jewels. Each is very different and totally unique, that’s what makes painting trout so exciting. There’s no end to the inspiration.”


Traditionally, sporting art features a lone fisherman in an idyllic setting. The landscape style and sense of space convey a serene and relaxing experience.


And then there’s A.D.’s sporting art.


“The traditional style of painting landscapes never interested me. It’s been done. I’ve developed my own unique style over many years. From the beginning, it’s been predominately from an up-close perspective.”


Capturing trout and the motion of water is a passion of the artist and she continues to discover new ways of expression. “In the water, I find the creative inspiration and flexibility to choose and use whatever color I could possibly want. My art is a pure manifestation of my own imagination which is derived from my love of fly fishing.”


Her father introduced her to the sport. Though she lives in Nashville, TN, she learned to fish out west. “My father taught me how to fly fish on the Yellowstone River in Montana. A first-time experience I will never forget.” She believes it’s important to make sure you have a good experience in the beginning. “Go with a pro your first time. I think it makes it easier.”


While living in Jackson Hole, WY, she worked on her art, took long rides on her Ducati motorcycle (another passion) and went fly fishing whenever possible. One day, while visiting a gallery, the owner told her that she was always looking for paintings of fish. Willing to give it a try, she returned with a canvas of a trout. “It sold in 15 minutes for $1,000.” A.D. got the message and has been painting fish ever since. “I like to continue successful actions,” she explained.


Her actions continue to be very successful. There is a growing demand for her work, and it’s now decorating fishing accessories such as scarves, mugs, fly boxes, tees and even boats. You can see a collection of her work on her Web site. If you like one of her pieces, act quickly – they go as fast as her Ducati.



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