Painting Through Prosek: Atlantic Salmon

On December 9, 2012, I painted the Arctic Char. It was my first painting since college. It was the first painting in the “Painting Through Prosek” series. At the time, I thought I might be able to paint every fish in the book. That didn’t happen. That being said, I think I painted 31 different fish from the book Trout: An Illustrated History by James Prosek. I also painted a speckled trout, a couple brookies and brown trout, two red drum tails, and a quail.

This project ended with the Atlantic Salmon. It is such a powerful and beautiful fish. These amazing sea-run fish, return to home waters to spawn. Some make the trip more than once. Most do not.

Salmon have been an important species to may people for many reasons. Some salmon runs have long since disappeared from interruption of their path by dams. This is just as true for the Atlantic Salmon as it is for their West Coast cousins.

I chose to go outside my comfort zone and paint something other than the body colors. I drew some of the structure of Prosek’s fish in pencil to help guide my brush. I think this was a great way to end this project. 

I’m not sure what comes next. I have Prosek’s book, Trout of the World and Ocean Fishes. But I was thinking of something else.

This July, we are moving back to Southeast Minnesota for the year. I’ll be at the edge of the Driftless Area. I might try to find representative flora and fauna and paint those in a Driftless series. Just a thought, for now.

Painting Through Prosek: Westlope Cutthroat Trout

What better to do while watching a good game this evening? While Wisconsin took their shot at Kentucky, I took my shot at the Western Cutthroat Trout. Again, I turned to a combination of James Prosek’s version with some photos online and came up with a compromise. 

Look at Kaminsky go!


I added the highlights to give it that shiny-wet-fish appearance.

Painting Through Prosek: Speckled Trout

Well, after a quick trip to fish harkers island, I thought it was time to look to Prosek’s book Ocean Fishes for inspiration and tried my hand at the Speckled Trout, also known as weakfish or Sea Trout. This fish can look basically black and white at first glance, but with a closer look the iridescent blues, greens, and purples as well as the rose and buttercup yellows start to shine through. 

I’m not 100% satisfied with it, but that might be more a sign of my personal growth and desire to step outside the realm of the body design and start looking into fins and gill plates as opposed to the actual outcome. 
Regardless, I give you the Speckled Trout. 

Painting Through Prosek: Von Behr Brown Trout

No apologies for the decrease in posts, from me. I’ve been busy with an amazing 8-month old and traveling for interviews. This time next year, I’ll be exploring new waters. 
On to the painting…
This one has been a long time coming. One of my first attempts at painting was of a brown trout, and, man, did I struggle. I’ve gotten a little better control of color now, and I’m much happier with this result. I went for the warm colors of the colorful, small-stream browns when they wear yellow bellies and are sprinkled with red and black berries. 
Now, here’s a question for you…. Wouldn’t it be cool if we could get some shirts with these on them?? 

Painting Through Prosek: Provo River Strain Bonneville Cutthroat

The cutties in Utah used to be big. Real big. We are talking 10lbs big. Long gone are those day, but there are some remaining strains of the ancestors of those big fish. I can just imagine James Prosek and his buddy, navigating the Utah landscape in an old pickup truck, searching for the unique strains of trout. 
With only a few paintings left in this project, we stop to admire the Provo River Strain of the Bonneville Cutthroat Trout – a strain native to Utah. 
I was a little too light on the par marks and could have gotten my red coloring of the lateral line better, but I’m happy with the fin. 
I think I have four more set aside to paint. Then it is either on to Trout of the World, or time to look at something other than trout. 
Have a great weekend!

Painting Through Prosek – Greenback Cutthroat Trout

The colors on my rendition of James Prosek’s Greenback Trout are as bright and bold as the fish’s comeback from near extinction. I had to paint this one in a flurry during our little one’s evening naps. Fortunately, he was gracious enough to even give me the time to post it. Sleep well, little David. 
Prosek’s version is very colorful. 

Do you see that one little orange spot in the middle? Well, I went back and covered with a black spot like it is supposed to be. I guess that’s what I get for rushing 🙂

Painting Through Prosek: Spawning Colorado River Cutthroat Trout

I’ve been looking forward to this fish ever since a I saw a photo posted by Ivan of Yukon Goes Fishing on his Instagram feed. 

photo by YGF… I think.
Now, I don’t really know for sure if that is Colorado River Cutthroat or a Yellowfin Cutthroat. What really amazed me was the spot distribution and stark contrast of the yellow body. 
I have primarily been focusing on the broad side of the fish. As you can seen in James Prosek’s depiction, it is rather spotless. That meant I had to get a little creative in how I added the spots in. I could have painted the entire fish or just the tail, but I decided to go a different direction.

There may still be time to put this book on your Christmas list. 
The cheap paint set I bought a while back has lasted.
As you can see below, I deiced to just let the spots run off the page. 
I also painted them to fade out a bit. 

Another look at the spots. 

The Instagram shot. 

Next up, the Greenback.

Painting Through Prosek: Volcano Creek Golden Trout

As I finish the section on the Rainbow, Redband and Golden Trout, it has begun to really sink in how much trout diversity there is in North America. This slow stroll through Prosek’s book has given me the chance to daydream about one day seeking out some of the less common species. Who knows, I might find myself backpacking the High Sierras, just south of Mount Whitney, stalking the Kern River tributaries in search of the Volcano Creek Golden Trout. 
From here, we move on to the Cutthroat Trout. This is a, relatively, diverse group. I believe I have about 6 or 7 pages marked to paint. Slowly but surely, I’ll make it through.