Hi! I am a hobby taxidermist and only mount things for myself (so Far). I just finished mounting 7 big perch for a stringer mount I have always dreamed of having. I was wondering if someone could tell me what colors I need to buy? I was thinking of using the Trans-latex II paint because I can buy 1 oz bottles. I have also noticed that some of the perch are greener in color with the others being more yellow. I am overwhelmed by so many difeerent color greens and yellows. Thanks Ray
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Heres how I did a school of perch. As there is no right and wrong in art this is just one of many options. Go to the bathroom before reading further, and come back with a drink, maybe even a snack as this could take a while... Try to get a middle shade of green... something akin to pine, but not too dark.. not as light as sage tho - use your judgement, it doesnt need to be exact. A creamy colour (for the belly), black, yellow and white. This will do for your starter colours. By mixing with these colours you can do a perfect perch. Its more about technique. Assuming you are using a bristled brush; use blending... this is when one colour is still wet - you apply the next colour beside it and with a clean damp brush sort of swirl the two colours together, treating your fish as the mixing palette. You can also let one colour dry completely then apply the next - dragging the colour into the dry area. As the paint gets thinner and farther away - it gets lighter and more translucent. 2 places you will use this are where the green meet the cream belly (use the wet into dry technique here). You need to soften the transition between the two. Paint yer cream belly and let dry. Then apply the green above it and blend it down. As you run out of green the cream shows through more and more making a beautiful transition from green to cream. Also along the back where they can be nearly black fading to green on the sides. Use the 2 wet colours beside each other here.
When applying your colours - apply the lighter tones first then darken them with additional layers of colour on top. You will likely find that your fish starts to appear brighter than real ones - this often happens in the wildlife art world. Nature is often gritty. If you feel your green is too bright and unnatural looking - apply a dark green - almost black 'wash' to it. Mix a little black with water... until it has the consistency of milk. 2 ways to apply it; Apply this over the green (dont let it run down to the belly). Let it sit for a couple of seconds then wipe it off - the black will remain in the recesses between scales and slightly tint your green. Another way is to brush your wash on sparingly in thin coats until you achieve the depth you like. When yer green is dry paint in the dark chevron / side bars in blackish green (same colour you used along the spine). You may want to SLIGHTLY blend out the edges of the chevrons so they dont look like they were drawn in with markers, avoid crisp edges here. The reason for the yellow is this; when mixed with black it makes a very nice olive colour that you can use to add a bit of variety to your green; either within the fish (I like the hint of yellow towards the belly transition) or to make each fish a little different. The white is to lighten your cream to add a variety of cream tones effectively and with minimal cost.
A word of advice here... as a skin is essentially a canvas - practice your fine art skills before doing your fish. Go to an arts n crafts store and buy a drawing pad with good heavy paper. Buy sum transfer paper. If you cant find this - sumtimes called carbon paper, make yer own. scribble on a piece of paper with a pencil til it is covered in graphite. Or get a carbon copy from credit card receipts etc. Make sure to get the piece that holds the transfer medium. Next get a good picture of a perch. using an overhead transparency and marker - trace the otline of the perch, eyes, operculars (gill coverings) etc. All the structural features, not the colour patterns. lay the transfer paper carbon side down on your drawing paper. lay the overhead tracing on top of that... use a ball point pen and trace hard over the outine. Do this to make several fish. (Ill be back in a minute - hand cramp from typing so much!) *stretches his hand and whistles a fine diddy of a tune for your listenning pleasure* K - back... NOW - you have a bunch of perch outlines that look like they are from a kids colouring book - perfect! All the techniques I described for painting your skins... do them on paper.. a LOT! If it takes 30 tries to get what ya like - it was time well spent when ya do it on yer mounts =) After yer all done - decide on the level of gloss you want. I suggest a satin clear coat. It gives a slightly foggy finish that looks like tacky semi dry fish - appropriate for a stringer of fish layin there... If ya spray over yer eyes - it'll make it look like they've been there a while - so if you want nice clear eyes - avoid spraying them. Again - this is one of dozens of ways that work, so feel free to give it a shot, but dont feel this is a set of 'must obey' rules. Play around with your paper 'colour roughs' and see what works for you! Most importantly... have fun ;)
I also have a mounted one on my website at http://www.ligtel.com/~jjbaird/bairdfish2.htm if you want see it. I have a live one on that site to, but the photo make it appear less yellow/orange than it appeared.
Step One: Use black to blend in the filler on head, lip, and any caudal fin repairs
Step two: Use off white on the belly, in the mouth, bottom of the head, and the edge of the operculum.
Step three: Use a pearl or chrome pearlescent on the white areas except the bottom of the head.
Step four: Use an irridescent gold as a base color on the sides of the fish. This give the perch a somewhat golden sheen which is typical of yellow perch.
Step five: Mix yellow and red in a color cup until you get light orange mixture. When painted this will appear more yellow than in the cup. Use this on the back, sides,cheeks, and caudal fin
Step six: Make this yellow/orange mixture even deeper orange (looks almost red in the color cup, and paint the fins rays on the pelvic, anal, and pec fins. If you want to get technical, the males have deeper orange fins than the females, however, for commercial work I wouldn't get hung up on it.
Step Seven: Going back to black highlight the bars, but don't overpaint them (I see this alot), darken the back to a green coloration. Darken the spiny dorsal fin and caudal fin if neccessary.
Don't be intimidated by yellow perch. They are as easy to paint as they are to mount.
Thanks for the help. I can't wait for the paint to arrive. I just hope it as as simple as it sounds. My next fish will probably be a bluegill. My 6 & 3 year old daugthers have been catching some nice size ones on a small lake a couple miles from the house. If you have any hints for painting them it would be appriciated. I bought some schedules from Rinehart and I was not impressed with what they sent. Thanks Again Ray
No.1 stencil the fish yellow where it should be.no.2 stencil in dark body flanks don't over do anything it is very easy to over do paint.No.3very little green here and there on parts of the yellow green is a color that is extremely easy to over do.No4Do the white belly gill covers. No 5All of these steps the paint is just barly going one the fish in very very very small quantities