Smallie Reproduction critique needed

Submitted by Pete on 12/29/05 at 12:11 PM. ( )

....well, guys, I'm asking for ya to take a look at my first attempt at painting a fish repro. I'm a beginner--I'm a flat-work artist and "hobbiest" taxidermist...Anywho, I used a Wynia blank, water-based acrylics, shiva paintstick scale tipping. My son caught and released this fish and all the photgraphs show a "darker than usual" head/gill plate markings along w/ a more gold/yellow skin tone opposed to "bronzy". I used these reference photos as a guide--no paint schedule. I'd sure appreciate your critique--thank you.

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Very nice...

This response submitted by marty on 12/29/05 at 12:38 PM. ( )

Usually accomplished flat artists have absolutely no problems painting replicas because we're use to working from a white background. That's a heck of a job for a first fish and a heck of a job even if it weren't a first fish!

Like anything, it's where you live..

This response submitted by tomdes on 12/29/05 at 12:52 PM. ( )


Smallmouths, as with walleyes vary in coloration depending on where your from. I just caught some Fall river smallies back in October that are a medium bass green, they look nothing like what you've painted. And I know in other parts of our state they'll have that nice bronze hue to them, kind of like yours. So getting back to your picture, it looks pretty darn good for a beginner with no aid from a paint schedule. There are a few areas I'd comment on but it's tough to see in the picture to give an accurate critque.. keep up the good work!

Even where you live...

This response submitted by marty on 12/29/05 at 2:15 PM. ( )

...they can vary immensely. Smallies around me are all over the charts. Even from the same body of water on the same day, caught from the same spot. That is why I NEVER critique color as harshly as some do. Even the Perch in a previous post - I HAVE seen dark, greenish perch before with absolutely no yellow in them. When I critique a paint job (w/o a photo) I only look at the big picture. Does it look real or painted? Can I envision a photo in my mind that would look like the completed mount? Are the markings in general life-like? The above replica meets all those criteria. W/O a photo it is indeed impossible to give a more accurate critique. That being said, and just going by the criteria that I previously mentioned, I would say that the above replica is better than most full-time taxidermists. Most can tint, but cannot paint. And when they do, they look painted...

I agree with Marty

This response submitted by Cecil on 12/29/05 at 2:22 PM. ( )

Very, very, nice. Better than 90 percent of the repro or skin mount smallmouth put out by taxidermists that do it for a living. Of course I don't think 70 percent of the commercial taxidermists that don't specialize in fish do fish worth a crap anyway.

As an natural artist you have a leg up on those that are not, and I can see you have a rosy future in fish if you choose to be the best you can be.

Ahhh Cecil...

This response submitted by marty on 12/29/05 at 3:44 PM. ( )

...How was your vacation? I went from chaos completing Christmas presents to now watching my younguns on Christmas break. So right back into chaos - lol! Still, wrapping up that Christmas stuff was a major load off my mind. I'll still be playing catch-up in January I'm sure. I'm just glad that these next couple of months should be slow (if it's like a normal year). This is the first year I've got a substantial backlog in my freezers. So I'm looking forward to the low numbers coming in now, I hope...

It was nice down there Marty

This response submitted by Cecil on 12/29/05 at 7:19 PM. ( )

60's and 70's and seeing the folks and helping them celebrate their 50th was a blast. However maybe I'm not old enough but I'd rather park my butt on the ice and catch fish than go south in the winter. The area my parents live in (Largo/St. Pete) is nice and even has some beautiful nature parks complete with alligators, but it just doesn't do anything for me. Funny thing is I saw ponds and lakes everywhere but not one person fishing. I found that rather odd.

I hate to tell you this Marty but you're are just starting to see what backlog is all about. If you're a decent fish taxidermist (and you are) word of mouth will make you busier and busier. At some point you will fanticize about getting caught up but it probably won't happen. Ha Ha!

Wait till you've been at it 23 years like I have. This Christmas I didn't get two fish done by Christmas. As far as I am concerned they can KMA. That's what burnout will do for you. I've had it with
" Can you get it done by Christmas?"

Easy Cecil

This response submitted by DaveT on 12/29/05 at 7:26 PM. ( )

When you get in a binf Cecil I have an easy solution for you. Send them to me :-)

Only snafoo is that you may have trouble explaining the sudden increase in quality :-) I am kidding Cecil.

I actually was gritting my teeth and working till midnight every night trying to get all the Christmas presents out. Thanfully the very last one reached my client on the 24th.


I was down in St Pete decades ago...

This response submitted by marty on 12/29/05 at 10:12 PM. ( )

...when I toyed around playing baseball in college. That area is a bigtime retirement area if I remember correctly. And much of the activities are geared around that age group. (Although we did find some pretty good bars!) I think I prefer the cold weather up here too. 60-70 is nice though. Everytime I've been down that way it's been hideously hot. Not my cup'o'tea.

I've learned my lesson this year. Next year my answer will be "you want it this Christmas or next Christmas?" I've got a better idea of what I should and shouldn't bite off now that's for sure. The week before Christmas I was working 6 am to 2 am, 6 days straight and you get to the point where the family leaves you alone cuz they don't want to be around you! Well, I guess that's NORMAL for me anyway - lol!

That's a very nice looking....

This response submitted by Brian on 12/30/05 at 11:49 AM. ( )

Smallie, Pete. Even better that you didn't use a paint schedule. You have a good eye and colors blend well. The only thing I see, and you already mentioned why, is the bars on the head area a little dark. But I agree with Cecil and Marty, super job. Cecil, my Mom lives in Clearwater and my in-laws in Jenson Beach. Took the family to visit in-laws a couple Christmas' ago and chartered a day out on Okeechobee. That lake has some hogs. I caught an 8lb largemouth (certified scales), with a wild shiner and mounted it. It's hangs in my office chasing a small bluegill I mounted. The charter was "Hillbilly Charters" and cost 100 bucks a day. How cheap is that? Anyway, next time you're down South, you might want to give that a try. Happy New Years.

Thanks guys........

This response submitted by Pete on 12/31/05 at 9:11 AM. ( )

I appreciate the remarks about my smallie--especially from you distinquished pros! :) I'm new to the forum too--man, a wealth of info here. I'll probably be asking some questions from you guys again--if I can't find it by using the search feature on this great site. I checked out some of your sites(marty/cecil)..very impressive...which makes your compliments of my first replica even more appreciative. Thanks again. If interested, some of my flat-art examples is at I'm gonna order a northern and different trout next. I'll probably be buggin' you guys again for a critique.....Happy New Year! Pete

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