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Golden Trout Paint Schedule

In 1992, Jeff Lumsden of Everette, Washington accomplished something only a handful of artists can claim, when he was awarded the coveted Judges’ Choice Best of Show at the World Taxidermy Championships with a beautiful chum salmon, winning him TWO gold Akeley medallions. Jeff has been one of the leading fish taxidermists of our day, not only winning top awards but also developing innovative product lines like Polytranspar™ Liquid Scales, Steelhead Mannikins and Still Life Lenses. But even before that, way back in the 1980’s, Jeff had been a successful taxidermist and published his paint schedules in Tim Kelly’s American Taxidermist Magazine. After American Taxidermist ceased publication, this decade-old golden trout paint schedule was re-published by WASCO in North American Taxidermy News in 2001. Now, here it it 13 years later, and I wanted to present Jeff’s nearly 30-year-old paint schedule one more time, and allow today’s artists to take advantage of his innovative paining techniques.

Jeff Lumsden continues to operate Still Life Studio in Everett, Washington, where he offers full range of outstanding taxidermy products to his loyal clients.

Golden Trout Paint Schedule by Jeff Lumsden
using Polytranspar™ Airbrush Paints

The golden trout, salmo aquabonita, is probably the least mounted of the seven species of trout found in North America. The original distribution was at elevations above 10,000 feet in the upper Kern River basin of the California Sierras. The species is now widely transplanted in many western states. In the pristine setting of the high country, the golden trout is the most rewarding of all trout species to creel.

Following is a paint schedule for any taxidermist who is fortunate enough to have the opportunity to mount one of these beautiful trout.The color phases of the golden trout vary from the pre-spawning to the post-spawning periods. The pre-spawning phase I feel most typically depicts the species, with natural vivid colorations. During the spawning phase the colors are most intense. However the colors overlap with a lack of definition to them. The post-spawning phase, as in most Salmonidae, is the least intense and not as exciting.

Step 1. 2 Parts Cadmium Yellow (FP or WA140) parts mixed with 1 part Yellow Ochre (FP or WA141) — With a #4 watercolor brush I washed in this color, fading down into the red ventral stripe and upward to the lateral stripes. This created a natural golden yellow from within the skin for the base color. See illustration above. Note that this color is applied BEFORE the Fungicidal Sealer so that the pigment will soak into the skin. After it is dry, go to the next step.

Step 2. Fungicidal Sealer (FP or WA220) — Spray two medium-heavy coats of sealer over the entire fish, making sure to cover the inside of the mouth and gills.

Step 3. Superhide White (FP or WA10) — (Head — Bondo reproduction): Spray a heavy coat inside the mouth, mandible, branchiostegal rays and maxillary bone. Heavy under the eye and on the cheek. Spray lighter as you paint up and outward on the gill covers, fading out at the top of the head. (Body): Spray medium-heavy coat on the breast area and pectoral fin unions. Mist lightly down the rest of the belly toward the vent, and carefully fading up into the fin line. Spray medium-heavy on the leading edges of the ventral fins, anal fins, and its union, and the lower caudal peduncle area.

Step 4. Satin White Pearl Essence (FP or WA401) — Spray medium-heavy everywhere white has been applied except on the leading edge of the fins.

Step 5. Silver Pearl (FP or WA402) — Heavy spray below the eyes, maxillary, preopercle and opercle.

Step 6. 2 Parts Cadmium Yellow (FP or WA140) parts mixed with 1 part Yellow Ochre (FP or WA141) — Spray lightly branchiostegal rays, mandible, maxillary bone and under eyes. Paint the cleithrum also.

Step 7. Medium Bass & Trout Green (FP or WA61, non-bleeding, opaque) — With this color begin sketching in the upper one-third of the fish’s head. Work down to the opercles, around the eyes and over to the snout. After you have established those definitions, you can apply more paint as your references guide you.

Step 8. Medium Bass and Trout Green (FP or WA51, bleeding, transparent) — Spray this color lightly on the back fading down to the red lateral line stripe. Be careful not to overspray in that area at all. Spray the dorsal, adipose, and caudal fins, mostly at their bases. Spray lightly according to your reference material.

Step 9. 5 Parts Yellow Gold Pearl (FP or WA425) parts mixed with 1 part Waterfowl Base Yellow (FP or WA143) — Spray this color on the lower third of the head fading out onto the middle of the opercles. Then mist this color down the yellow sides and the caudal peduncle area.

Step 10. Blood Red (FP or WA270) — You must be careful of overspray. Spray this intense color with your finest airbrush and tip. Apply between each branchiostegal ray, between the rays and mandible, the mandible, the trailing edge of the opercle, and a small trace on the maxillary bone.

Step 11. Blood Red (FP or WA270) — Using the same Blood Red as above, paint the pectoral, ventral, and anal fins with a medium spray. Be careful not to overspray onto the white leading edges of the fins! See illustration. Mist the leading edges of the caudal fin fading into the center. Lightly color the adipose and dorsal fins; check your references as a guide. Mist in the ventral stripe spraying heavier in the center. Make a nice blend onto the golden sides all the way to the fish’s vent.

Step 12. Intense Red (FP or WA280) — Spray this color on the lateral stripe. Watch for overspray and don’t carry this stripe into the spot pattern of the caudal peduncle area. Next tint this color on the upper portions of the preopercle and opercle.

Step 13. Intense Yellow (FP or WA260) — Spray medium heavy on the trailing edges of the pectorlal fins, lightly over the ventral fins. Mist the extreme edge of the caudal, adipose and dorsal fin. Mist this powerful color over the golden sides for a more intense color. Check with references.

Step 14. Pintail Gray (FP or WA33) — This is a nice gray to use to lightly paint the lower lip line.

Step 15. Flesh (FP or WA165) — Mist the mouth interior.

Step 16. 1 Part Phthalo Blue (FP or WA105) parts mixed with 1 Part Wet Look Gloss (FP or WA240) — This mixture is applied very lightly as a mist on the roof and back of the mouth. Very lightly mist blue over the anal fin for a deeper red. Also mist the white underside of the caudal/peduncle. This color should just tint the white and give it depth. Next spray medium light above and below the lateral red stripe.

Step 17. Black Umber (FP or WA29) — This color is used for the spot pattern. Follow the original patterns on the skin using your finest airbrush and tip.

Step 18. Black (FP or WA30) — Highlight the fin rays and outline the white leading edge on the fins.

Step 19. Shimmering Violet Iridescent (FP or WA444) — Tip each scale within the lateral red stripe with this color using a #00 artist brush.

Step 20. Shimmering Gold Iridescent (FP or WA442) — This color is used to tip the scales on the back with a #00 artist brush. I noticed the gold scales intensified around each spot. This gave a halo effect to the spots.

Step 21. 1 Part Shimmering Blue Iridescent (FP or WA440) mixed with 1 Part Shimmering Green Iridescent (FP or WA441) — Mix equal parts of these two colors and very lightly mist the mixture on the upper preopercle, back, and below the lateral stripe.

Step 22. Shimmering Red Iridescent (FP or WA443) — Very lightly mist this color over the opercles and ventral stripe.

Step 23. Wet Look Gloss (FP or WA240) — After I was pleased with my color applications, I sprayed my first coat of gloss lightly as a flash coat. I waited until the flash coat became tacky, and then I sprayed a heavy coat to gloss the entire fish. After drying six to eight hours, I applied two more coats allowing ample drying time between the layers of gloss.

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