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A Steelhead Reproduction Essay

Discussion in 'Tutorials' started by Rick Krane, Dec 15, 2006.

  1. Rick Krane

    Rick Krane Fish Taxidermist/ Judge/ Sculptor/ Instructor

    I want to share an Anglers Artistry student Photo essay on Mr. Travis Peterson of Ketchikan Alaska. Travis spent 10 day learning for the first time how to mount conventional skin fish for taxidermy. Travis during his 10 days learned how to skin, carve a body from foam hand paint eyes, learned to rebuild and last paint a mounted a fish to completion. Travis also painted a Reproduction Steelhead which was provided by Dave Campbell of Tacoma WA which was shown early on the forum...

    This months Essay is on fishing and painting a Later Winter Alaskan Steelhead.

    First Travis purchased a great Steelhead reproduction from Dave Campbell of Tacoma WA, known for his great taxidermy and some truly exceptional reproduction fish. Here is a glance in to Travis time learning how to do fish incorporating the different phases of fish taxidermy and reproduction work. At the end I will give the paint schedule of the Steelhead we used to achieve Travis Great fish.

    It all begins with a good Reproduction fish. We covered the identification of anatomy and body shape. Travis learned that not all reproductions are created equal. A good fish starts with accurate interpretations both anatomically in relation to color depictions for the species for the time of the year being study as reference.
     
  2. Rick Krane

    Rick Krane Fish Taxidermist/ Judge/ Sculptor/ Instructor

    The initial step is in assessing the over all body for correction and repair if any. Travis found that the fish was very good and needed very little correction work. Once the over all separation seams was addressed and made smooth the head was attached after setting hand painted eyes. Once the head was secured, Travis made the epoxy junction to the head the rebuilding the super cleithrum bone is also done at this time. A distinction tissue role at the dorsal fin was applied and the anal vent reproduced for this time of the anatomical phase of a spawning Buck.

    Once this task was completed Travis moved on to paint work. First a mild blush of a pigment was put on the center section of the fish as it would show a touch of the center color. Next the fish was sprayed med to heavy with a Greenish Blue mix to the upper half of the fish including the entire head.
    The lower section form the lateral line down is sprayed with a muddy brown color.

    As shown Travis next steel wools the fish of this color combination reveling the details of the scale pockets.
     

  3. Rick Krane

    Rick Krane Fish Taxidermist/ Judge/ Sculptor/ Instructor

    Travis then incorporates color pencils techniques the fish staining the exposed scales creating the dead skin look. Remember we must paint backwards to achieve the realism of a color as it applies to the fish. Color is a combination of illusion and refraction. Color sits under a scale and we have to apply color on top of the scale so first the illusion of undertone or the “dead skin” look must be applied to hopefully achieve the depth and tones of a relativistic fish.
     
  4. Rick Krane

    Rick Krane Fish Taxidermist/ Judge/ Sculptor/ Instructor

    Once the fish is toned Travis applies powders of colors to the center line region and begins to enhance the scales with colors (tipping). Wet tipping is when color is applied in a manner where you medium is wet and dry is when it is in the powder form. Both techniques of application are excellent and can be mutually applied. Travis applies both mediums to this steelhead.
     
  5. Rick Krane

    Rick Krane Fish Taxidermist/ Judge/ Sculptor/ Instructor

    Travis now begins to apply the base colors first a light yellowish / green then a soft gray blue to make the base back color. Travis adds some cosmetics to the mid section creating the sub stripe tone. Travis moves on to the lower belly to darken the spawning smoky coloration.
     
  6. Rick Krane

    Rick Krane Fish Taxidermist/ Judge/ Sculptor/ Instructor

    Travis re-tips selectively the fish. Moving on to the spotting and detailing Travis switch to a detailing airbrush.
     
  7. Rick Krane

    Rick Krane Fish Taxidermist/ Judge/ Sculptor/ Instructor

    Finally Travis head details the fish to completion. One last look before gloss!

    Travis use both Polytranspar and Lifetone paints airbrush paints available from Wasco (Wild Life Artist Supply Company) unless indicated they maybe switched.
     
  8. Rick Krane

    Rick Krane Fish Taxidermist/ Judge/ Sculptor/ Instructor

    Powdered paint’s. Polytranspar Powders can be applied with your figure tip or with a small paint brush.

    Colored Pencil. Prisma Colored penciled are used were needed to enhance the color of a scale or to achieve and effect to the skin where desired.

    At this time Travis would use a Metallic silver Prisma color pencil to tip each scale from the top of the back to several rows fading down to the belly just below the lateral line.
    Option* Using sliver powder pigment and a dry brush paint each scale starting from the entire edge of the caudle fin covering each scale fading down to the belly and include several scale spatially above the lateral line. This will add depth and dimension to your tipping.
     
  9. Rick Krane

    Rick Krane Fish Taxidermist/ Judge/ Sculptor/ Instructor

    1. The back color Pre sanding: FP51 Med. Bass & Trout Gr.5 parts / FP31 Payne's Grey 2 parts / 2 parts thinner 1 part acetone

    2. Lower body color Pre sanding: FP72 Sahara Tan 5 parts / FP75 Blending Brown 3 parts / 2 parts thinner 1 part acetone

    3. Sand with 00/ fine steel wool

    4. PT, Superhide White: Fade the head out. Lightly spray the entire head with Off White (also the repaired area at the base of the fins.)
    B. Color the inside of the mouth lightly with off white building the intensity until covered evenly...
    C. Starting from the center of the belly line section, paint the belly misting up to the side fading out much lighter to about 1/8 up the side. Keep it natural looking and not heavy...

    5. You can use the Blending Brown or a dark mix of Dark brown and Payne’s gray to lightly apply color to repair area to tone down your repair area’s on the top portions of the fish if needed. If you needed to re color and tone these area of the skin you must now re-high light the scales with a silver or gold base of powder paints ( use your reference to determine which color is better for your particular fish) to re-create the scale tone of color.

    6. LT, Chrome pearl. Chrome pearl is applied by lightly misting it over the center 1/3 of the of fish starting from the end of the scales at the caudle junction to through the edge of the gill cover. If you can see it go on your paint work is to strong. Use light passes to fade it on to the body.
    Apply to gill cover area if desired. You must use reference here from your saved fish head or photo’s. PSI around 26

    6. At this time I would use a Metallic silver prisma color pencil to tip each scale from the top of the back to several rows fading down to the belly just below the lateral line.
    Option* Using sliver powder pigment and a dry brush paint each scale starting from the entire edge of the caudle fin covering each scale fading down to the belly and include several scales above the lateral line. This will add depth and dimension to your tipping.
     
  10. Rick Krane

    Rick Krane Fish Taxidermist/ Judge/ Sculptor/ Instructor

    7. Using gold powder pigment to create a round area with your finger tips to make the halo’s ready for spotting. Use some green powders to enhance the same areas but not to blend it in to one color. The top of the head should start looking like it is bruised surface with lots of depth and tone.

    8. Blush in some reddish tones with powders Use reference to determine the tones of your fish. Red Russets or blue russets work well with antique coopers. For this fish.

    9. Seal the powder colors in over the body and head with sealer a tact coat will work best.

    10. LT, Trans Amber Oxide uses this color to begin the greening process of the head and the back. Mist this color over the head area as with the Coco brown to cover the same area. Paint using a slow building of the color over the back 1/4 misting down to just above the lateral line. Mist over the all top fins, and caudle fin. Use reference especially on the fins. PSI around 26

    11. *Optional Gold toner faint mist to gill covers followed by gill read mist over the gold toner. I turn my air pressure down to do this so that the pint is a mist and stipples, also the gill red must be translucent. This step is only down is fish shows this fait color. Most silver phases steel head do not.

    12. LT, Transparent Payne’s gray or really thinned down Payne’s repeat the above process to the head and the back to will create the greenish blue color of the steel head apply this color to all fins. (Be careful not to over paint this color and uses reference to paint the lower fins as they vary greatly.) Use a tracing method when painting the top of the head. Mist around the halos as to keep the outer edges darker then the center of the halo’s

    13. PT, Gill Red (Cadm.): With a #1 fine liner hand brush paint the tops of the lateral line scales with thinned down red (use reference) some reds can be orange in tones or deep red tones.

    14. With a dry 1”round brush load the bristles with red powder pigment and stipple it over the lateral line area( use reference) in most cases the red center marking is on to just below this lateral line area.

    15. Using violet and sliver powered pigments select a few scales to add depth and an interruption to the pattern of red.

    16. Taking a clean dry #2 filbert brush I wipe away or push away some of the red powder to expose the sliverish tones under the red.

    The Head area detail

    17. Using reference of your fish you may color in dark brown some of the deeper colors in the lower cheek area as seen in the pictures. Also mist the maxillary bone and the lower mandible as reference dictates.
     
  11. Rick Krane

    Rick Krane Fish Taxidermist/ Judge/ Sculptor/ Instructor

    18. The gill flaps can also be misted with the dark brown if shown on the fish. The rear gill cover edge is also high lifted. Mist a smoky look from the belly line fading up to the 1/8 line of the lower section. Use reference.

    19. At this point using a combination of gold/red/blue/violet metallic colors applies them with your fingers or a small dry brush to the rear portion of the gill cover to create the color illusion.

    20. Mist with Gill Red (Cadm.) over this area lightly in a splotchy pattern to intensify the tone of red to this rear gill cover.

    * Option you may mist this color over the pectoral/ pelvic fins as well as the center of the body if desired.

    Turn down your air pressure to an air follow that will allow the paint to have a fine mist that stipples. The paint must be thinned. Using reference cut align to the two sides of the gill plate separations, the gill flaps lower jaw the upper mandible separation, cut align under the eye, and mist this same color set up over the lower 1/3 of the belly section to tie in the silverfish tone with the white of the belly color.


    *Optional mist Dark Trans green over the Payne’s to warm up the tone.

    Re-apply your powders over the cheek area and the body where it looks appropriate. Do not over apply the powders.

    PT, Wet Look Gloss: The fish in phases. 1. Light mist then apply heat, 2. A heavier coat and heat, 3. Wait at least 5 min between 2-3 and apply a wet coat and heat.

    I hope you got to see some of how one version of a reproduction Steelhead comes together through the work shop of Travis Peterson and Anglers Artistry. The fish is your greatest teacher so use as much reference as you can when carving, mounting, rebuilding and painting! You can do it with time and proper direction! Let the fish be your greatest teacher!

    My Best!

    Rick Krane
    Anglers Artistry
     
  12. Gunny

    Gunny Old Timer

    WOW Rick, Just what I needed for the library. Thank You.............
     
  13. Nick2021

    Nick2021 New Member

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    Rick,
    Once again your contributions to the taxidermy have proven to be invaluable! Nice job Travis! Hope you enjoyed your stay as much as I did! I love the way the steelhead came out...gotta love Dave's blanks...I'm planning on buying one from him hopefully end of this month so I can do another one...my bandsaw got put on hold since I had to fly to NM for an emergency :( Good job Rick and Travis!

    Nick
     
  14. GBRUCH

    GBRUCH "I am nothing without christ".....John 15:5

    Fantastic post and what a great learning opportunity. Outstanding work Travis. You should be proud of your achievments-I know your customers WILL. Great Job.
     
  15. Joe Z.

    Joe Z. New Member

    8
    0
    Travis, what a dandy! I can't imagine one looking awhole lot better. It looks like the real thing. Big high five.. Cecil see what happens when you are a real artisssst! Ha Ha. Travis I just sent Rick some reference photos from my steelhead trip. Maybe he'll send you a few of a fall phase fish caught in the great lakes if you want to do another steelhead in a different phase. Great job. Rick you taught him well. Joe Z.
     
  16. Chad See

    Chad See Certified "Fish Head"

    :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek:Beautiful!! I new it was gonna be nice, but Travis, that is awesome!!! Congrats on that fish. I hope to one day paint a fish that is even close to that good!! Rick, looks like another success story to me.

    Great job, both of you.

    Chad

    Lets see some pics of that salmon.
     
  17. Rick Krane

    Rick Krane Fish Taxidermist/ Judge/ Sculptor/ Instructor

    Such Kind words! It is always nice to hear from several past students who remember what it was to go through it all to come to the reward of the end of the workshop! Also thank you all for the praise of Travis fish! Travis worked so very hard and put some hours in for sure ( go figure) Super job Travis! As GB said your customers will be very happy!

    My Best!

    Rick
     
  18. Gina

    Gina New Member

    1,835
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    Ahhhhh, alot of the pictures did not show!!! Love the essay though!!
     
  19. Thank You everyone for the kind words! I can not say enough nice things about Rick and the way he teaches. He makes you feel like part of the family. Now I need to get busy and put all those skills he taught me to use.
    Thank You!!!!!!!!
    Travis
     
  20. sawtooth taxi

    sawtooth taxi New Member

    Great job on the steelhead. Ours here in central Idaho are a little darker. I'm not a fish guy, as of now, but plan on taking Ricks course in the near future. I can only hope my steely will turn out as well. Again....Great job.