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Sunday morning questions (SMQ's) part 31

Discussion in 'Fish Taxidermy' started by Rick Krane, Sep 24, 2006.

  1. Rick Krane

    Rick Krane Fish Taxidermist/ Judge/ Sculptor/ Instructor

    Week 31

    Good Sunday Morning!
    Thank all of you for participating and sharing the awesome knowledge you have with the many who eat it up like candy!

    Week 31 and there are still more questions and answers for all the readers who partake in learning more about fish taxidermy! Again this week I will be giving away a Custom Photo CD set for the first person that can correctly answer the Bonus Question. Last weeks big winner was Mr. Marty Shimkus Fish Specialties Taxidermy Shorewood, Illinois www.FishSpecialties.NET! Way top go Marty! You must participate in answering all the questions to qualify but it is worth sharing your knowledge with every one and you just may win a mega CD set! Over 100 of my personal fish reference photos! So go for it!
    Also like last week every one who gives of them self will get a + in the Karma department! This week has been tough week for Rick Krane good Karma. I lost 5 in 2 days and I didn’t even post a thing! LOL!!!! I must have a fan club or critics! LOL!!!!! I better come up with better questions I guess! Maybe some are getting board with the spirit of helping or my questions? I’m starting to feel like our friend Cecil! (Kidding Cecil!) LOL!!!! Oh Well! Good Karma or bad it is all about sharing and learning! It is all about sharing and learning not about me or any one else for that matter so Karma/ Sharma, or what ever not going to change how I do business or try to make fish taxidermy better for you and for me!!! LOL! So in the sprit of good learning lets get it!

    I thank you and WASCO for letting me share in my passion "FISH! As long as you keep answering the questions, I will keep writing them.

    So with out further ado! Lets Get the morning stared to a new week with some fish taxidermy talk! The good people at WASCO give us the free opportunity here to share information so we can be better-informed taxidermist! So in the spirit of WASCO generosity we share freely with each other!

    1. Have you ever hand painted a fish or incorporated hand painting into your paintwork? If so what are the benefits and how did this improve your work?

    2. When Looking at reference what do you want to look at? What are you tryi9mng to see in a fish that translates into your work?

    3. Have you ever negotiated a contract? What is your experience in doing so? Tell us how or what you look for when entering in to a contract.

    4. How many fish do you take in for a 365-day year? How many fish do you put out in a 365-day year?

    5. Tell us how long does it take for you to prep a fish, mold it, pull a cast, get it prepared, and paint it for deliver results? What is the longest part of the process for you?

    6. What makes a great taxidermist great in your eyes? Is competitions, the amount of volume, the amount of money one makes, what is it that you measure greatness with for you?

    7. In these days of marble, granite and exotic woods is it still the fish that carries the attraction? Could a great fish still beat out a highly developed composition piece in your opinion?

    8. What are the most unique mediums you have used to create and effect of color on a fish? How did you use it and tell us why and what it did for your fish?

    9. What is a fair price for a fish mount in your area and why? What do you think your work is truly worth No BS, or fan fair, just if you could, for the work you do, what would you charge?

    Bonus Question
    10. Fins! There are 6 fins in this picture ranging from cold to warm water. List the fin and the fish and you win the Photo CD!

    Give it a shot!

    Any one who emails me personally with the answers will get a few free reference photos from my personal collection. I still want you to answer here so other can benefit form your input on this topic line.

    It is all because of you and your awesome replies this has become so successful!
    From beginners to the seasoned pro's every one contributes and all benefit from your great experiences! Let see if I we can get more responses on the forum as well as in my email. I will give you some free fish reference photos for the asking just for contributing! As always I just think your answers are so good more and more contribute on here for all see!
    My Best and have fun with this!

    Rick Krane
    Anglers Artistry
    312 Chesterfield Rd
    Hinsdale, NH 03451
    603.336.7296
     
  2. Kerby Ross

    Kerby Ross KSU - Class of '83; U.S. Army - Infantry (83-92)

    A crack at the answers.....

    1. Have you ever hand painted a fish or incorporated hand painting into your paintwork? If so what are the benefits and how did this improve your work?

    Thirty years ago I painted strictly by airbrush, and lately after attending seminars I realized that the use of powdered paints and pencils and acrylic and oil crayons work wonders!

    2. When Looking at reference what do you want to look at? What are you tryi9mng to see in a fish that translates into your work?

    With the digital cameras, we can now see more close up detail on scales and fins that I never noticed years ago. Now I can see how each scale reflect colors and I can now connect the info from the seminars about scale tipping and the use of powders.

    3. Have you ever negotiated a contract? What is your experience in doing so? Tell us how or what you look for when entering in to a contract.



    4. How many fish do you take in for a 365-day year? How many fish do you put out in a 365-day year?

    I used to do fish 15 -20 years ago, about 30-50 a year.

    5. Tell us how long does it take for you to prep a fish, mold it, pull a cast, get it prepared, and paint it for deliver results? What is the longest part of the process for you?

    Skinning and fleshing.

    6. What makes a great taxidermist great in your eyes? Is competitions, the amount of volume, the amount of money one makes, what is it that you measure greatness with for you?

    Recreating wildlife art. Thinking outside of the box. Willing to try new methods. Not everyone who does great work competes.

    7. In these days of marble, granite and exotic woods is it still the fish that carries the attraction? Could a great fish still beat out a highly developed composition piece in your opinion?

    I have a tendacy to look at the fish, not the habitat. But I do look at habitat to get ideas for habitat projects. Some projects are too "heavy" on the habitat that takes away from the mount. Keep it simple, but artistic.

    8. What are the most unique mediums you have used to create and effect of color on a fish? How did you use it and tell us why and what it did for your fish?

    Just copying the methods that I learned at seminars recently. Using different mediums. I might even try and paint a fish with pencils and powders only.

    9. What is a fair price for a fish mount in your area and why? What do you think your work is truly worth No BS, or fan fair, just if you could, for the work you do, what would you charge?

    In Arizona it ranges from around $12-18/inch and justly so. EVERYTHING out here is quite a bit higher than back east or down south. Everyone needs to raise their prices, the electrician, plumber and auto mechanic do.

    Bonus Question
    10. Fins! There are 6 fins in this picture ranging from cold to warm water. List the fin and the fish and you win the Photo CD!
    Give it a shot!

    Not my cup of tea, I wouldn't have a chance. Plus there is only one real fish - Largemouth Bass.

    :)

    Kerby...
     

  3. Cecil

    Cecil Well-Known Member

    Re: Sunday morning questions(SMQ's) part 31

    Sorry I'm fishing all day! ;D

    Rick I don't mean this disrespectfully but i believe you need to post less questions. Yeah, I know, I post on here all the time but if you notice my posts are not that long. Just call me lazy but I know I'm not alone.

    If I find some time today I'll come back and make a post regarding this. Usually on Sundays I try and get as far away from taxidermy as possible!

    Cheers!
     
  4. Frank E. Kotula

    Frank E. Kotula master, judge, instructor

    Re: Sunday morning questions(SMQ's) part 31

    1. Have you ever hand painted a fish or incorporated hand painting into your paintwork? If so what are the benefits and how did this improve your work?
    Yes I do hand paint some of my metallic on my fish. It creates more life in your fish work.

    2. When Looking at reference what do you want to look at? What are you trying9 to see in a fish that translates into your work?
    First off I look at the over all color and what the fish looks like. After that I like to break it down into colors. I begin to look (use a paper with a 1/2" circle in it) and place it over the color your looking at. From there you can start to distinguish what made up the color.

    3. Have you ever negotiated a contract? What is your experience in doing so? Tell us how or what you look for when entering in to a contract.
    No, I'm not a Kmart

    4. How many fish do you take in for a 365-day year? How many fish do you put out in a 365-day year?
    What ever comes in goes out the same year.

    5. Tell us how long does it take for you to prep a fish, mold it, pull a cast, get it prepared, and paint it for deliver results? What is the longest part of the process for you?
    Wow most of the time it's a three day process. One day to mold and cast, next day put it all together, prep it and begin painting. Last day finish it.

    6. What makes a great taxidermist great in your eyes? Is competitions, the amount of volume, the amount of money one makes, what is it that you measure greatness with for you?
    His work and personality.......

    7. In these days of marble, granite and exotic woods is it still the fish that carries the attraction? Could a great fish still beat out a highly developed composition piece in your opinion?
    LOL yes but I thought oak is an exotic wood in Africa.

    8. What are the most unique mediums you have used to create and effect of color on a fish? How did you use it and tell us why and what it did for your fish?
    Stealing my wife make-up and getting caught with it. Not on me of course or I think. To be blunt here what's in make-up is the same products that is used in making paints. The only difference is the mediums they use on there face (to be able to wash off) or for us mixed with a different medium so it can be sprayed on but yet still be able to wash off, hmmm what is the difference? none

    9. What is a fair price for a fish mount in your area and why? Most charge if the person is good $9.00 and they say that's fair. I start at $18.00 and wonder if that's fair for what I and other great fish folks in our state should be at!
    What do you think your work is truly worth No BS, or fan fair, just if you could, for the work you do, what would you charge? To start with $25.00 an inch...........


    Bonus Question
    10. Fins! There are 6 fins in this picture ranging from cold to warm water. List the fin and the fish and you win the Photo CD!

    Lets try it from right to left
    Brown trout
    Large mouth caudal
    Large mouth anal
    The bottom from left to right looks tough
    I've seen a few different fish that can have this but I'm going to say it's a cross breed rainbow-cutthroat
    Smallmouth anal
    Smallmouth soft dorsal
     
  5. Re: Sunday morning questions(SMQ's) part 31

    Ques. #5

    5. Tell us how long does it take for you to prep a fish, mold it, pull a cast, get it prepared, and paint it for deliver results? What is the longest part of the process for you?

    The process of molding a fish thru completion of painting is a fairly lengthy process. With that said, this is a break down of time spent, using my mediums and methods:

    1. Prep fish - (De-slime, remove fins & eyes, fill belly area with caulk) 1/2 hr.

    2. Mold fish - (Make adjustable mold box, Set fish in clay, make keys in clay, mix reo-flex 40, pour 1st side. After initial cure, flip mold over, remove clay, hydrate fish, place vaseline of mold half, re-position fish, mix and pour reo-flex for 2nd side mold half) 2 1/2 hrs. (does not include the time for mold material to cure approx 3hrs.)

    3. Pull a cast - (Brush layers of smooth-cast 300 on both mold halfs until proper strength is established, close mold and "slush" cast to close the seam at the parting line, demold cast) 1 1/2 hrs.

    4. Prep. cast - (Attach fins, set eyes, finish fin butts, feather fin edges & seal) 1 hr.

    5. Paint - (Time varies depending on size, species of fish & detail required) approx. 4-6 hrs.
     
  6. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    Re: Sunday morning questions(SMQ's) part 31

    1. Have you ever hand painted a fish or incorporated hand painting into your paintwork? If so what are the benefits and how did this improve your work?

    Yes, I do a lot of hand painting. Since I pretty much only use a #3 tip, any details smaller than what I can get with that set-up get hand painted in. Typically, it's early on in the paint job so that other layers of paint are air brushed over these details to help blend the edges

    2. When Looking at reference what do you want to look at? What are you tryi9mng to see in a fish that translates into your work?

    I don't pay enough attention to the anatomy and that's rellly where I need to take a closer look at things (I'm looking forward to those pics here Rick - Thanks!) Usually, pics for my level of work are referenced quite a bit for painting. I try to figure out what the underlying colors are so I can come up with a logical order/plan of attack for painting.

    3. Have you ever negotiated a contract? What is your experience in doing so? Tell us how or what you look for when entering in to a contract.

    If I understand the question correctly, yes I have negotiated a contract/jobs. I have experience in marketing, running projects and writing multi-million dollar proposals from my previous job. The keys I believe in negotiating any contract is to know your limits. Know what you're willing to give up in trying to reach that middle ground. Be reasonable, but don't bend. Otherwise you'll end up regretting what you just did. Put some contingency in your estimates and your schedule that you're committing to. Typically, if you'e entering the unknown you want to add at least 50% to your estimates as you will most definitely come in light.

    4. How many fish do you take in for a 365-day year? How many fish do you put out in a 365-day year?

    I was right around 100 fish last year. I'll probably meet oir exceed that slightly this year. Last year was the first year I was even close to triple digits and I'm still learning. So, "no comment" on the latter part of this question - lol!

    5. Tell us how long does it take for you to prep a fish, mold it, pull a cast, get it prepared, and paint it for deliver results? What is the longest part of the process for you?

    I've yet to personally mold a fish (other than casting fish heads), so I have no clue!

    6. What makes a great taxidermist great in your eyes? Is competitions, the amount of volume, the amount of money one makes, what is it that you measure greatness with for you?

    My opinion - a great taxidermist is one that not only can do superior mounts but knows all aspects of the fish business including the tasks and business side of things. Yes, making good money is at the top of my list. And whether one can do that with 200 fish or 20 fish doesn't matter. I hold some value in higher competitions, but those ribbons don't pay the bills...

    7. In these days of marble, granite and exotic woods is it still the fish that carries the attraction? Could a great fish still beat out a highly developed composition piece in your opinion?

    In commercial work, the habitat should never outweigh the fish. The fish should be the focal point. In competitions I feel the same here, but the habitat can play a larger role here as in competitions the mount is typically in a natural posiition vs. the "fighting pose" that a lot of customers want.

    8. What are the most unique mediums you have used to create and effect of color on a fish? How did you use it and tell us why and what it did for your fish?

    I'm running out of time here and having trouble coming up with something. So off the top of my head I'll comment on one little "trick" I learned by accident. The "milky" area aroound the eye of many trout and salmon. I'll paint it typically with some pearls. But, to get that milky look I intentionally plow it with my laquer based gloss coat so that it clouds around the eye. That cloudy gloss looks pretty realistic to me

    9. What is a fair price for a fish mount in your area and why? What do you think your work is truly worth No BS, or fan fair, just if you could, for the work you do, what would you charge?

    We're all over th map here. Most fish folks are around $8 or $9 bucks an inch. With my self a few bucks higher and one gentleman at $17 an inch. Much like anything, my work is worth what I can get!!!

    Bonus Question
    10. Fins! There are 6 fins in this picture ranging from cold to warm water. List the fin and the fish and you win the Photo CD!
    Give it a shot!

    This is too hard this week. I got lucky last week. And I'm out of time so I won't make myself look foolish - lol!
     
  7. Mark V.

    Mark V. Chinook Salmon replica

    Re: Sunday morning questions(SMQ's) part 31

    1. I have handpainted a few fish years ago and still use some handpainting incorperated in my daily commercial work. It helps me realize how valuable the double action airbrush is in speed butthere are limitations also to any airbrush so handpainting is still necessary.

    2. In reference photos I look for distinct markings that the particular fish I'm working on has or any out of the ordinary shading or colors that the particular fish may of had. It is very helpful to have photos of the fish your working on. I can do the base work by memory but to get the right markings the customer usuallt provides the photos.

    3. I have negotiated contracts on bigger jobs such as out of country game animals with clients. I recently did jobs from Russia,Argentina and Africa. Those were great learning experiences but the actual work was total garbage. I will take a fish work on any day over of those jobs LOL.

    4. In the good old days 3-400 Nowadays in and around 150-200 fish. It is nicer to be able to take my time though but our fish are sometimes worked around the big game and birds because of the slow rate they come in and my specialty has turned to big game and my fathers is skin mounted fish. I do all the reproduction fish though so it works for me.

    5. I don't do my own molding but would like to try it for diversity in the near future. I order all my blanks from suppliers. I have had some custom molded of various species and the time it took to get a blank was over a year so it must take some time to do. I used to do my own fish heads so I do have experience in molding.

    6. A great taxidermist to me is one that does a good quaility product in a timely manner and makes a decent living. Greatness is in the eye of the beholder and we can only be judged by our customers and fellow taxidermists.

    7.Since I havan't competed in years I can't answer this question.

    8. Most unique effects I have have created on fish are done by layering the colors to give the fish depth. I was taught that the less color you can put on the fish but put on in layers the better. Starting from the lightest and working up to dark colors such as brown,dark green or black.

    9. Fish prices in our area range from 8.00 per inch on up the last time I checked which was awhile back. We don't determine our prices by the competitions. I think my work is worth the price I charge for it. I have a good reputation and repeat buisness and word of mouth is most of my workload so yes it is worth what I get. Of course if I could get more for it only a fool would say otherwise in and around 20.00 per inch would suffice LOL.

    10. I will give this another go but may be the last time as I was way off last week. 1. rainbow trout or steelhead dorsal fin 2. Largemouth bass Caudal fin 3. Largemouth bass anal fin 4. rainbow trout or steelhead anal fin 5.smallmouth bass anal fin 6. Smallmouth bass soft dorsal fin
     
  8. Kerby Ross

    Kerby Ross KSU - Class of '83; U.S. Army - Infantry (83-92)

    Marty,...........

    ***But, to get that milky look I intentionally plow it with my laquer based gloss coat so that it clouds around the eye. That cloudy gloss looks pretty realistic to me***

    Thanks for that tip!

    Kerby...
     
  9. Re: Sunday morning questions(SMQ's) part 31

    Rick,
    Thanks again for the SMQ's...my hats off to you...you have a jewel here each Sunday morning and heres to many many more! Ken

    PS...For those of you following the Taxidermy in Focus fish refinishing article, I will be posting Part II later today which covers the painting of that particular fish.

    1. Have you ever hand painted a fish or incorporated hand painting into your paintwork? If so what are the benefits and how did this improve your work?
    Yes…primarily with detail, ie spots, etc and with reflective colors.

    2. When Looking at reference what do you want to look at? What are you tryi9mng to see in a fish that translates into your work?
    If I am trying to interpret anatomical values, I will try to relate what I am looking at to other common shapes and then use simple math to distinguish one shape or value from another. If I am trying to interpret color values, I try to isolate a specific area and will sometimes look at it through a sheet of colored film which can sometimes help you see depth of color.

    3. Have you ever negotiated a contract? What is your experience in doing so? Tell us how or what you look for when entering in to a contract.
    I have negotiated several contracts but in regard to taxidermy…I don’t negotiate. I have a contract that I use and the terms are final.

    4. How many fish do you take in for a 365-day year? How many fish do you put out in a 365-day year?
    I don’t take in fish now. When I ran my shop I took in too many…I never took a count but over the course of a year I probably averaged 350+. This included wholesale work and we always go them out fairly quickly.

    5. Tell us how long does it take for you to prep a fish, mold it, pull a cast, get it prepared, and paint it for deliver results? What is the longest part of the process for you?
    Depends on the material Im using but generally a couple of days. Setting up the mold and prepping the cast probably take the longest.

    6. What makes a great taxidermist great in your eyes? Is competitions, the amount of volume, the amount of money one makes, what is it that you measure greatness with for you?
    Dedication, ability and most of all willingness and eagerness to share knowledge. Rick Krane is one of these people.

    7. In these days of marble, granite and exotic woods is it still the fish that carries the attraction? Could a great fish still beat out a highly developed composition piece in your opinion?
    Overall, I think the fish itself does carry the attraction but I also believe that many starting taxidermists find it hard to see beyond the emotion of composition to see the subject for what it really is. This is why you hear so many guys talk about what their next piece is going to be doing and they get focused on that and forget about the slightest details of anatomy. I also think that it is possible that composition could outweigh correctness in a subject. I don’t agree with it…but who said life was fair.

    8. What are the most unique mediums you have used to create and effect of color on a fish? How did you use it and tell us why and what it did for your fish?
    Cant recall anything that wouldn’t be considered “normal” by todays standard.


    9. What is a fair price for a fish mount in your area and why? What do you think your work is truly worth No BS, or fan fair, just if you could, for the work you do, what would you charge?
    Im not taking in work right now now but I have an establish slot price which is slightly different for each species but in general, I think $12 per inch for a bass skin mount in my area (SW Georgia). I believe that cost of living directly affects the amount you can charge and that it is considerably different region to region. All being equal, I would charge $18 per inch.

    Bonus Question
    10. Fins! There are 6 fins in this picture ranging from cold to warm water. List the fin and the fish and you win the Photo CD!
    Give it a shot!
    Rainbow Dorsal, LM Bass Caudal, LM Bass Anal, Rainbow Anal, SM Bass Anal, SM Bass Soft Dorsal
     
  10. Rick Krane

    Rick Krane Fish Taxidermist/ Judge/ Sculptor/ Instructor

    Re: Sunday morning questions(SMQ's) part 31

    Hey Gang!

    Increadable answer's so far this week! I'm leaving for Cleveland for a few days to sot a few more DVD's with Joe Kastaway Kulis but I wanted to say thank you for the contributions each and every week for the regulars and some new comers as well! The generosity of Kerby, Don, and Frank and Marc ( who may be very happy this week) Ken and Marty all you folks give and give each and evetry week and I want to thank you all! If I don't get a chance to get back to folks today please know that I will be checking late tonight! Thank you Ken for the very kind words! It is most valued and appreciated!

    My Best and have a great day!!!!

    Rick Krane
     
  11. Kerby Ross

    Kerby Ross KSU - Class of '83; U.S. Army - Infantry (83-92)

    Question.....

    For example, on a largemouth bass it is common to see the pelvic fins flat up against the belly AND with a slight indentation there, but I don't see them mounted that way. Why? I see the pelvic fins up against the body on a few mounts but I don't see taxidermists mounting the bass with the indentation.

    Yes, I am aware of what the bass is doing, I am talking about mounts that should require this.

    Anybody?

    Kerby...
     
  12. fishmounter

    fishmounter New Member

    101
    1
    Re: Sunday morning questions(SMQ's) part 31

    Hey Kerby..the same thing with the spiny dorsal. It's usually down and pretty much out of sight until the bass get excited or alarmed. You never see this fin down on mounts. It is usually stretched wide open. Once in a while you'll see it somewhat relaxed and half way up.
     
  13. Kerby Ross

    Kerby Ross KSU - Class of '83; U.S. Army - Infantry (83-92)

    Good point,.........

    Good point. I see that now.

    Kerby...
     
  14. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    Re: Sunday morning questions(SMQ's) part 31

    You're welcome Kerby! The only thing is you need to be careful when doing this so that you don't hit the eye with too much gloss as it will cloud too. (Btw, I use Triple Thick here)...
     
  15. Monty

    Monty New Member

    20
    0
    Re: Sunday morning questions(SMQ's) part 31


    1. Have you ever hand painted a fish or incorporated hand painting into your paintwork? If so what are the benefits and how did this improve your work? Yes, More precise placement of colors, tipping etc.

    2. When Looking at reference what do you want to look at? What are you tryi9mng to see in a fish that translates into your work? I generally am looking at colors until recently. Now I am trying to get more exacting anatomy and looking at specific areas of the fish.

    3. Have you ever negotiated a contract? What is your experience in doing so? Tell us how or what you look for when entering in to a contract. No

    4. How many fish do you take in for a 365-day year? How many fish do you put out in a 365-day year? I have had as high as 100+, but usually about 50 or so.

    5. Tell us how long does it take for you to prep a fish, mold it, pull a cast, get it prepared, and paint it for deliver results? What is the longest part of the process for you? I don't do my own repros as of yet, but plan to.

    6. What makes a great taxidermist great in your eyes? Is competitions, the amount of volume, the amount of money one makes, what is it that you measure greatness with for you? Someone who knows anatomy and how a fish uses fin positions and how it reacts to environment and can incorporate that into the mount. I.E. Rick Krane!! I probably don't place as much emphasis on competition wins as I once did. I contribute this to seeing to many times the same fish place blue at one show and white at another.
    7. In these days of marble, granite and exotic woods is it still the fish that carries the attraction? Could a great fish still beat out a highly developed composition piece in your opinion? I feel the concept weighs more in recent years than it has in the past. It enhances a good mount. Still, I feel that the fish should be the determining factor.

    8. What are the most unique mediums you have used to create and effect of color on a fish? How did you use it and tell us why and what it did for your fish? Powder pigments, various tipping mediums etc. Done right, they greatly improve your paint and set your fish apart from the average.

    9. What is a fair price for a fish mount in your area and why? What do you think your work is truly worth No BS, or fan fair, just if you could, for the work you do, what would you charge? Most I have seen are 8-10 an inch. I was 12 but planning to raise the bar in my state. I use this example: Most deer are around 400. An average fish would be a 20 in bass. At 15 an inch, that would still be only 300. Why would the fish be worth less than the deer? Because it is smaller? This makes no sense. In my opinion, it takes more skill and at least as much time to do the fish right. Some of the deer I have seen here have convinced me that if it has the same rack it is a great mount! Come on, guys. You can't do that with a fish.

    Bonus Question
    10. Fins! There are 6 fins in this picture ranging from cold to warm water. List the fin and the fish and you win the Photo CD!
    Give it a shot!
    I will give it a SWAG!! to row-rainbow dorsal, lmb caudal,walleye anal?
    bottom row-rainbow anal, smb anal,lmb soft dorsal
     
  16. Monty

    Monty New Member

    20
    0
    Re: Sunday morning questions(SMQ's) part 31

    In response to #4, I also might add that I do this part time. With the amount of overtime at my factory job, 50 fish keeps me plenty busy and then some!!!
     
  17. UFD

    UFD New Member

    Re: Sunday morning questions(SMQ's) part 31

    Wow, looks like my backlog of work has translated into a backlog of the SMQs! :-[ Rick, I promise to get to this last Sunday's before next Sunday's! :eek:

    1. For quite some time I have felt that airbrushing alone was an incomplete way to paint fish. There are color features on fish that are difficult to replicate without using masking techniques, and I have never felt comfortable messing with that sort of thing. I dabbled with hand painting some features in addition to scales using regular airbrush taxidermy paints and usually ended up thinking that I was just spinning my wheels. Well several years ago I met a fellow who was an accomplished flat artist who wanted to try to paint a replica or two. Now, keep in mind that this guy has more talent in one of his fingers than I have in three or four clones of my entire self. Suffice it to say, I was impressed with what he could do with a fish replica. That opened up a new realm for me, and I have found that I am getting a little more comfortable with hand painting all the time, even though it still doesn’t amount to much in the grand scheme of talent. By hand painting I can create hard lines, subtle shading, subtle washes, and features I haven’t figured out yet but I’m working on. I believe my paint jobs are better today than several years ago, and I can attribute that to hand painting.

    2. When I look at reference I’d say that I am looking at a number of things for two different purposes. The first purpose is simply the effort of trying to match a clients fish that I’m working on, and that will entail both the anatomical features of it that I might have some control over such as the amount of kype on a spawning fish for a repro, and of course the actual color hues of the fish and how it will need to be painted. The second purpose of looking at reference is to study what I think I know and to discover what I don’t know. That would include anatomy as well as color. I try to second-guess myself on purpose to find out if what I am looking at is really what I am seeing, and to test myself on what I think I know and what really may be the truth. It’s purely educational, and the day I no longer have that interest will be the day I need to get a new job.

    3. I don’t do big contracts; it’s just not my thing. Usually in doing so I think I would need to cut corners and quality to be able to do the volume that a big contract would entail. I don’t work that way, so I run rather than walk away from a big contract. My ideal contract is with a single client that wants their fish done as something special, which it is. I haven’t really had to negotiate one of those basic client work order agreements, because the price is usually what it is and if they don’t like either the price or the backlog I am happy to recommend them to the next guy. I suppose if I were to really want a certain project of work to do, I’d probably come in a little high both on the return time and price so that I could wiggle a little down if they balked and I really wanted to do the project. Come to think of it, that may have happened in the past, but I can’t remember any particulars. ;)

    4. The numbers of fish that I take in and finish in any given year has changed over the last 19 years that I have been full time (fish only). It of course can also fluctuate depending upon the particular strength of the run in the Steelhead or Salmon season. During the tail end of the heyday of fishermen keeping Steelhead for skin mounts (which was about when I went full time) I have seen quite a drop in numbers of fish. But, I have had a real long backlog for as long as I can remember that I have been unsuccessful in shaking for a variety of reasons, so the drop in fish numbers hasn’t really affected my business. To answer the question in some manner, I finish a relatively low number per month depending upon the size, whether they are wall or pedestal, and the lack of or degree of habitat work per fish. Each of those projects average quite a bit more in regards to time and cost than the typical industry-wide fish mount, however.

    5. I don’t really use a molding process that is considered typical, so I can’t really answer this question. If I would use that method, the painting would be the lengthiest part of the process.

    6. My opinion of a great fish taxidermist is one that can take a fish they have never seen, start from scratch with basic raw materials, do the required research on the species, and then create a fish mount that is of competition quality. If you can do that, you have arrived. Whatever money you can make doing it is a reflection of how good of a business person you are rather than how good of a fish taxidermist you are.

    7. I haven’t competed or seen a score sheet in at least ten years, but if taxidermy competitions are still the way they used to be, it is all about the fish. A great composition should be able to give a competitor some bonus points to raise their score some, but theoretically the fish that is most accurate should be able to score higher even against the lesser fish with its added bonus points, IF taxidermy competitions are still taxidermy competitions and not art shows. In my opinion that scenario is as it should be, but I could see certain situations that may be argued to work out the other way. And I may even agree with the judgment in some of those certain situations if the accuracy of the two fish is reasonably close. The point I certainly don’t want to get lost, however, is that I do still think that there is tremendous value in artistic composition for helping the entire industry to be considered more mainstream in the wildlife art world.

    8. I wouldn’t say the actual vehicle that the pigment rides in is a unique thing, but rather a type of color reflector itself, iridescence, is what I think is unique in fish taxidermy painting. Iridescents are definitely unique because while colors are colors, I don’t believe the masters in art from centuries ago didn’t have colors such as iridescents for their use. Also, flat artists today can’t really use them because the iridescents don’t translate appropriately in prints, so flat artists have to create the illusion of iridescence through contrasting colors. Since fish taxidermists deal with a three dimensional painting surface that is not going to be duplicated as flat art prints are, we can appropriately use them to capture natural effects. I use iridescent colors for both airbrushing and hand painting, and it allows me to create color effects that will change with the viewing angle, much like a real fish.

    9. A fair price in my area is figured the same way as a fair price in any area, because I believe a fair price is arrived at by multiplying the amount of hours in a project by a standard hourly shop rate. (The local shop rate could vary among different areas, I suppose.) My work is certainly worth the dollar amount of time that I have in it. As far as what I could wish to charge, I hope that my clients or prospective clients will be able to accept the future prices that the added detail I wish to include in my work will demand. I really don’t need to state figures because that is between my client and myself, and if I would it would most likely cause needless controversy. ::)

    10. The game is over and I'm sure someone has already won...