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Looking For Critique On Muskie

Discussion in 'Fish Taxidermy' started by Rhianna Campbell, Mar 2, 2021.

  1. Hello, I started doing taxidermy in January of this year. This is my first Muskie ever, which I painted, but my mentor (Joe House) mounted it. I am looking for critiques on my paintjob please. There is still masking over the eyes to protect the glass from overspray in these pictures. Thanks for your time! 20210218_190106.jpg 20210218_190113.jpg 20210218_190119.jpg
     
    msestak likes this.
  2. Frank E. Kotula

    Frank E. Kotula master, judge, instructor

    Being your first congrats.
    Now are there problems with the paint job yes. Bit it’s more on learning references.
    Your teacher in reality didn’t do a good job on mounting the fish as that has a lot more issues than just your paint job.
    I would advise you to look for a better teacher on how to mount and paint fish. yes I’m sounding real mean here but if your passion is fish or becoming a taxidermist I’ll be honest it’s not your mentor that’s going to get you there. look into joining your state association and go to its state show if they have one and get in contact with some of the known fish guys their and ask them questions. Then maybe take a class with a more qualified taxidermist that can get you into doing a more quality mount.
    There is potential here for you but to bring it out you need a better teacher to get you there. Sorry for being honest and hurting your mentors feelings!
     
    AFTHUNT, Clew, msestak and 2 others like this.

  3. joe511s

    joe511s Member

    Okay, what's the problem with the mount?
     
    msestak likes this.
  4. joe511s

    joe511s Member

     
    msestak and 1fish2fish like this.
  5. 1fish2fish

    1fish2fish Well-Known Member

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    How did the skin fit the form during your test fit?
     
    msestak and Mudbat like this.
  6. Mudbat

    Mudbat Well-Known Member

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    Putting a smoking paint job on a poorly mounted fish is just putting lipstick on a pig. Where as putting a ok paint job on a anatomically well done mount will result in a nice looking mount. as for what’s wrong with it? Just look at a live musky
     
    msestak likes this.
  7. 13 point

    13 point Well-Known Member

    Here’s a few things , it wouldn’t let me down load the pics , but just zoom in and look , across the back and the fin attachments
     
    msestak likes this.
  8. 1fish2fish

    1fish2fish Well-Known Member

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    Do you have a specific reference for your paintjob?
     
    msestak likes this.
  9. Clovis Point

    Clovis Point Active Member

    Bear in mind Frank has won Best in the World before and holds everyone to his own alpine standards. Not that his input isnt valuable, on the rare occasion you can squeeze actual specifics out of him and not just generalized condemnation that is beneficial to noone and nothing but his own ego what he has to offer comes from a very high mountaintop of skill and experience.
    Everyone always says "join your state organization and use reference" - this is totally good advice but everyone always fails to consider that joining your state T.A, means you can get invaluable priceless help and information... roughly once a year. At the annual convention. If it isnt cancelled due to this whole "worldwide pandemic" business. We all should do that, but the OP is looking for ways to improve on their very next mount.
    Reference - God I hate it when people say that and leave it at that. I have done what you just did, posed pics of my work and asked for critique probably a dozen or more times and received AT LEAST 200 responses telling me to use reference. I use reference on everything I mount. ONE TIME someone actually gave me a tip on HOW to use reference (by breaking it down and zooming in on a very small portion at a time).

    Props to the OP for opening their work up to critique. So many people dont because they either dont feel like jumping on other peoples generalized, non-specific "just look at a real ___" ego-grenades ... or because they are already in thier state T.A. and they dont need a dozen people telling them basically "ask someone else for advice. once a year and at a crappy convention center/holiday inn"

    Now, with that out of the way, Ill preface by saying I am no expert, master guru. But what my eyes see in regards to your paint job are :

    1 . First, overall thats good work. Definitely nothing to be ashamed of and would qualify as sufficient for competitively priced commercial mount

    2. I know fish hues can vary regionally, but all the musky I see (Green river/green river lake, drakes creek and Cane run in Kentucky) are nowhere near that brown. More of a OD green fading to like a faded moss green. I know a light coat of brown can add depth and mute/enhance greens so maybe that final coat on the upper half could have been thinned quite a bit more.

    3. fish are shiny, especially when wet, but the whiter bellies tend to have less of a brand-new-Ipod sheen than the greener upper halves

    4. Overal general airbrush advise - when your painting markings on a fish expecially dont be afraid of stencils - not just commercial ones but you can also take an exacto knofe and posterboard and cut your own. I actually make my own with photo editing and SVG software and cut them with a cricut cutter

    hope this has been beneicial - best of luck
     
    msestak likes this.
  10. 1fish2fish

    1fish2fish Well-Known Member

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    Don't be an ass. Frank has offered up hundreds and thousands of helpful posts. Read them all. That's where I started, reading and interpreting. The archives are rich with information. Maybe some of it stuck.

    It is nice of you to attempt more specific help, but much more detailed info is necessary. And after this Musky, what then?
     
    msestak likes this.
  11. Clovis Point

    Clovis Point Active Member

    could not agree more, that is why I said that when he does offer viable information that it comes from the pinnacle of skill and artistry. I just don't think that "get a new teacher, preferably one from the upper echelon of fish taxidermists" is exactly what the OP is looking for... Would it improve their work? absolutely! In an ideal world that probably is the best option, but we don't live in an ideal world. Just because a person can't afford to go pay one of 20 elite taxidermist in America $100/hr doesn't mean they cannot try to improve their work through less effective methods that are actually possible.

    Of course more detailed info would have been better. But my response is more beneficial than "get a new teacher/go to shows/look at reference"... And as far as "what next?", I don't know, I assume whatever specimen the OP has laid out to thaw... :shrug:
     
    msestak likes this.
  12. Harum

    Harum Active Member

    Rhianna,

    I’m not sure what you’re after with this critique. Do you want a presentable piece with a limited amount of time to completion or are you trying to be a person that sticks out in the crowd? If you simply want a presentable piece quickly then you’re on the right path. There are various methods that can still be done quickly but, would benefit your work. The first that comes to mind is a method called antiquing. Antiquing is a painter’s term for applying a wash or watered down layer of paint over a base color then lightly wiping down the applied paint with a sponge, rag, etc. This will leave color in the low areas (between scales for example) and remove the color from the high points (the scales). So if you use a light base color followed by a darker watered down layer you will give the fish depth and contrast. That way when you start with your airbrush you will have a better end result with more depth. Keep in mind that the base layer should be sealed in. To use this method I recommend working with a small replica. A Bluegill would be a good choice. This will give you a good base to work from and to practice with. The antiquing method will also give contrast to issues in a mount. Using a replica will help a bit here. Plus you can strip off the paint and start over again, as many times as you wish. If you want additional techniques that produce quick results there is a ton of info on this site.

    If you want to stick out in the crowd then there is much more involved. It takes a lot of work and study to produce a high end piece.

    It is fun when you get a few layers down on a painting and see the piece come together. Keep at it and have fun.



    Clovis, I think Frank is trying to be helpful here and doesn’t want her to start out on a difficult path. Painting a fish is hard enough with a high quality mount. However I rather enjoy a good Frank bashing so, Frank get off your alpine horse you ego driven high achiever…


    -Pete
     
  13. Frank E. Kotula

    Frank E. Kotula master, judge, instructor

    Ok I guess I’ll give a few points out with what I very noticeable and isn’t considered decent commercial work and we need to go back to basics .
    I personally said what I said to aid this person in learning fish taxidermy 2021.
    The methods that were taught here is what known as poor taxidermy even if you have a business and pay bills that’s great for you but you never advanced yourself with knowledge that is out there today and teaching these basic methods were always taught. I want this person or any other person they should learn proper mounting and painting techniques.
    Fish taxidermy is like building a house. You harvest the trees(fish here) then they get their bark cleaned (skinning and cleaning out all the meat that should be removed from the fish) then we have the foundation that was ordered after we harvested the tree ( fish) .
    So now we have the form delivered to us, and now we start to put up the wood ( placing the fish skin on) but we noticed that the foundation is off(wrong size form) but hey I can fill that in ( tail junction) then we may have the leaning tower of Pisa ( head junction) to let it just droop down it’ll hold when the cement dries or add more nails.
    Then our trim work fins ( minor) but our wood wasn’t dried yet and shrunk up a lot but we could fix this by adding glue alone would help. 203A9762-DAE3-431B-A181-3452FCF69E3E.jpeg
    Now with the first pick you never cleaned all the meat out that a musky head has. Then never attempted to properly fill the cheeks with mache or whatever you may like. Then we have so much shrinkage that could easily be filled with epoxy and enhance the whole head so much better. Again I stress this is basics not high quality work! 248A4EE7-CC4F-4DD2-A053-5F52A5613A58.jpeg This pic shows where the foundation ( form ) was the wrong size and not cut and altered to fit properly. 1368182D-0938-49CE-83FE-015871D506E8.jpeg then in this you can see all the shrinkage pot holes head that’s positioned wrong and gills flared like they were back in the 50s which is old style taxidermy.
    What I just picked out here is basic teaching that any teacher should know and teach a student the proper methods of taxidermy. It’s nice to be able to teach someone the art of taxidermy but how many of us are really qualified to do it correctly. If we teach a student poor craftsmanship and they go out in the world hoping to become a taxidermist will do the same poor work that should never be done by anyone learning or doing taxidermy. we’re all not teachers in this world.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2021
    AFTHUNT, Westcoast, Lance.G and 5 others like this.
  14. Mudbat

    Mudbat Well-Known Member

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    I’m not sure why people are even pointing out the paint work. I’m no master taxidermist by any means, so take this for what it’s worth, but the way that fish was mounted it’s a anatomical hot mess.
    Head positioned wrong and dropping. Vent and dorsal fins positioned in the wrong places, not sure what was attempted to be done in the caudal pedicle area, but don’t do that. If the head doesn’t properly fit the form don’t make it droop and flare the gills to make it stretch and fill the gap. ADJUST THE FORM!
    Here’s some reference. Remove the paint from any thought on this. Does that mount( skin, head, fins) look like a live musky to you?
    99BFF4A4-5D9D-4908-9DE9-4322C8E6DED1.jpeg 43DDB986-A379-4DDA-8FF2-CBCDEBEF0C48.jpeg
    I commend you for putting this out there and asking for help. I’m all self taught. Lots of trial and error and fixing stuff. Also lots of asking some of the best in the industry what I did wrong. Unfortunately as said the mentor your using is not doing you any favors. As this is a very poorly set up fish. Same with the rainbow.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2021
  15. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    This is all well and good with very valuable advise.

    However, the OP didn't mount the fish and was asking for a critique on the paint job, not the fish. So far, I have seen very little paint job critique and a lot of fish critique.

    The fish mounting job does need to be addressed, but so far, other than Harum's post, I don't see much of a paint job critique, just valuable advise in general.
     
  16. jake7719

    jake7719 Well-Known Member

    Need some more time behind the air brush. Look up basic air brushing practice. Any time I pick up a AB I do a warm up. Do dots, big and small, lines small to big and get ready.

    Take some white butcher paper and draw fish, all kinds and sizes and paint them. You then can take notes on the paper and keep for learning and show your progress. Practice painting in the same way you will do the real mount, so if you paint on a table or a stand, do it that way. Mount the drawings on fome board for flatter fish and on PVC pipe will help with the curve and roundness 3D of long, big fish.
     
  17. Mudbat

    Mudbat Well-Known Member

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    I think what we’re are trying to tell her is to try and find a new mentor and both fish she has posted have been mounted very poorly by said mentor. We don’t want her to learn to do them that way. Start with a good mount then worry about paint
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2021
    Tanglewood Taxidermy likes this.
  18. 1fish2fish

    1fish2fish Well-Known Member

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    1. Some are responding to joe511s who asked "Okay, what's the problem with the mount?"

    2. Critique without the specific reference? Not a good precedent imo.

    Pete offered a technique he thought would benefit OP's work. Not a critique.

    A criticism would be to say OP's paint lacks depth, contrast, variation, pearlescence, etc.

    Kindly, antiquing addresses some of those areas that most of us are still trying to master, myself included.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2021
  19. Kostyniuk-outdoors

    Kostyniuk-outdoors Alberta free and proud

    I think what most are trying to say is that OP is really being let down by her mentor. im no fish taxidermist, but the mounting job looks pretty much exactly like job I did on my very first fish years ago. now as for the OP, painting shows a lot of promise and I think with practice OP will go far. her airbrush skills are already better than mine were after several years of practice.
     
    Chippers likes this.
  20. Frank E. Kotula

    Frank E. Kotula master, judge, instructor

    Doing any type of criticism or help or her paint job wont help with a bad mentor. We can say a lot but it’s not helpful in the sense of understanding what we’re going to say.
    She needs to be under a better mentor to understand what we can say to help her. The teacher asked for a critique on what he did wrong and folks are now giving what he asked for so there are two different questions being answered here. My advice won’t help unless she steps away and try’s to find a better person to explain the do’s and don’ts here but it JMO
     
    Tanglewood Taxidermy likes this.