Monday, July 11, 2016

Colourful fish prints

David Walty has lived in Peace River and worked as a fisheries biologist and wildlife manager for over 40 years.  Art has been a part of his family and his life since he was a young boy.  “I would say, I have always dabbled with various media, often connecting my profession and love of nature with art.”

He has drawn and painted fish for over 20 years, most of his earlier works were very stylized pen and ink, pencil or water colour profiles of Alberta fish. The designs were strongly influenced by aboriginal and particularly west coast art.

 His “fish pressing” all started during an ice fishing trip a few years ago.  Good friends Claire and Brian Lucko took him and his wife Maureen to their ice fishing hut on Lesser Slave Lake. Claire and David took some water colour paints along and after a few fish were caught, decided to put away the fishing rods and do a little art work. That was the beginning of fish pressing. Since then David has tried to improve his techniques and spends considerable time fishing for subject fish and experimenting.

The technique involves painting the fish, then pressing the paper over the fishes’ body and fins to get a complete impression of the fish. That may seem easy, but to get a complete print of the fish, is quite challenging. Different paints and colours adhere to the fish in different ways making impressions vary, but often leading to pleasant surprises. The stretching and mounting of the rough paper pressings transforms the imprint into an attractive art form.
Individual fish by themselves produced a somewhat static picture whereas with the addition of minnows (small fish) to the print, the fish comes to life. View this new art exhibit and see if the fish come to life for you.

Ice fishing cabin
Painting the fish before preparing it for a delicious supper!

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