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~This is a wooden sculpture I carved and hand painted of a “Dolly Varden”…also know as a Bull Trout or Arctic Char…it is a member of the Char family like the “Mackinaw”, or Lake  and Brook trout…

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~I put a lot of work into these sculptures…more than a website can really do justice…entirely carved and painted by hand…I even carve and paint the eyes!…the colors of natural wood mixed with grain, the stains , finish and sunlight, I think you can get a real feeling of this fishes natural beauty that I tried to capture~

~”Dolly Varden”,  aka Bull Trout or Arctic Char~

Salvelinus malma

~44″ hand carved and painted sculpture~

When Fly Fishing in Autumn in certain regions, seeing the white fin tips, is a tell tale sign that an old friend is back around!…these close relatives to the Brook Trout are also sometimes referred to as “Western Brooks”…at the peak of the spawn these fish can appear as if they are on fire!

 

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this carving depicts a large male in its spawning run …when they are either out of  the saltwater and running back into the “criks” where their life started, or just in their spawning coloration its colors are what can only be called incredible!

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this species is one of the more challenging critters to paint…but when its completed its a real sense of satisfaction!…I paint and stain these as much as I can by hand…rubbing the colors with my fingers to get the right balance…occasionally I use an airbrush, on this one to help with the fin tips to blend in with the natural color…however the vast majority of all the painting is done by hand …I try to leave as much of the natural”patina” that wood has in these sculptures to allow the fact that a persons hands did this…and that the material chosen to carve it from can retain some of its personality too!

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home for these creatures is in the waters of the Northwest, Alaska and Canada…some are ocean dwellers and return to fresh water rivers and creeks to spawn, while some are full time residents of rivers and cold clear lakes…these are considered the “Opus Magnum” for many serious fly anglers…sometimes requiring long hikes or even a plane ride to just get near where they live…

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one of my favorite attributes of these Char other than their striking colors are the size and shape of their pectoral and pelvic fins…incredible curves and long points reminding me of a medieval sabre!…

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~prior to stain and painting begins~

~carving is just a portion of this art…the painting can “make or break it” easily~

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~all the eyes are handcarved and hand painted~

~I wont use the plastic or glass imitations…it just doesn’t go along with my philosophy of doing all that I can with my own hands!~

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~ along with the colors, the shape of the fins of this fish are my favorite~

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…if you look real close at the eye here you can see my cell phone in the reflection!…

I carve these one at a time per order…I can also make sculptures of other species, I also can just stain them and leave the finish in a natural wood state…just contact me for more details…

I make some sculptures up to 6′ long for special signs and decorations too…I have  made signs with logos or special fonts styles for shops, lodges and restaurants…I can also help design a logo if you don’t have one… I try to deliver & install these in person…or they must be sent freight…

~all prices include the fee for crating for safe delivery~

~I would love to carve one for you!~

~a few more eye and cheek details & notes~

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~sunlight (or lack thereof)totally changes the hues and accents~

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~a few moments later when the sun has moved a way a bit~

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here you can see the way I make the spots with a gold leaf base…from the lowest part of the belly to the top of the fishes back there is a subtle change in amounts of either gold or cerise…around the eye only a slight amount of gold is revealed…also I rub in some gold leaf around the cheeks and face to give a slight iridescence…which is really noticeable in different light situations…

I’m trying to duplicate colors I have seen in nature when you have a short time actually in the fishes presence before releasing them…sometimes only 15  or so seconds…I try to be as gentle as possible, yet still “soak in” as much of the creatures beauty as I can…

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~trying to “mimic” the shades and colors of the “Dolly” was a challenge!~

~this 5X view shows me things I never saw with my naked eye until putting in on the site~

short experiences like this are the core of angling for me…and also give a lot of inspiration for my art…if you take a peek at pics from my road trips you will see a lot of similar views in some of the shots I have gotten in that brief interlude when the fish and my worlds have met…