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~ steelhead trout~

~Oncorhynchus mykiss~

~ 43″ hand carved & painted~

~my etsy shop where I sell my carvings~

here is a 43″ carving of a favorite…this one is painted as ” wooden chrome “…fresh from saltwater heading up into the rivers for its trek…the andromous variation of the rainbow trout species is often called the “steelhead”…its known for its migration back to the fresh waters it was born after 3 years of living in the ocean…

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I also have one painted up with a bit more of the”tell tale” signs of fresher water with just a hint of that cerise colored pink on its side and gill plates…actually the way I’ve caught these…this is the color phase it attains after being back in the lower salinity to fresh waters…

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the one pictured here on this page is the way it appears when it begins the journey back to fresh water…as with most ocean going salmon, they are very silvery and have that distinct dark steel colored head…hence their name…

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whats so interesting about this fish is just how many different ways it can appear in nature…from the silver bullets, to a much darker and almost blood red version…

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after the final rough shaping I use a tool to imitate the scales of this fish…the very small “chips” it takes out resemble scales very closely, and give an overall effect of realism & texture to the art… the high gloss finish coat not only provides excellent protection, but also gives a life like appearance of being wet…

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anyone that has caught and been around these critters knows why they get the nickname “chrome”…with a twist or turn their bright silvery chrome bodies can make an incredible flash in the sun!…I painted this carving so it does the very same thing…by walking around it, or just catching views of it from different angles the sun throws off a big flash too!

 

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I sorted through a few hundred pics for my reference research on this one…deciding to have three carvings in various color schemes…I had some of my own, but then realized when checking out others just how different a “steelhead” can be…even fin sizes and shapes…all stuff to make a sculptors job even more interesting!

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…vent fin details are made by allowing the wood colors to bleed through the alcohol stain…

~I always come back to that quote that can get me out of trouble…”art imitates life!”~

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~I carve and hand paint all the eyes for these ~

my carvings are not only one of the ways I express the way I see my favorite creatures, but also a way I can share the enjoyment other anglers and nature lovers can have when they hang up something like this in their home or shop to remember or just enjoy their intrinsic beauty…

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~ I allow the grain and color of the wood to help imitate the almost transparent colors in the caudal fin…with the small spots adding to the realism~

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~just a little breeze or different view can make the carving “flicker” like the real thing~

I specialize in offering an alternative to the standard fiberglass or moulded  fish mounts out there…my carvings are about 98.5% organic!…no more than 5 to 6 ounces of stain, paint and clear finish…compared to gallons, and in a carving this size, if it were the fiberglass type, would use over 5 gallons of toxic stuff!..the balance in mine are all natural ingredients(wood)…elbow grease does not have a VOC value!

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~all carved and hand painted eyes~

I carve and paint the eyes to maintain the handmade effect…here again no need to use plastics or glass when I can make these myself…

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~when the carvings catch varying degrees of sunlight they give off a flash like the real life creatures these are copying~

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~sometimes the smallest details can impart the most realism…

from a slight distance the fins have a very “lifelike” appearance~

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~summer in the rockies is carving season!~

~yep…this is a big mount/carving…something for a special place!~

of course there is one other factor that is way more important for me…this artwork is 100% carved and painted by hand!…no moulds, stencils, special tools or other “high tech” stuff…only the product of the simplest sculptors and wood workers & artists tools…