Color and Light Reflected – Brown Trout


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Two of my favorite things to paint are fish and water. I’m drawn to these subjects because of the interesting way they reflect color and light.

“How do you paint water?” I’m often asked. It’s an interesting thing to ponder. In the case of water, one doesn’t actually paint the water. To render the water in this painting, for example, I had ignore the physicality of water and ‘see’ both the stream bottom, distorted by the motion of the water, and the reflected light of the sky. It’s the dance between these two elements, distortion and reflection, that creates what we ‘see’ when we look at a trout stream from above.

In their element, fish are a wondrous combination of color and form. Those parts of a fish that are seen through water are distorted, much like the stream bottom. The portions of the fish above water are highly reflective and color saturated.

Painting color and light reflected is an interesting puzzle. One that I never tire of trying to solve.

This original oil painting was created to illustrate John Gierach’s story “Shoulder Season” in the Spring 2019 issue of Trout magazine. The stretched canvas measures 30 x 24 inches.

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