The idea for Bahamas Royalty came through looking at photos of my last trip to Marsh Harbour. A queen triggerfish, queen conch, queen angelfish, silver king ... so many royally beautiful fish from our daily dive! Having a marine biology background, I enjoy the research involved in preparing a work. I look at the entire ecology of the main subject: the habitat, lighting, supportive species, food source and biology.
Days of sketching later, I settle on my idea and got to work with the paint. My process is to sketch multiple views of each creature or landmark. Then I use transparent paper to make an outline and work out the best placement on the fish mount. Many of my sketches and images are saved for another project because my ideas are usually too many for one fish mount.
The next step is to antique the areas that I want to give that "old paper" look and to paint the sepia features. I strive for accuracy and realism but to keep the painterly brush strokes as part of the work. I love the challenge of harmonizing color work in a sepia piece. Painting is a very detailed process that takes many, many hours spread over several weeks.
Each of my mounts are singular, and average about 2 months to finish. I only create 10-15 of them each year if I overlap the process and have several in progress at a time. I need to live to be a very old woman so that I can get all of my ideas painted!
This very special mount was auctioned at the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust Symposium in November 2017. 100% of the dollars generated by my permit went directly to BTT's conservation efforts.