Category Archives: Fine Art

Stillwater Pennask Rainbow – Commissioned Piece

Since I took up painting, it has been one of the most fun and most challenging pursuits of my art career thus far. The learning curve isn’t quite as steep as I anticipated, mostly because my brain knows how I want something to look, but there’s definitely patience required when learning a new medium. With pencil, I know exactly how to make something look the way I want it. Pencil pressure, smudging techniques, erasers…I have put in thousands of hours with a pencil in my hand. But with brushes and paint, it’s a whole new game altogether! It takes me longer than usual to get things to look the way I want, but I’m getting there.

This was a really fun piece and the finished product is one of my absolute faves! The one huge benefit of paint, is the colours just glow. I incorporate a lot of translucent glaze layers with several thin layers of colour to give incredible depth and vibrancy, something I couldn’t even think to achieve with pencil. These techniques give the piece a 3D look and also change throughout the day and depending on the lighting projected on the piece. This piece is no exception and in proper light, it grabs you and draws you in.

Before I started painting I didn’t see the allure to why people would pay thousands of dollars for an original painting. But now I understand. It’s not just about the painting itself, it’s about the hours the artist invested in front of that piece. The brush strokes, the mistakes, it’s the whole process. And of course, a print doesn’t do the original piece justice at all. You don’t get the colour depth, vibrancy, or any of the effects that paint offers. Prints can be quite flat in comparison. So now I understand why and I’m so happy with how this piece turned out!

This piece was for a friend of mine, Alfred Pryce, who commissioned me to do his favourite fish in his favourite scene. A Pennask Rainbow hovering over a Chara bed, with chironomids emerging around it. For stillwater anglers, this is their Holy Grail and why so many anglers flock to British Columbia’s stillwater lakes. I was able to also add in Alfred’s favourite fly, the Pumpkinhead Leech, which is one of John Kent’s masterfully devised patterns.

Thank you Alfred!

 

“Stillwater Pennask Rainbow” – 20 x 30″ Acrylic on Canvas

Irene and I were able to deliver the piece in person to Alfred. He showed us his incredible house with an amazing view! =)

“Passing the Torch” Award Winning

I got the news right after the judging that my piece was chosen to represent the Pacific Salmon Foundation and will be featured on the 2017 BC Saltwater Fishing licenses! It’s hard to comprehend that I won on my first time entering, but I guess I brought a fresh new style to the competition.

A visual tale of the fragile circle of life of Pacific Sockeye Salmon. Their entire lives are destined for this moment in time, to pass on their genes to the next generation. The astonishing journey they take is nothing short of epic. They easily could cop out and spawn closer to the sea, but they seemingly take an impossible route to get back to their spawning grounds. Truly one of nature’s spectacles.

Salmon are one of the most important fish in the west. They feed many different species and bring nutrients to rivers that wouldn’t otherwise be capable of sustaining life. Bears, wolves, and eagles, also carry salmon carcasses away from the rivers which provide nutrients for trees and plant life surrounding the rivers. They truly are incredible animals, and that’s why organization like the Pacific Salmon Foundation are so important to help bring awareness of the status of our salmon species and to take action to help restore their spawning areas.

This 19.5 x 27″ piece took over 100 hours to complete. I chose to use acrylics on native BC douglas fir board to render this idea into a reality.

I got the news right after the judging that my piece was chosen to represent the Pacific Salmon Foundation and will be featured on the 2017 BC Saltwater Fishing licenses! It’s hard to comprehend that I won on my first time entering, but I guess I brought a fresh new style to the competition.

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2017-2018 Salmon Conservation Stamps!

Koke Addict – in progress

This piece has been sitting unfinished since May. This summer has been insanely busy with buying a house, moving, and guiding up in the Arctic. I’m hoping to get back to working on it in the next month or so. In the meantime, I’ll be working on the Pacific Salmon Federation stamp piece.

Koke Addict

Spawning Bull Trout and Kokanee

Fall is dominated by hues of orange and red. From the fiery mountain sides to the blue streams dotted with red, fall is a time of death and recreation. As the leaves change, so do the fish and here in the mountains, this means spawning trout and salmon.

Although some species of trout spawn in the spring, Char spawn in the fall. The fluvial populations migrate upstream to their spawning creeks from the lakes they call home. During this feat, bull trout change from their silver non-breeding colours to their vibrant breeding colours. This transformation results in crimson bellies highlighted with white edged fins.

At the same time, Kokanee Salmon too migrate into the creeks to spawn, undergoing a similar transformation. Normally a silver fish, Kokanee transform into vibrant crimson accented with green heads and white lower jaws. Unlike the Bull Trout which return to the lake after spawning, Kokanee Salmon, like all Pacific Salmon species, die after spawning.

At all times of the year, Bull Trout feast on Kokanee Salmon. From creek mouth ambushes on new Kokanee fry, to open water assaults, to gauntlets of hungry mouths as the Kokanee try to travel upstream to spawn, the cat and mouse game is constant. Co-dependant species, the Bull Trout keep the Kokanee numbers in check, while the Kokanee allow the Bulls to get to truly impressive sizes. Sadly, in much of their range, populations are declining due to habitat loss especially in their native spawning creeks, as well as competition from other species that have been introduced.

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This piece meant a lot to me, going back to my roots of how I started with fish art. Inspired by such artists as Joseph Tomelleri, Flick Ford, and Paul Vecsei, I loved how detailed and precise their works were. Being detail obsessed myself, I emulated my style after theirs. As years went on, I ventured away from the illustration style, invoking a much more action packed style. Despite my artist evolution, I have always been a huge fan of my idols’ work and this piece signifies that respect for them and their talent.

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To this day, after fishing in some of the most incredible waters in Canada for so many amazing native species, I still hold Bull Trout in the highest regard. I have so much respect for these fish and the stunning, pristine waters that they inhabit. Since moving to BC, it has been amazing to be able to chase these piscivores locally and see them in their home waters. There’s nothing more exhilarating having a big bull swipe at your fly seemingly out of nowhere. Their appetite is impressive and there is almost no fly too big to toss for them. I’ll normally use a heavily weighted 8-12″ fly that I’ll swing thru the current.

Being ambush predators, Bulls almost always bite best in the early hours or just as the sun starts going down. Casting at midday is usually futile. Bull Trout will simply hold in a seam and wait for dusk. During these times, a perfectly drifted stonefly nymph may entice them for a midday snack, but typically they won’t even react. I have seen however, these sedentary Bulls spark up when a hooked Cutthroat is struggling on the end of your line. Like a shark smelling blood in the water, you can see the body language instantly change and watch them go into hunting mode.

Here in Golden, BC, September marks the Kokanee Salmon spawning migration, and one of the best times of the year to fish for Bull Trout. As the bright red little salmon begin their migration, the Bull Trout gorge on the hordes of easy meals. At this time of year, Bull Trout can get to blimp status as they stuff themselves with as many little salmon as they can.

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“Running the Gauntlet”

“Running the Gauntlet”
36″ x 18″
Acrylic on Canvas

Finally I’ve put down the brush and call it complete. The inspiration behind this piece is based from my personal experience here in British Columbia last fall. We witnessed big predatory bull trout hunting spawning kokanee salmon in the crystal clear glacial waters around here. It was something I won’t soon forget and look forward to the event again this year.

For those who aren’t familiar with these two species, they are both endangered in much of their home waters. Habitat loss has been a huge contributing factor to the demise of both species. British Columbia is regarded as one of the last great strongholds for these stunning mountain salmonids.

This was my first big painting and really enjoyed the journey. It was an idea I had in my head for a while and I’m happy with how it turned out.

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“Running the Gauntlet”

Circling Trout Series Prints

Prints now available! Click on the link for more information and options.
Fine Art America – NICK LAFERRIERE
http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/nick-laferriere.html?tab=artwork

  • choose from canvas, metal, acrylic, framed, posters, etc. 

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Circling Trout Series

A new series that is under way is the Circling Trout Series. This is something I’ve been wanting to do for a while. Inspired by both tattoo art of koi fishes and a painting done by the extremely talented Yusniel Santos, I finally took the time to sketch out a concept and pose I liked.

Starting with the three most popular, Brook/Brown/Rainbow, and adding more to the series as time progresses and allows. These are all done in watercolour pencils with a Copic marker base coat. The first piece, the Brown Trout, was the test piece to try out using the marker background and see how it would work out. This method, which I had never heard of done before, works amazing! I sketched out the general layout and then filled it in with the marker. After I let it thoroughly dry, I begin adding in the watercolour pencils, layer after layer, building up the depth and colour richness. The marker gives a perfect neutral grey background in which I can build from that helps make the colours pop better than your typical white paper background.

Decals are coming very soon for this series and the Atlantic Salmon and Steelhead pieces are underway.

Circling Trout Promo