Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Trout of the Month: North Umpqua Steelhead.

Blue Catfish, Ictalurus furcatus, by Joseph R. Tomelleri. (Not the Trout of the Month.)

Once upon a time, at a conference of ichthyologists and herpetologists, I wandered into the vendors' hall between sessions and discovered that I really like paintings of fish, specifically, paintings by an artist named Joseph R. Tomelleri. After much deliberating, I purchased the catfish print above, which the artist signed for me. It has hung in every home office I have had since. In fact, the first question I ask myself when setting up a home office is, Where to hang the catfish?

Trout of the Month: North Umpqua Steelhead, Oncorhynchus mykiss irideus, by Joseph R. Tomelleri.

So imagine my joy yesterday when I went into a book store to buy a calendar, and what should I find but Joseph R. Tomelleri's Trout of North America 2009 Calendar. And at 75% off! (It pays to wait till the year is partly over before purchasing a calendar.)

The pictures are, of course, exquisite. My only question is, Does anyone ever paint the right side of a fish?

About this month's T of the M: "The sea-going coastal rainbow trout is known as a steelhead. The exact derivation of this name is unknown, but may refer to the steely blue color (that of an "ocean bright," fresh from salt water), and its rather blunt, bony head."

This fish is native to the North American Pacific coast, from the Aleutian Islands to just south of the U.S.-Mexico border.


Seabrooke said...

You know, I don't think I can recall the right side of a fish in a profile painting, either. I'm sure there have been some, but I suspect they're the minority. As an artist, I've observed that the direction you're most comfortable drawing animals depends on your handedness, with the animal's head facing away from your hand, which is why so many field guides have the creatures facing left. My animals tend to face left. I suspect David Sibley is left-handed, because all his birds in the guide face right. Of course, a really good artist can comfortably draw an animal in either direction, but you'll always have that comfort bias.

Hugh said...


That's very insightful, and makes sense. I'm constantly drawing animals for my kids, and invariably they face left.

I riffled through a bunch of field guides and most show the animals facing left. Interestingly, in the Peterson Guide to Mammals of North America, on any given plate the animals are facing the same way, but it varies from group to group (but all by the same artist). Ambidextrous perhaps.

Nowadays we can cheat. Flip image horizontal.