Casey Hartley

Portfolio Categories: Decorative.

Atlantic Cod, hand carved basswood sculpture, acrylic painted and stained, taxidermic glass eyes, 38 1/2in w × 15in h, 5lbs

Each fish is hand-cut and hand-carved from 2” thick planks of basswood. Because no templates are used, each one is a true original. The tail is flattened and the body is shaped using a rasp, and further definition is given to the gills, eyes, mouth and tail using a variety of carving tools. The end result of the woodworking process is a true-to-size fish “plaque” somewhere between 2D and 3D.

Several layers of pigment are then hand-painted to create an accurate, detailed, patina finish.
The coloration is determined by the approximate size and life stage of the fish. With custom orders, reference photos (of the trophy catch) are ideal, and insights are welcomed to achieve the perfect hues and ensure that the ‘catch of a lifetime’ is given it’s due.

Next, the fish gets ‘weathered’ in one of two ways. If it was painted with acrylic, it gets two coats of sealant and is allowed to dry overnight. A crackling medium is then applied and allowed to dry and ‘age’ the paint for a minimum of 24 hours. Stain is rubbed on, giving the fish a cracked, weathered appearance. If it was painted with milk paint, it gets coated with furniture polish, wiped down, then buffed and ‘dirtied’ with steel wool.Finally, a glass eye is added and the fish is complete.

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