To compose "Meatball Blues" I first of all had to gather lots of photos and magazines on the subject. Included in this research was a trip to the Whangerei Fish Museum to study specimens, and sourcing video footage of a meatball being worked by marlin. Getting the shape of the marlin correct on "deep perspective" meant actually sculpting the fish first in clay, then photographing that with the desired lighting before starting on the preliminary drawings.
The blue marlin, like other marlin, have several distinguishing features. They have a shorter dorsal fin, and are generally larger and more bulky than a striped martin. To cross check my drawing I enlisted the help of Dave Franks. Dave is a third generation gamefishing charter operator, who knows the subject like the back of his hand. Aided with his advice, I made one or two minor changes and started on the painting itself. The work was done in gouache ("gwarsh"), which is a chalk-based watercolour.
Unlike traditional watercolour, gouache can be used both for nice loose wash and good solid over-painting. Gouache is often used by artists when the work is intended for reproduction because it has a flat finish and therefore is easily photographed when it comes to making the printing plates.
Long time friend and skipper of the Norseman, Phil Bendle, with whom I have enjoyed a number of days out on the water, commented, "Yes, you've got that correct for a blue. And I like the bronze colour as you've got it down the sides."
The title for the painting is of course from the viewpoint of the meatball (schooling fish) that marlin feed on.
"Meatball Blues" has been reproduced as a limited edition of 500 prints, using light-resistant inks on archival quality paper, and capturing all details of the original. Each one is numbered and signed by the artist. Completing the presentation is a satin black timber frame, with glass and a white double mat-board.
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