Looking for fish to paint

Many people search for different things:  a book store, a cafe, mushrooms in the forest, lice in your hair, a bathroom or a library… I spent two days looking for FISH. And not just one fish to eat, that would be easy, but piles of it, which made it much harder! Before getting into the details, I would like to tell you how I ended up in such a situation. For the month of June I have won a fabulous art residency at the Rocky Neck Art Colony in Gloucester, MA, called Goetemann Artists in Residency Program. I have decided to collect photo references for my paintings. The idea is to include some of the history of Gloucester into my work. This city is famous for its fishing industry, “Gloucester’s most famous (and nationally recognized) seafood business was founded in 1849 — John Pew & Sons.” (wiki). So I figured that using fish as one of my subjects to paint would be a good idea. I though of looking for a fishing boat to see the fish being unloaded and piled up on the floor. I started asking everybody I met if they knew where can I go and what time to see this sort of event. No one knew! Some people would guess and point out a few places that used to be used for that, but no longer, but … there would still be a chance if I would be lucky to see something like that… It was hard. There was no particular time or a place. One person sent me to the  Chamber of Commerce, thinking that that could be useful. So I went. Unfortunately I could not get any useful info there either. So I went to the Fish market right across the street and then wandered around the area, continue on asking people. And this person at the Intershell Seafood Corp said that he knows a few people at the neighboring building and they might know. And as we go there, we see a group of people just GETTING READY TO UNLOAD THE FISHING BOAT!!!! I was so happy they were cool with me taking pictures of the whole process. I did see a lot of fish, it was a great catch of the day. However it was not piled up as I imaged it to be (I guess from all the old paintings and photographs that I saw). Fish were in boxes and sorted out. Some fish were individually weighed to be sorted into large, medium, small. Guys were very professional, fast and the knew what they were doing. I very much enjoyed watching them unload the boat.

When they were almost done they asked me if I like crab, which I do very much. And absolutely unexpectedly they offered all the crabs they caught to me. These 6 fresh white crabs were cooked by my friend Travis that same night.

At the Sunday Artist Mug up meeting at the Rocky Neck I met Joey C., who has invited me to his dock, Capt. Joe & Sons at 95 E. Main Street (read more about Joey and his deck here), where they sort out lobsters. Joey walked me into a stinking room filled with herring fish, that they use as a bait for lobster. I took photos of piles of herring to use as my reference for my very large painting 90″H x 104″W.

I was happy then.


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