We recently had need to move a locked file cabinet to make desk space for volunteers – the keys to the cabinet were missing. A short while later – and some lock-picking – revealed folders of exquisite fish art. The art had been gathered together 6-7 years ago and placed in the file cabinet for safe-keeping. Perhaps we should have disabled the lock when we originally stashed the art in the cabinet – hindsight is 20-20. Now the art is stored in my lab in a filing cabinet (with a deactivated lock).
Below is a sample of some of the work with each artist’s name underneath. The art is protected by plastic – so some photos will show reflections. These photos were shot quickly in my lab for this blog article – and certainly not to the usual standards of Shane Lighter, our Digital Imaging Technician/ photographer.
Here are some dace – used in manuscripts to highlight the presence and range of Rhinichthys in the Columbia River basin.
The work was done using a clay coated surface with carbon dust brushed on. Light coloured highlights appear to have been created by scratching carbon dust away.
Some of this art has been used in publications by Alex Peden (my predecessor here at the RBCM), but Catherine Mecklenburg also used some of the art in her book:
Mecklenburg, C.W., T.A. Mecklenburg, & L.K. Thorsteinson. 2002. Fishes of Alaska. American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, 1037 p.
I can only assume these drawings were stock-piled in preparation for a book on Marine Fishes of BC, but for now, this book is way off in the future. For now we are publishing records of fishes from a few families at a time to get our marine records updated. There are at least 44 species with significant range records or representing first records for BC. Any book on Marine Fishes of BC would be hopelessly premature until we get our series of peer-reviewed papers to print.