My mate Jock Clough provided some images of the first of these, which he caught from a secret spot near Steep Point. As I was due to travel up there in the next few days he kept it on ice for me until I arrived.
I immediately set to work and made a detailed life size drawing of this magnificent fish. Pink Snapper are an iconic southern Australian fish, much sought after and the basis of an important commercial and recreational fishery in the Shark Bay area. The stocks were severely depleted over the years, mainly through fishers targeting spawning aggregations of Snapper. However increased protection through strict bag limits and seasonal/regional closures, both in the Shark Bay area and also in Cockburn Sound in the metro area, have seen numbers recover somewhat.
Jock’s photos, taken on a mobile phone weren’t quite good enough to paint from, so we had to go and catch another specimen which I could photograph exactly as I needed. The finished drawing then sat in the studio for nearly two years until the moment came when I could begin work on the painting. A challenging subject, the scales are very tricky, none are the same shape or size and they are transparent and reflective with ever changing shimmering colours shining through. This was to have been a piece for Sydney Contemporary Art Fair this year but, just like last year it was cancelled due to Covid. However the work was snapped up by a local friend and collector before it was even completed and is now hanging proudly on a wall in a Fremantle residence.