This may not be the last fish I paint. The colours of fish are more extraordinary than most of us know. The scales, particularly very fine scales, refract light beautifully. Unfortunately the only times we are likely to see those colours are in dead fish outside their habitat, in which case the colours soon dim. ‘Caught – a painting of a pollack’ is about ambiguity. People see the painting and ask me if I’m a fisherman – presumably they can’t think of any other reason I might have to paint a fish – and, in part, it’s true. I used to fish. Forty years not many people (outside the circles of zoologists and sea anglers) had even heard of pollack. Nowadays, because of overfishing, you’ll find Pollack in your fish fingers, your fish and chips, and who knows what else as ‘white fish’
The pollack is a predator itself, swimming fast after its own diet of anchovies, small herring, and sandeels. All of a pollack’s prey species are also predators. But this particular fish has been predated by a man – and it lies dead on the breakwater, many scales rubbed off on the stones, fins folded. Light and colour are ebbing fast.
If you like this painting you might also enjoy my magical realism painting of a thrush.