Monday, August 21, 2017

Coelacanth, a hero of mine

I have loved fish as far back as I can remember. My mother said my first word spoken was as she held me as we looked over the Goldfish pond in Presdio park in San Diego. I grabbed her shirt with one hand and pointed with excitement right at the large Japanese Goldfish lazily swimming about and shouted..."Fish"!
I have spent a lifetime of raising fish in captivity, fishing for them both in sport and to eat and just taking many pleasent hours of my life watching them swim about their lives.
The Coelancanth first caught my attention when reading about its discovery many years ago when one was caught and shown to the world off the coast of Africa. I just loved the story of the possibility of the missing link still being alive. For a good part of my life that one article was all I had to dream on of knowing that this fish had survived so many others.
For years I wanted to carve out of found wood a Ceolantanth to have for myself. With the Internet having come to life I was suddenly shown that many others had been found out and that they were and have been among us all the time in many different locations. 
To see so many images of these creatures of earth was very satisfying. To me it showed that no mater how much we humans mess up our planet there is a good chance that other life forms will live on and enjoy the next 100,000,000 million years without us once we have finished our time here.

Here's a picture of a real Coelancanth that has been mounted.

This is another of what I assume is a real fish that has been mounted to show the world. Are there museums in other planets that have collected some of us as specimens to show their race what we look like?

I have had these guys on my mind for years. Here's my idea for a business card back in 1997.

Soon today there will be tourist attractions that will have a bunch of them in captivity for the human race to have a chance to interact with another species that has been around a lot longer. What is  their crimes against the inviroment? I guess eating your smaller neighbor for millions of years.

I started my personal Coelacanth carving by finding a nice big cut off beam end to draw on and cut out with my bandsaw.

I do my shaping with electric grinders.

This fish has lots of fins. The pectoral fins have similar bone structure as mammals. These fish walk their way through the water.

Parts assembled and scales layed out in pencil.

Scales cut out and all fins glued in place.

Teeth are made of aluminum carpet brads cut off and glued in with epoxy.
The eye is a glass taxidermy eye from Germany.

I first add the light highlights in acrylic.

Now the dark in stain.

Now a coat of varnish.

I love looking at them from this angle.

I hope I have done their species well.

He - she is now in my house to keep me company. This fish is 42" long. I wonder in real life how many years it would take to reach that size.