The Life of Fish Artist Ron Pittard
The Life & Legacy of Ron Pittard
Here in our shop, you will find many illustrations created by the famous fish artist, Ron Pittard. This elusive and mysterious man was dedicated to his artistry and it truly shows by the quality and quantity of his creations. Not only did he draw and paint the scientific illustrations that would be sold by the thousands through 'Windsor's Nature Discovery', he was also a well respected fish taxidermist.
Ron Pittard began mounting fish as a teenager in 1948 and throughout his practice, taught himself many impressive tricks that developed into a refined method. To create replicas, he carefully crafted plaster molds, painted each individual scale with many layers to achieve an astonishingly realistic look, and was even able to leave fins transparent and mouths fully detailed - teeth included.
This part-time passion eventually turned into his full time career after he quit his job working for an electronics firm in the 70's. He grew to become one of the most well-respected and admired fish artists to ever live. Although he was quite the recluse and very hard to get ahold of, a rare interview with him happened in 1992 where he shared all of his artistic practices. He didn't stop with just replicas and illustrations, however. He explored many different types of artforms including wood carving, clay sculpting and canvas painting.
Ron Pittard certainly left his mark on the world. He passed in 2012, be he will always live on through his creations. Next time you see his posters, prints or keychains out in marinas and tackle shops, be sure to remember Ron and the legacy of his beautiful fish art!
Fun Facts About Ron Pittard
1. He frequently painted with this special lead-based silver paint to achieve his realistic looks. When the manufacturer had to quit making it, he was sure to by a life-time supply that lasted even longer!
2. When speaking of his love for his craft in the 1992 interview, he's quoted saying, "You just plod along and plod along, and pretty soon it's done!"
3. After being frustrated with the quality limitations of skin mounted fish, he switched to plaster molds for reproductions which is how he eventually developed his unique practice!
4. For many years of his life, Ron didn't have a phone, computer, beeper or fax machine, making contact with him a very difficult thing.
5. Ron had one student that he taught his craft to, Dave Smith. Dave continued on to create the fish replicas Ron had taught him and even went on to win a WASCO Award at the 1999 Oregon Association of Taxidermists.
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Photo & Info Credit : taxidermy.net
- Robert Donahue