Artist: Nate Wilson

Artist Nate Wilson sent us a beautiful giclee print of this Brook Trout. Probably one of my all time favorite fish to chase in the PA mountainside all year round.

Nate paints from Lockhaven Pa and below you will find a little bit about him in his own words.

“I grew up along the banks of the Juniata River in Mifflin County. Our house was about seventy five yards up the bank from the river. I spent most of my summers, weekends, and evenings in or on the river. I was always in the water; fishing, snorkeling, or dragging nets through the weed beds to catch minnows for my fish tank . The river was a huge part of my childhood. I think that is where I learned to pay attention and notice the complexity of the natural world.

I have always fished; sometimes more then others. The first fish I remember catching on my own was a 5lb carp on a brown and white zebco closed face rod and reel . I used to wade the river by my house flipping rocks for helgrammites to use as bait for rockbass and small mouth. I have never been a great angler and have probably caught just as many submerged branches as I have fish. With the exception of a few deep sea fishing trips and some opening days of trout season I am a catch and release guy. I enjoy the chase, the fight, taking a look and letting them go. Like many anglers I am happy just to get outside and enjoy some peace and quiet. I have some friends that have threatened to teach me fly fishing. I just have never got that far yet.

I started painting fish a while ago. I think its been about seven years since I began using watercolor.I have always made art. My parents were bothe art teachers. One of my first memories is drawing on a big roll of paper on the floor with my dad. I am three or so. He draws something then I draw something.

I went to art school and have a bachelors and masters degree in printmaking-from Edinboro University of PA and Tulane University of New Orleans. I used to make big woodblock prints and giant paintings. Those things are fun to make but take up a lot of space. When I moved in with the women who would become my wife we had a small apartment and it wasn’t practical to make giant works of art. I tried my hand at watercolor. I had not used it since high school. It fit the space I had to work in and it was easy to clean up. At the time I was making a lot of art that I was not satisfied with. I decided to go back to something that had always interested me; nature.

Watercolor is a challenge. There is no going back from a mark, no erasing. It takes patience and flexibility. You have to work in layers. You have to preserve your white of the paper. I never had a class on it. I have just kind of figured out my own way. The art school background helps obviously. I find it to be meditative and relaxing.

Painting something that exists in front of you forces you to look at it, examine it, appreciate it, to consider its place in the world. I paint fish ( and other things from nature) because I want people to see their beauty and intrinsic worth. If they can see that then they may be moved to protect it. I want to live in a world with clean air and water. I want to be able to wade in a creek and catch native fish while a blue heron rests in the shallows, and while turtles sun themselves on the rocks. I want there to be coral reefs and rainforests, polar ice and prairie dogs. I think we are at the point now that if you want to be able to enjoy nature then you have to do something to help protect it. Art is one way that I can do that.

I dont just paint game fish. I do a lot of ocean stuff, coral, reef fish. etc. I have done a lot of commissions. One of my favorites was a big painting of a bumphead parrotfish for a Marine Biologist’s office. He also used the image in his thesis. I have done some gamefish stuff for anglers; someone’s biggest fish or special catch. If I am not doing commissions then I am just painting..I also teach elementary and middle school art, that keeps me busy. The painting thing is more for enjoyment then anything. I would like to do some more stuff related to conservation- That is something I am working at.”

Nate has some really amazing pieces available through his Etsy page. https://etsy.me/2LFCN3K

I will definitely be picking up a couple more of these prints. Thanks Nate for the story and the great piece! Cheers!

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