Skip to main content

By Skip Clement

[dropcap]I[/dropcap]was fortunate enough to see Oceans and Other Worlds, a one man show of Stanley Meltzoff’s originals works at The Society of Illustrators in New York City this summer. Some 90 paintings of the oceans fish were on display – the show, the largest Meltzoff retrospective ever mounted. It turned out to be an afternoon and a stunning engagement with fishes that came alive.

James Prosek: Ocean Fishes: Paintings of Saltwater Fish
Written by James Prosek, Foreword by Peter Matthiessen, Contribution by Robert M. Peck and Christopher Riopelle

This Christmas, I had the good fortune of getting a copy of James Prosek’s “Ocean Fishes” and found it a fascinating journey throughout. It’s 35 watercolors are alive because the artist is an angler and naturalist all piled into one head. The captivating watercolors are why the New York Times calls him “the Audubon of the fishing world.” He totally captures the most pursued game fish – from striped bass to tarpon, swordfish to bonefish – as well as many creatures that share these marine ecosystems through rich, highly detailed watercolors painted specifically for this, his latest work. Each painting reflects Prosek’s individual experience with a single fish.

Robert Morselli wrote in MidCurrent:  “. . . Prosek painted his subjects as they emerged from the sea and rendered them with an objectivity that he has developed from years of participating in art, science – and the emotional experience of angling. The paintings – 35 watercolors of the most pursued saltwater fish – are scrupulously accurate and manage to transcend the anatomical details that define the fish. In this regard, Prosek gives us a privileged place on the deck, a view ordinarily glimpsed only by fishermen, and brings us closer to seeing the fish than any of his contemporaries: he literally ‘captures the moment’.  Prosek states, “. .  . as anyone who has spent time on the water knows: a fish is a dynamic, colourful, always-changing organism, lit by some internal light that that rapidly flickers out as the fish expires . . .”

This book is a must-have for saltwater anglers, conservationists, art lovers, and anyone passionate about the beauty of the coastline and the mysteries swimming off its shores.

Robert Morselli is the research director for the internationally syndicated television show “How It’s Made.” He can be reached by going to “How It’s Made.”

Note: Fly Life has always featured artists with something special to evoke in us why we fish. We’ll slowly make all of these artists’ works from our back issues available in our archive section.

At work in his studio on Ocean Fishes: Paintings of Saltwater Fish


You can buy Ocean Fishes: Paintings of Saltwater Fish from any major bookseller or online at the usual biggies.

Buy “Ocean Fishes: Paintings of Saltwater Gamefish” in the MidCurrent Store.

Publication Date: October 9, 2012
Publisher: Rizzoli
US Price: $39.95
CAN Price: $39.95
ISBN: 978-0-8478-3907-0


Author Skip

More posts by Skip

Join the discussion One Comment

Leave a Reply