Latest sketches and drawings Now Available
Over the course of 2009 Craig has been busy on a number of paintings all of which require detailed studies of the subject, resulting in a preliminary drawing. This sketching stage is vital to the success of a painting, as it allows the artist to explore the subject in different compositions. Many of these meticulous drawings currently appear next to completed paintings.
Some of these drawings are done for magazine and books. The Fishing & Hunting Journal is known for their entertaining, and often humorous stories. These narratives are written by fishermen and hunters and are often accompanied by Craig's sketches.
These drawings have now been made available. Just click on the picture to view it in more detail
Over the course of 2009 Craig has sketched many drawings from concept studies for his paintings to a variety of pencil sketches to illustrate stories published. The Fishing & Hunting Journal is known for there interesting, intertaining and well written stories which often accompany Craig's sketches to illustrate.
For the large part of my life and career I have found myself never without a pencil and pad in my hand, making some sketch or drawing, whether a concept for a new painting, a commission from a client or in the middle of a detailed study of a particular animal or fish. I find sketching and drawing to be a form of creative release and relaxing, this is often when I am at my most inspired, it is at this stage that I am immersed in ideas and overwhelmed by fascination over a concept or detail that I want to depict. I have always been a “sucker” when it comes to detail as is found in all my paintings, but it doesn’t start there, I often spend hours and hours sketching every detail of hair scale or feather, this I find very important as it gives me the confidence of “knowing” the subject before painting and laying down layers of oil paint. “Knowing” the subject is paramount in my preparation of any painting. I often allow myself to finish a drawing with the intension of exhibiting and displaying as a framed art piece, of which I have many.
Kob Chase - (Copyright Craig Bertram Smith-2009)
“Kob Chase” depicts a hunting scene of a kob or kabeljou bursting forward out of the depths after a few flag-tail fish, but then singles out an imitation lure along the sandy estuarine river bed. I wanted to create motion and action, so I indicated dust in the background showing the path that the kob has taken chasing the bait fish. Estuarine rivers are usually quite silted and any movement along the bottom is sure to create quite a bit of dust - in this instance the dust along the flanks of the fish showing a determined frantic effort. As illustrated in the piece, the fish has been filled with fine detail showing the exact features of the fish – note the gill plates mouth and eye.
Hunting Kob - (Copyright Craig Bertram Smith-2009)
“Hunting Kob” – A detailed drawing of a group of large kob (kabeljou), in a feeding situation. Kob are largely bottom dwelling creatures usually found feeding or swimming at the see floor. They have an amazing sensory organ as they are often found in areas of low visibility. Their lateral line can be clearly seen as a line of pearly shiny scales running down the flanks of their bodies. I felt compelled to show every detail in this piece especially in the fish in the foreground. I focused on creating the silvery effect as these fish are like mirrors reflecting their habitat around them. I felt I had to have this beast chasing a lure because the thought of hooking such a large monster is what drives fisherman to fish in condition that not even birds bear to deal with.
Bass Strike - (Copyright Craig Bertram Smith-2009)
“Bass Strike” – was quite a large drawing of a Large-mouth Bass shown moments before the “Strike” just about to engulf a well imitated fishing lure. The habitat clearly depicts a highly structured area filled with sunken logs water lilies and reeds. Bass enjoy this kind of setting as they usually adopt ambush tactics, waiting motionless hovering in the shadows. They patiently eye out any and every possible meal, big enough to swallow, before dashing out in a split second to grab their prey by surprise. After showing me a few photographs, one of which, of a fish mounting of a trophy Large-mouth Bass, my client and I discussed his fishing tale then explained, in detail, his memory of catching his once-in-a-life-time leviathan, making mention of the lure he used, the fishing conditions and basic appearance of the fish. I showed a rough concept sketch and days later I presented him with this detailed drawing. It was framed and now hangs proudly above his fish mounting. The drawing was highly detailed and accurately sketched indicating the intricate scale, fin and body markings, as well as habitat structure detail. I also focused on the light beaming down in shafts of shimmering rays.
Variety of Freshwater Fish - (Copyright Craig Bertram Smith-2009)
Many of my drawings have been published in fishing magazine articles such as this one. 3 different fish species: Large-mouth Bass, Small-mouth Yellowfish and Sharp-toothed Catfish (Barbel). This piece shows my fascination for fish in all shapes and forms and my compulsion for fine detail.
Bad Weather - (Copyright Craig Bertram Smith-2009)
“Bad Weather” - Another fishing scenario, this one, I’m sure, every determined fisherman can identify with, a fly fisherman standing in the cold, wet, windy condition chasing his imagination in the hopes of hooking a monster rainbow trout
Preliminary Sketch for the Marshall Eagle Painting
This is a typical example of what the client would see if I was commissioned to do a painting. This shows a preliminary sketch for the Marshall Eagle painting that can be seen under the birds section. A detailed drawing will be done and then emailed to the client where upon approval the painting is completed. Birds have intrigued me all my life, especially the birds of prey. I love the detail in their feathers and their amazing features. They are specialized hunters often relying on sharp eyesight and strength to catch their prey. The marshal eagle in full flight, effortlessly soaring through the air, have particularly striking markings I enjoyed fussing over the detail of the feathers and spots as it creates a contrast against the hazy mountainous background.
Octopus - (Copyright Craig Bertram Smith-2009)
My love for the sea and all its weird and interesting creatures continually draws me to examine and study even the most alien of all sea creatures – the Octopus. They really are fascinating animals and virtually have no skeleton and can squeeze into just about any crevice or hole. Even more interesting, is its unique ability to change colours and textures, in an instant, to match exactly to their habitat and surroundings. This was a perfect excuse for me to loose myself in the detail of the creature.
Sailfish - (Copyright Craig Bertram Smith-2009)
“Sailfish” – The Sailfish and Marlin are species that I have planned to paint and draw more of in the future. This must be the ultimate game fish. The design of this fish species is flawless, it is without exception one of the most beautiful and spectacular of all the big game fish and when its large sail-fin is extended, you just have to marvel at it. Watching these fish hunting and chasing small bait fish is truly a moment that has to recorded in some way. I have many images and scenarios in my head of paintings that I will be painting soon. Here a familiar pose seen by the fortunate few fisherman, of a Sailfish leaping, trying to free itself of the hook.
Lunch Break - (Copyright Craig Bertram Smith-2009)
Probably the most memorable and special moments, are with friends enjoying a well deserved lunch break, exchanging stories of the big one that got away.
Manatee - (Copyright Craig Bertram Smith-2009)
Just when you think you seen all that you can imagine, you watch a documentary and you see footage of the Manatee, well I think I had to draw it because it is an almost unbelievable creature, extremely docile and slow moving, often found in shallow weed beds where fishing boats come whizzing past. The result is that many of these creatures are injured and killed by propellers of boats. It is now a threatened species and is in danger of been eradicated altogether.
All artwork and text is copyright 2009 Craig Bertram Smith. All rights reserved.