Giles explains some of the techniques he uses to to capture this very particular subject:
“I prefer to work from fish I have sourced myself. This could be from a fishmonger’s display or direct from the fisherman’s boat – Brixham Fish Market is an incredible source of inspiration. I then spend time photographing them. If I could work ‘from life’ I would, but I like to build up my pieces with layers and the fresh, wet, translucent colours of a fish quickly dissipate. The eyes dull and the scales drop their glint.
By photographing them myself I find I spend time looking and studying them completely. I can control the light and explore highlighting different colours. For example, I have just sourced a couple of beautiful grey mullet. They shimmer with not greys, but mauves and purples and, when caught in just the right light, a pale sky blue appears in the scales. I wouldn’t find these colours by working with photos from the internet.
I like to build up layers in my work. I work predominantly on natural subjects at the moment, and bugs, plants, fish are a wonder of texture and colour. Nothing is solid and one-dimensional. I love to experiment to create effects and won’t be disciplined with paint, I don’t work to any particular formula to create my images. I like to use paint in a sculptural way and use thick layers of oil, and, if required other media and natural textures – thread, sawdust, crab shell – to lift my subjects from the surface they are laid on.”
Grey Mullet – photographed April 2020
If you have a project you would like Giles to consider, we would be delighted to chat.