This beautiful fish is known by several names that I know of; MahiMahi, Dolphinfish, and Dorado. From what I understand, the name changes according to geographic areas. MahiMahi in Hawaii, Dolphinfish up the East coast of the U.S. and from Panama to California they are known as Dorado (meaning golden one in Spanish). One thing all anglers can agree on is that they are beautiful and fun to catch!
MahiMahi grow very quickly, and are considered old at age 5! Adult males are called bulls and have a hump on their head. These are pelagic fish, meaning they hang out in the mid area of the water. Not at the surface, and not at the bottom. They also tend to find patches of seaweed or flotsam to hang out under. Scientist do not know why they do this. Perhaps they use it for protection or for a bit of shade? Lol. My neighbor caught several of these juveniles and gave me a few to paint. Of course, they ate the rest of their catch because these are delicious fish to eat!
I used a combination of metallic fabric paint and regular acrylic paints for this piece, giving the fish a more realistic look.
What In the World is Gyotaku?
Gyotkau (pronounced GEE-OH-TAH_KOO) literally translated means Fish Rubbing. Here is a basic description of how I do it. I paint directly on the fish (or other sea creature), and then carefully place the paper over him, gently rubbing the length of the fish. When the paper is lifted there is a mirror image of the fish imprinted onto the paper. After the rubbings dry I add the eyes, backgrounds, sign them using my "chop" (mine is my name in Japanese) and add my signature. I can usually get 4 to 16 rubbings from each fish (depending on the type of fish) and they truly are very different with each rubbing. Once dry, they are mounted on acid free backing OR rolled and kept in a tube. I use handmade papers, usually mulberry or rice paper, but I do like to experiment with other types. Each painting has the type of paper used in the description. I also try to keep my sizes standard to fit most frames, but the size of the fish can determine the size of the paper. Since the papers are shipped to me rolled in a tube or box, shipping a finished Gyotaku this way is perfectly safe. Your Gyotaku can be stored this way until you are ready to have it framed. I ship all of my Gyotaku rolled in shipping tubes or boxes.
real MahiMahi fish, acrylic paints, speckled mulberry paper
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