James Prosek: Ocean Fishes: Paintings of Saltwater Fish

The captivating watercolors of James Prosek, the artist the New York Times calls "the Audubon of the fishing world." In the tradition of his acclaimed Trout: An Illustrated History, renowned naturalist, artist, and fisherman James Prosek captures thirty-five of 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 volume. Each painting reflects Prosek’s individual experience with a single fish. The artist traveled the world to experience firsthand each species just out of the water before the fish lose their true colors. The original works are life-size portraits (from a 14-inch porgy to a 12?-foot blue marlin), and details from the originals are reproduced at full size to give a sense of scale. 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.

About The Author

James Prosek made his authorial debut with Trout: An Illustrated History, and is a contributor to the New York Times. He also cofounded the conservation initiative World Trout with Patagonia owner Yvon Chouinard. Robert M. Peck is a curator and senior fellow of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia. Christopher Riopelle is curator of post-1800 paintings at the National Gallery, London. Peter Matthiessen is a National Book Award–winning novelist and nonfiction writer.

  • Publish Date: October 09, 2012
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Category: Art - Subjects & Themes - Plants & Animals
  • Publisher: Rizzoli
  • Trim Size: 10 x 7
  • Pages: 184
  • US Price: $45.00
  • CDN Price: $60.00
  • ISBN: 978-0-8478-3907-0


"Prosek urges people to see nature, and especially the fish he loves so dearly, in a new light: Forget taxonomic checkboxes and biodiversity and ecosystem services, and think about a single creature's life." ~Wired Magazine

“A must-have for everyone from the art lover to the saltwater angler, OCEAN FISHES is a treasure from our vast and mysterious seas.” ~The -The Essential Guide for Men

"What Prosek asks you to do is to open your eyes to the beauty of the world, and then think of how ephemeral that beauty is, and how death is always there amidst the beauty. At a time, in winter, when most of us will be indoors and few of us will be out with nature, spending some time with  Prosek is good for the soul.” ~The Art

"With Ocean Fishes: Paintings of Saltwater Fish, James Prosek demonstrates his steady growth as an artist since his well-known 1996 Trout: An Illustrated History, which—although Prosek was just out of college when that book was published—demonstrated a mastery of the art of painting fish species with an accuracy so vivid the result seemed almost unreal. But natural history illustration, valuable as it is in any era, has often taken a backseat to painting, a more imaginative and perhaps a more expressive art. In assaying the representation of marine fishes, Prosek not only sticks to his mission as an illustrator who wants to depict species with a strict eye to accuracy of form and color, but he also emerges as an interpreter of nature into the realm of the painterly. The 35 marine game species brilliantly depicted here—in full form and in detail views—glow with the imaginative suggestiveness of accurate illustration carried out at the level of Prosek's intense attention, a paradox I can only imagine the still-young artist and naturalist enjoys exploring. You can truly enjoy Prosek's mesmerizing renditions of barracudas, tarpon, blue marlin, and the rest."---Gray's Sporting Journal

"Prosek, who is a naturalist and adventurer, but also a very good writer and painter, has traveled the world fishing its oceans, and in Ocean Fishes paints a picture, in words and images, that is beautiful and yet alarming. As the publisher says, this book contains the author’s “quiet conservation statement.” ~Publishers Weekly

“James Prosek’s latest project, Ocean Fishes, presents a range of big game fish—sailfish, bonefish, blue marlin, barracuda—in dazzling close-up, with a directness at odds with the genre’s history of artful subterfuge. The fish are life-size and alive in their glistening particulars. Prosek, an expert fisherman who has written and illustrated several books on aquatic life, handles his medium—watercolor; appropriately—with masterful delicacy, capturing the rose blush of the speckled cod, the pearly gills of a barracuda, the Yves Klein-blue iridescence of the swordfish.” ~Town and Country

“The book represents Prosek’s goal to paint the ocean’s most pursued sport fish in life size...The resulting paintings are of fish that seem lifted from the water and slapped onto the pages during that time, as only an angler knows, when a fish has all of its living color.”

“This is more than a book. It’s a collection of heartfelt art that captures the interest, the intellect, the imagination, and the inherent emotions of anyone with an affinity for the sea and a fascination with the array of creatures that dwell therein. Like Audubon, Prosek is a master at capturing the natural beauty of his natural subjects. As such this volume is a master’s piece, more than worthy of coffee tables and home libraries in every seaside abode.” ~Ellsworth (Maine) American

Artist and author James Prosek spent the last three years traveling the fringes of the Atlantic Ocean, from Cape Cod to Cape Verde, landing fish and watching them get caught by hook, net, and--in the case of a swordfish and a bluefin tuna--harpoon. The result is a stunning series of images, currently on display at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia. For those who want to take the fish home, the paintings have been reproduced in a gorgeous art book." ~Outside Magazine

"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.' The final result is a volume of faithfully reproduced images...that is both a reference guide as well as an art book that can find a home in any fishing library or on a coffee table....searching for gift possibilities...Ocean Fishes is a no-brainer."

Author Bookshelf: James Prosek