The Method




Jim Boesel has developed a unique method for combining wood, fabric, gilding metals, brass fins and acrylic paint to create sculptures that accurately depict the iridescent beauty of live trout in nature.


Inspired by the charming 1930’s ice-fishing decoys of Midwesterner Oscar Peterson and the luminous trout illustrations of Joseph Tomelleri, Jim set out to discover a way to capture the best qualities of each, while working with the materials and skills he gained through his lifetime of woodworking.


After much experimentation, he hit on the idea of gilding the carved wooden trout with various metals to get the reflective brilliance of live fish. He knew he was onto something unique when he discovered the unusual effects when he applied acrylic paints over the metallic surface. However, at this point it was obvious that he would have to find a way to simulate a fish’s scaly texture before he could achieve their familiar iridescent coloration. That’s where the fabric comes in; by applying various loosely woven fabrics and netting before the gilding is applied Jim can create different size scales for larger and smaller fish.


And voila! The method was complete—the textured scales, the bright gilding and the acrylic paint, when all combined, give Jim the ability to reproduce the natural beauty and endless diversity of our native trout.