Trout watercolour painting by Jason Bordash

Jason Bordash’s angler art is a flourish of colour in what may be thought of as simply a colourscape, a painting celebrating colour, even as a landscape celebrates land, a seascape celebrates the ocean or as a spacescape celebrates space. The issue is that he paints fish, more often than not, and a fish’s beauty is not an easy thing for most folks to see, let alone capture on canvas. It’s not really found in a fish’s face or in its pose or its expression. A fish’s beauty is found it is magnificence of colour, and it is, perhaps, that quality of the fish that draws Jason Bordash to paint this underappreciated animal so beautifully on his canvases.

Bordash is essentially, a self taught artist. In his own words, I have not been formally educated in the use of a paint brush or any other form of art. It has been a long road of trial and error, success and disappointment. My career as a serious artist started around 2009. I was challenged by an old friend to paint a watercolour of a brook trout that he caught in an Alpine Lake in the Cascade Mountains. When I completed the painting and seen [sic] his reaction, that’s when I knew I wanted to take the path of becoming a better artist and painter.

world-class fishing magazine, De Nederlandse Vilegvisser (The Dutch Fly Fisherman)

world-class fishing magazine, De Nederlandse Vilegvisser (The Dutch Fly Fisherman)

Now, let’s take a moment to be certain we understand this point. Bordash didn’t just learn to draw, as with pencil, which would be remarkable on its own. He learned—on his own—to paint! This is a skill that, typically, striving artists begin to study after several years of perfecting their drawing skills. But then, not only does he learn to use colour, but he learned to use watercolour, which, according to my own limited experience with trying to paint, is the most challenging to use and accomplish anything of quality. But Bordash doesn’t stop there. His artwork has been featured in the world-class fishing magazine, De Nederlandse Vilegvisser (“The Dutch Fly Fisherman”). Clearly, Jason Bordash is an artist of exquisite talent!

As an Outdoors artist, Jason Bordash has thus far focused on three main types of art. The first focuses on the beauty and elegance of the fish itself. There are several of his paintings below, but the first two images are a photograph and then Bordash’s interpretation of that photo on canvas. His skill becomes clear. Bordash is not afraid to interpret them, bringing out aspects and components that seem to drive the work on an emotional level as well as emphasizing the pure aesthetics of the colour of the animal! The colours are vibrant and the blending, that I find so terribly difficult with watercolour especially, is executed with great finesse! Click any image to enlarge in slideshow.

On a personal note, while I am thoroughly impressed with Bordash’s work, his subject matter for me seems less charming than other forms of nature art. I prefer, for example, to see the panthers of Robert Bateman’s work, or his rabbits or birds. But, what Bordash’s work has lost in charm for me solely because of the subject matter, he makes up for in the magnificence of powerful colour. These fish portraits are potent in their own way.

Bordash also expresses himself in the art of the lure. I’m not a fisherman and understand little of the difference or reasons between fishing with a worm on a hook and using these lures, but I can, nonetheless, appreciate Bordash’s affection for their expressive colour, which Bordash, whose use of colour is so impressive, captures magnificently on canvas. They seem as much alive as they do utilitarian; the hook seems as though it’s a stinger and the feathers seem like wings. With Bordash’s work, I can see the lure through the eyes of the fish and understand, for the first time in my 54 years, how and why they work: they are no less visually alive than the dragonfly that lights on the water’s surface.

Finally, Bordash captures on canvas some stunning landscape / seascape composites that focus on the fisherman. He hasn’t made many of these, but of those I have seen, Bordash captures tremendous mood. Viewers can feel the salt-sea spray, the frigid air and the moisture around them. They can hear the waves of the ocean, the seagulls in the distance, and other sounds that seem muted by the waves and the density of the air in the way that sound is muted by freshly fallen snow. It’s fascinating!

I like to think of Jason Bordash as the Robert Bateman of the earth’s various water worlds. He does with sea creatures all that Bateman does with land creatures in colour, expression and emotion. He’s only been painting for seven years, give or take, so there is much more for this fine artist to explore on canvas, and that gives art lovers much more to look forward to from this artist. The world of art is still, after centuries of “in the making,” just coming into its maturity. Jason Bordash is part of that. And, what parents think when they see their children entering adulthood is what viewers can think regarding Bordash: What great things are there yet to come?

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