The Native Fisherman
I love this painting of mine, when I visited Sri Lanka 13 years back it was economically stable and a very beautiful and scenic place to see. I saw many things but one image that made my day was Stilt fishing, this was transformed into a pen-pencil sketch, one day I want to turn it into a big canvas. Will explain to you about the painting and its origin.
A vertical pole with an attached crossbar is embedded into the sea floor along the riverbed. Then, the fishermen either stand or sit at the crossbar, while holding a rod to catch small mackerels and herrings that frequented the shallow water. The crossbar gave fishermen an elevated position above the seawater, resulting in minimal shadows that might cause disturbance to the sea life The origin of stilt fishing started in the 18th century; some villagers cannot afford to buy fishing boats. Some said the practice might have started during World War II when food shortages and overcrowded fishing spots prompted some clever men to try fishing on the water. This fishing technique requires simple equipment and is much more environmental-friendly than net fishing. This is partially why many believed that stilt fishing was created for environmental purposes. A fishing rod, a angled, and a stilt are used for fishing. Kitul wood is used to make bait sticks. First, the branches of the Kitul tree are broken off and dried in the sun. It is then heated over a fire and the rod is bent. Sturdy thread is used for the rope attached to the Kitul stick, which is up to 2 m in length. The shell of cutlet-fish is used as a mould to make the bait. The mould is then made from the billet shell, and the molten white lead liquid is poured into the mould. About 5 minutes after the end of the process, the bait shell can be removed from the mould. The special thing here is not to use bait and they only use lead angled for stilt fishing. Alastonian wood, reed pines and even galvanized wood stilt can also be used depends on the available resources. The most difficult task is to find shallow spot to put the stilt. Fishermen planted the sharply pointed ridges 5 – 8 cm depth. The fisherman then stands on the cross while fishing. The crossbar allows the fishermen to be seated a couple of meters above the water causing minimal shadows on the water and hence little to no disturbance amongst the sea life. The stilt fishermen then use a rod from this precarious position to bring in a good catch of spotted herrings and small mackerels from the comparative shallows of the sea or from the river. They collect the catch in a bag tied to the pole or to their waist. You might find skilled stilt-fishing artists at Mirissa beach, Hikkaduwa beach, and Unawatuna Beach. Now that there are fewer and fewer stilt fishermen, it is a rare opportunity to learn about this special technique. Stilt Fishing is one of the most interesting traditional fishing methods of Sri Lanka. The iconic images of fishermen perched on wooden stilts used to be seen all along the southern coast. Often sitting for hours at a time – one hand holding the stilt, the other holding the rod – the fisherman’s work is a remarkable act of patience, skill, balance, and endurance. The tradition is passed on from fathers to sons. Each year, however, fewer and fewer families practice the craft. The beautiful sight of fishermen perched on branched poles as they fish skilfully during dawn, noon, and dusk perfect subject to sketch & paint. Hope you all will love this painting after knowing the story.