Nick Mayer: Science as Art, and Art as Science

Wyoming Rainbow Trout
Paintings by Nick Mayer

Naturalist and artist Nick Mayer combines the observations of a scientist with the eye of an artist to create gorgeous fish paintings in his Lincoln, Vermont studio. His love of fly fishing, fly tying, fish art, and scientific illustration painting began very early in life. As a three-year-old boy in Michigan, he fished the Big Two-Hearted River with his dad, and eventually his passion for fishing developed into a career.

Bull Mahi Mahi

With undergraduate and graduate degrees in biology from Brown University and experience working for fish-and-game departments in Alaska and Oregon, Mayer brings passion, scientific understanding, and precision to his work, which he sees as an aid to studying and helping in the conservation of fish. His paintings of freshwater and saltwater species are portraits of a specific fish, rather than a generic example.

Beaver Pond Brook Trout

Mayer begins with the kinds of accurate scale placement and fin-ray counts expected in a scientific illustration, incorporates the colors carefully blended to be lifelike by a naturalist painter, and then adds the unique features of that particular fish—the trace of a small scar, a slight drop in the tail, or a split in a fin. Mayer’s latest venture is Caught on Watercolor: a project in which he paints one of a kind originals of clients’ trophy fish based upon photographs.

To see Mayer’s work, visit his website.

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