The Process – “Big Wins!”
People ask me about the creative process, and in this section I’ll try to provide some insight into what goes in to it for me.
One thing that artists hopefully do is render how they see the world in such a way that others can connect with their visions and feelings. Most of my artistic endeavors revolve around birds. That is because the natural world has been such a strong influence on me since childhood. And birds are a vital part of the natural world wherever one travels. Their adaptation to diverse environments, their ability to evolve as conditions change, their songs, their splashes of color, their keen senses of sight, hearing and smell, their ability to fly, (the list goes on) help me to deepen my appreciation of nature. With my art, I hope to stimulate others in their appreciation of the wonders of the natural world.
The interpretive style attracts me because it leaves a lot for the viewer to add to the piece. This is especially effective when trying to depict the wonder of flight. The ability of birds to float, swoop and dive through the atmospheric vapors is a wonder. When watching ravens playing by flying toward the top of the Grand Teton and then repeatedly tucking their wings and roaring down thousands of feet to Amphitheater Lake after just clearing the ridge I was climbing, I try to see the air currents. The first high speed dive nearly caused whiplash as I tried to follow the noise that suddenly caused me to know that the mountains contained more of interest than just the rock I was trying to climb. The swirling grain in redwood and cedar helps me imagine the swirling molecules that were disturbed by the passing bird. I explore the illusion of motion using carved and found wood, forged metal and sculpted rock.
In my art, I use a variety of styles, tools and materials. Some of my pieces are what the bird carving community call decoratives. The birds appear to be realistic imitations of real birds with all of the feathers in place and the colors just right. Another group of carvings are called interpretives. Not all of the information is put into the piece. There may be little or no paint, detail or realism. The viewer can interpret from their experiences and feelings what might be happening in the piece. In many of my pieces I have tried to capture the illusion of motion. By creating the illusion of moving air currents or the blur of flapping wings, the details of the birds are replaced with the feeling of how the bird affects its environment.