What started out as an interest in the outdoor life as a boy, has turned into and interesting and challenging career. I was fortunate as a child to have a father who enjoyed the outdoors, and who often took me hunting and fishing with him. also had an uncle in Collingwood who was a real outdoorsman and taught me about fishing for Brook Trout in the streams. He was also a bird watcher who started my interest in birds. I often thought that life couldn't get any better.
When I moved to Lake of Bays in the 1960's, it was like paradise to me. I feel lucky to have the "incredible jewel" of Algonquin Park so close. Through the years working in Lake of Bays and Algonquin Park, I met many wonderful people who saw the direction I was going with the bird carving, and offered support and encouragement. One of the people who had an influence on how I saw carving, the appreciation for birds, and the beauty of the natural world was a famous Algonquin Park resident named Esther Keyser. Esther was the first woman guide in the park, a "real artist" and a great observer of nature.
Algonquin Park is a blessing for those of us who enjoy trout fishing, and has provided inspiration for the direction I've taken with my Brook Trout sculptures. When you are paddling a canoe in Algonquin, fishing for trout in the morning, the bird song is overpowering. As a result I have carved many varieties of warblers, which return to Algonquin in the spring. My wildlife art has taken many different directions, the largest piece being a life-sized beaver for a natural diorama. Other large projects include a flying Peregrine Falcon, diving after its prey, and a life-sized Snowy Owl.
Over the years doing this work the Ruffed Grouse, American Kestrels and various warblers have been a big part of my work. I have done many blue birds, king fishers, loons, orioles, cardinals, chickadees, nuthatches, gold and purple finches, blue jays, rose breasted grosbeaks, and many species of Ontario ducks. An interest in ducks and shore birds has me carving many waterfowl pieces. I like old wooden duck decoys, and have carved many working decoys for people who love to keep this duck hunting tradition alive.
These are just some of the things that make my field of work interesting and satisfying. I feel fortunate to be able to work and live in this area, reproducing some of nature's beauty in wood and paint.
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