Once again the Saskatchewan
Wildlife Art Association organized an excellent show.
There was actually 18 months since the last show, as the SWAA
decided to move from an October date to April. The location was
the same as the last show-- the Saskatoon
Centennial Auditorium. The show, like the association members,
includes flat art, photography, and wood carving, and all the
pieces entered must relate to wildlife. This report, however,
will focus exclusively on the wood carvings. Since it is a competition,
I will also be presenting primarily the winning carvings in each
of the events and divisions. I will go through them in the order
in the program. My apologies in advance to all the carvers; my
images do not do justice to the excellent work that has been done
on all the pieces. The fluorescent lighting in the hall does not
lend itself to capturing the true colors of the pieces.
Feature Artist--Cam Merkle
Each year the show has a Feature Artist. This
year it was Cam Merkle, who has gone from carving as a
hobby to full-time professional carving and has now gone back
to it as a hobby. When he was heavily involved in competitions,
he carved mainly realistic life-size birds. Now that he is doing
it more for himself he prefers miniatures. However, he strives
to put as much detail in the miniatures as he does in a full size
bird (or fish). The reason that carving has become a hobby again
is that his manufacturing business, <http://www3.sk.sympatico.ca/razertip/>Razertip
Industries, has become so successful with its pyrography tools
and dust management system.
Cam Merkle with two of his carvings. The magpie is one of his favorite birds. He has done several in different poses including in flight. One of the reasons that he likes carving magpies is the challenge of getting the iridesence of their tail feathers. The other carving is a work in progress. It is a northern pike (or jackfish) attacking a school of perch.
Another miniature northern pike by Cam Merkle. The pike is usually considered to be undesirable because it is quite bony, but I understand it puts up quite a fight when on the line.
Cam is an excellent instructor and is very
knowledgable about wildlife in general. In a prior career, he
was a professional photographer, who did a lot of wildlife photos.
Every year he is one of the judges for the carving events.
And now for the carving competition!
There were two events for wood carvers: Bird Carving and Wildlife Sculpture. The Wildlife Sculpture event, however, also includes other media besides wood. Each event had a Best of Show as well as division and class categories. There were three levels of expertise in most divisions: open, intermediate, and novice. I have tried to be selective by choosing a wide range of subjects done by different carvers. Not all classes had entries, but in many cases I have chosen not to include class winner because their work has been included elsewhere. However, there are some omissions because the lighting or display did not allow me to adequately capture the piece. Overall, I think that the number of entries was down from previous years. However, there seemed to be more out-of-province entries from carvers who were new to me.
Event #1 Bird Carving
Division A: Decorative Lifesize Decoys (Flat Bottom)
This division had three classes; however there
were only entries in Class 1 Ducks
Bufflehead Drake by Larry Vanderhyde, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Third Best of Show Open and First in Class and Division
Ruddy Duck by Duane Bristow, Regina, SK
Best of Show Intermediate and First in Class and Division
Green Wing Teal by Ron Leontowicz, Saskatoon, SK
Best of Show Novice and First in Class and Division
Division B: Decorative Lifesize Bird Carvings
There were 3 classes in this division: 1) songbirds
2) birds of prey and 3) all other species. However, I was unable
to get satisfactory images of most of these entries.
by Jean Minaudier
St. Claude, Manitoba
Best of Show Open and First in Class and Division
This image does not do justice to the bird or the perch. The texturing on the feathers was remarkable. It made you want to stroke them to smooth out the ruffles. The perch was about 2 feet long, and was a very realistic dead branch.
Jean was also one of the judges. His critiques
are always very helpful to carvers looking to improve their technique
Division C: Decorative Miniature Bird Carvings
There are 3 classes in this division also:
i) Miniature Flat-Bottom Decoys, ii) Miniature Songbirds and iii)
Miniature all other species.
Blue Phase Snow Goose by Harvey Welch, Saskatoon, SK
First in Class Open and Second in Division
This was another beautiful bird by Harvey, whose work we will see more of later. For those of you unfamiliar with snow geese, most are pure white except for black wing tips. However, a few have a strikingly different coloration, known as blue phase. The front of a real bird does look bluish in the right light. The scanned image does not capture the subtle variations in browns and greys on the body.
by Glenn Maber
Sherwood Park, Alberta
First in Class Open
by Barb Mikaluk
First in Class and Division Novice
Division D: Traditional Hunting Decoys
This division is for working decoys. General
texturing is allowed, but no individual feather detailing is allowed.
There can be no loose or fragile parts. The first three classes:
i) Diving Ducks ii) Dabbling Ducks and iii) Geese and Confidence,
were judged floating on water. Class iv) Shorebirds were to be
mounted on a single wood or metal rod. There are no experience
levels in this division.
Black Scoter by Ray Minaudier, St. Claude, Manitoba
First in Class and Second in Division
Ray is Jean's father. Between the two of them, they have enough entries for a small show. This image does not show the contouring that gave proper shape to the body.
For Part Two click HERE.