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Artist Statement

Recreating the beauty of Nature through wood sculpture is a combination of artistic elegance and simplicity of design. Since the early 1980's I have worked professionally at this art form, beginning with different styles of decoys and expanding to include realistic songbirds, birds of prey, fish ,and interpretive wood sculpture.

I work primarily with cedar, basswood or tupelo, although interpretive pieces have been designed from burls, cherry and walnut. Using both acrylic and oil paints, I employ a variety of techniques such as combing to simulate vermiculations, stippling to diffuse light and also provide texture, airbrush techniques to create iridescence, highlights and shadows, as well as detailed handpainting of feather details.

The artistry of a piece involves its design and composition. Of all the concerns in carving, artistry is the most elusive - the most difficult to explain, to teach, to analyze in the work of others, and to instill in one's own work. But this difficulty is an indication of its importance. What is rare is often valuable. Bird carving requires a multitude of technical skills. Additionally, it requires a thorough knowledge and understanding of birds, scientifically as well as emotionally. Most importantly, it involves the ability to bring all of these elements together artistically.

The art form of wood sculpture is not two dimensional. Each piece is done in the round and designed to be pleasing from all angles. The overall presentation of sculptured pieces includes a base and habitat which create both a story and a mood. Decoys are carved with a history of function but also with an importance of form. In decoys, the pose alone, while capturing the essence of the species, can tell a story or create mood. The finished piece viewed from different angles or in different light often conveys many meanings. Line, form, content, color, mass and movement work together to create an integrated whole.

Fred Dolan Fine Wildfowl Carving
161 Barn Door Gap Road • Strafford, NH 03884
603.269.5221 •