Ben Keyes' Profile

About

I have been carving birds for only two years, but have watched and drawn birds for most of my life.
I am continually amazed at the diversity of bird life (even in cold New England) and at the beauty and intricacy to be found even in the most 'common' of birds; from how they move and behave, to the contours of their bodies to the details of every feather. This diversity and detail is all to often lost on us unless we are actively looking for it. For example, most people have no idea that there are so many varieties of songbird until they get a bird feeder. Getting a bird feeder seems to be a valuable step in developing ‘eyes to see’ what was there all along. Art can also serve the same purpose by demanding that we stop and look for a moment and see things differently. My hope is that, even in a small way, my bird carvings will cause people to stop and wonder a bit more about birds. Carving them has certainly…

Read more

  • Male
  • Joined January 21, 2012

Favorite materials

basswood, pine, dowels, wire, acrylic paint

About

I have been carving birds for only two years, but have watched and drawn birds for most of my life.
I am continually amazed at the diversity of bird life (even in cold New England) and at the beauty and intricacy to be found even in the most 'common' of birds; from how they move and behave, to the contours of their bodies to the details of every feather. This diversity and detail is all to often lost on us unless we are actively looking for it. For example, most people have no idea that there are so many varieties of songbird until they get a bird feeder. Getting a bird feeder seems to be a valuable step in developing ‘eyes to see’ what was there all along. Art can also serve the same purpose by demanding that we stop and look for a moment and see things differently. My hope is that, even in a small way, my bird carvings will cause people to stop and wonder a bit more about birds. Carving them has certainly made me stop and look in a more focused way.

My approach to bird carving so far is one of abbreviation and suggestion rather then meticulous detail. I pay attention to the overall shape of each bird and the postures or ‘attitudes’ that the specific species has when seen in the wild. As a result, my carvings attempt to capture something of the birds behavior; characteristic poses etc. As much as possible my carvings try to suggest movement, because as anyone knows who has watched or photographed birds, they almost never stand perfectly still. I do not go to great lengths to carve and paint every fiber of every feather. First of all this is beyond my skill as a wood carver! But even if this was not so, attention to every feather would not (in my view) bring me any closer to capturing the essence of what a bird is; which is something more or at least ‘other’ than the sum total of its anatomy.

Enjoy.

Unfollow username?

Are you sure you want to stop following this person?