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Here's My Woodcarving!

by David Tidwell
Columbia, SC

Click on any picture to see a larger version.

I am an army veteran of 36 years and am a self taught artist. I began painting while stationed at Ft. Benning, GA in 1967, where I was a trumpet player in the 291st army band. I found an artist canvas while cleaning the supply room and asked if I could have it. After that, I went into town in Columbus, GA and bought paint, brushes, and some instruction books on painting. After several small paintings the guys in the band asked if I would do a painting for them. The more I painted the more I liked it. I enrolled in the Famous Artist correspondents course and learned a lot under the guidance of a well-known artist. I continued painting, playing music, and I began entering art competitions.

In 1984, I had a federal duck stamp entry that caught the eye of the judges and prompted a call from Washington with compliments. I eventually had prints made of the painting and they have been sold in many states and countries, including Hawaii, Guam, Canada, Dominican Republic, and Russia. I continued to paint and sell prints of other paintings.

The painting that had a lot of influence on some of my carvings.
This is a painting I did for the federal duck stamp contest in
1984 of a wood duck, which is my favorite duck to carve.

Shortly after that I discovered the art of carving. While sitting on my front porch waiting for my wife and daughters to come home, I picked up a pine knot out of the yard and started whittling with my pocket knife and to my surprise carved the face of an old man. My daughter took it to school the next day and her teacher asked if she could have it. All the kids in her class wanted one so I bought enough pencils to carve faces on them for each classmate. This began my carving career.

I have entered many competitions and have have been blessed with a good many ribbons. I have had the privilege of meeting and talking to some well known artists while attending these competitions. A friend of mine who lives here is Grainger McKoy, a world known carver and sculptor. Grainger has helped me and influenced my carving tremendously.

I was accepted to the coveted Southeastern Wildlife Expo in Charleston, SC with my carvings. While preparing my carvings for the Expo I became very ill and was taken to the hospital. I had emergency exploratory surgery, where they found cancer. I've had surgery, been through chemo, experimental radiation, and continue to be treated at Duke University Hospital. The treatments have slowed down my carving a bit but I continue to do as much as possible. I don't travel to shows any longer, but I do commission work from my shop at home and have been blessed with a great following.

My latest woodcarving below is of a pair of wood ducks in a wetlands setting. I built the table and creative setting on it, then carved the pair of wood ducks, a dragon in the left foreground on a cypress knee and carved the cat tails. I made the water pockets with mirrors and acrylic resin.

Below is a stripped bass chasing a shad. Everything is carved out of tupelo wood:

The trumpet with the hummingbird below was completely carved out of wood:

Even more of my paintings and carvings can be seen below:

You can email David at .

Would you like to see your carvings in this column? We invite you to SEND US PHOTOS of your favorite woodcarving projects along with captions and a brief history of your woodcarving. (Email photos at 800x600 resolution.) Receive a $50 store gift card if we show your carving work in a future issue!

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