Iím a member of the New England Woodcarvers Association, the National Woodcarvers Association, The Affiliated Wood Carvers Ltd. I have been gifted with many artistic interest and talents, but my strongest desire and passion is in the venue of sculpture, which includes many styles and subjects. I truly enjoy the challenge and the warmth of sculpture in wood. I do custom wood carvings and commissioned work in many different styles and sizes and with many types of wood, from highly detailed eye catching miniatures to larger than life chain saw sculptures.
With Godís gift of patience, I realize that itís often the little details that bring to life, and almost give breath, to an otherwise lifeless sculpture. A background in taxidermy, (another hobby) which I first began at the age of 15 gave me good knowledge of anatomy for wildlife carvings, while many countless hours spent observing and filming wild life helped me put life back in my mounts and art works.
All my works are originals of my own ideas. I believe God has blessed me with a creative mind and great patience, as I try to capture mood, poise and expression to bring my creations to life. I am as excited and fascinated at what my hands are creating as anyone. I have from the time I was a small child been fascinated with sculpture. I have had very little exposure to the arts while growing up and even now. The bulk of my fascination of sculpture and artwork in both architecture and statuary was seen in or around churches. I feel Iím just scratching the surface of what can be done in sculpture and wood carving.
Creativity comes easy as life itself and nature are so full of wonders yet to be seen or captured by the artistís touch. Or to release one own interpretive view of any subject opens the door to numerous possibilities.
I have now been carving about 5 years, with no woodcarving or formal art training of any sort
I'm pretty much self taught. In the last four plus years Iíve received numerous awards for my works at wood carving and wildlife art shows around New England and New York in several different categories. My first year in the open/advanced level of competition was in 1994. I received over fifteen blue ribbons, several Best of Class awards, two Best of Shows, two Second Best and one Third Best.
In 1995 and 1997, Iíve received the best in sculpture awards at the Westfest Arts Festival in Westfield, MA., (I didnít compete in 1996). I was selected to display my works with over two hundred of the finest wildlife artists in the country and elsewhere at the Hudson River Wildlife Festival held in Kingston, NY..
I have now competed at the 1995, 1996 and 1997 International Wood Carvers Congress, a world class competition, with over five hundred total entries and numerous categories held in Davenport, Iowa each year. I have been honored there with over seventeen awards, six being first place awards, as well as several honorable mentions.
Several of my carvings and stories have been in "Chip Chats", the National Wood Carvers Association magazine, (Nov.-Dec. 1994), as well as club news photos from various shows. Four of my carvings have been featured on the cover of the New England Wood Carver's Newsletter Magazine.
I and my wife Wendy live in Athol, Mass. with our four children Jennifer, Bethany, Devan, and Emily.
Eventually, France introduced his carving colleague to Chip Chats magazine and the New England Wood Carvers association.
"You know, itís kind of funny that I never knew there were such things as carving clubs, organizations or shows when I started my first piece", Mark says. "I have since become a member of both NWCA and NEWC, and have been blessed with the nicest, helpful, friendliest company of folk I ever met at shows and meetings and such, both in fellow carvers and the general public attending these events. Iíve been so encouraged, inspired and challenged by these folks, all eager to share their knowledge." "I really donít know where else one can go and feel so comfortable in a room full of people all carrying knives and gouges."
Mark has always been artistic, being blessed with "an eye for detail and Godís gift of patience to work out a piece to its potential." But at the time of "Descending White Tail," his first in-the-round woodcarving, he had no idea how far he could go with this new medium.
Well, in just two years he has gone quite far, and the end is not in sight. Shortly after finishing his second carving-an elephant commissioned by another co-worker-Mark was invited in February of 1993 to display his carvings (all two of them) at a May art show in the Morris Studio Gallery in Athol. In the two months before the show he completed two more pieces-a little girl picking up a kitten, and an eagle carved in pipestone-still using his modified scalpel. "I did have to make a couple new cutting tools to do ĎBe gentle with the Kitty,í "Mark says.
It was at this show that he met Richard Roth, author of Carving Fish & Pond Life.
"Rick was, and still is, truly an encouragement to me," Mark says of the man who eagerly shared his expertise and techniques. "He encouraged me to compete in shows and said not to miss Cromwell, CT.".
Mark took the advice. In October of 1993 he participated in his first competition, the New England Woodcarving & Wildlife Art Expo in Cromwell. After entering four carvings in four categories, he and his brother toured the exhibits, observing "thousands of excellent carvings of nearly every type of bird and numerous fish and wildlife, human figures, etc." When the judging was done, Mark returned to find six ribbons attached to his carvings.
"I couldnít believe it, I was totally overwhelmed. I bought some more wood and returned home one happy camper, or should I say happy carver!"
In the months that followed, Mark entered shows in Bedford, Mass., Johnstown., NY, and Mystic, CT., and went home with an impressive display of ribbons.
"Well, it seems like glory has fallen out of the sky on me. I would have to say this, I am as excited and fascinated at what my hands are creating as anyone. I have from the time I was a small child, been fascinated with sculpture, always wanting to do and admiring the works of ones like MichelAngelo.
"And no, I am certainly not he. I am what I am by the grace and gift of God to aspire not to the likes of another, but to be myself and use the gifts within to honor Him with my own creativity in the bounds of His will. I can, I believe, do no better than that."
All his works are original creations of his own ideas. And even though all the awards And ribbons are "an honor and a treat," Mark does not carve for them, although he does feel they lend credit to credentials as an artist.
And yes, Mark does have a few carving tools now, and he finds they make the task much easier. But his philosophy is "itís not what you have to use that counts most, but how you use what youíve got."
All of the earliest hand held pieces I've created were 100% hand carved with knives and gouges. I now use power together with hand tools, some serious power in the roughing out of my larger works by chainsaw. I also use a Fordom woodworker's tool, mostly in the early roughing, though not exclusively. But the final finishing of probably over 85% of ALL my carvings are done by hand for best control, being that I really like working closely with the knives, gouges and such the most!Always carving...