Whiskey Painters, Cuyahoga Falls wildfowl carver, featured at Cuyahoga Valley Art Center

By April Helms | Special Products editor Published:

Guests at the Cuyahoga Valley Art Center in Cuyahoga Falls can get a closeup of a variety of birds. A red-tailed hawk. A goldfinch. A kestral. A cardinal. All look as if they could fly off their various perches and take to the air.

But each of these birds -- and the items they sit on -- are carved from wood in amazing detail by Cuyahoga Falls resident Tom Baldwin.

"This guy here took me about six months to do," said Baldwin, referring to the lifesized model of the red-tailed hawk. "The biggest issue is he's so darn big," he added and laughed.

Baldwin said he has done wildfowl carvings for many years.

"I started back in the 80s, but I had to drop it for about 16 years," he said. "I started a business and raised a family."

The art form evolves from decoys used in hunting, Baldwin added.

"We learned about decoys from the Native Americans," he said. "They didn't use decoys in Europe, so this can be seen as an indigenous art form. This eventually morphed to include other types of birds."

Baldwin said that there "is quite a strong movement for this." He said he recently returned from the Canadian National Wildfowl competition, and plans to enter the World Championships in Ocean City, Maryland.

In addtion to Baldwin's wildfowl carvings, which can be seen in the Artist's Cafe, The Whiskey Painters of America has its 32nd annual show of whiskey paintings on display.

Jack Mulhollen, president of WPA and a Silver Lake resident, said that there are about 35 artists and about 240 paintings in the show.

"It's got some spectacular things," Mulhollen said of the show. "We have some newer painters this year; they are getting better all the time."

Ron Beahn, board chair, said that he was "really impressed with the quality of the show."

"It's exciting they have this type of participation," he said. "There is such a wide variety of art. There is something for everyone."

Both exhibits can be seen through May 2.

For details on Baldwin's work, visit www.songofwood.com. For details on the Whiskey Painters of America, visit www.whiskeypainters.org.

The Cuyahoga Valley Art Center is at 2131 Front St. in Cuyahoga Falls. For details, visit www.cvartcenter.org, or call 330-928-8092.

Email: ahelms@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9438

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