Neal Ator, Woodcarver
I have always had a love of wood and making things with it, probably from my Dad’s interest. So, woodcarving became a natural pursuit for me. I started off with simple low relief pictures and then moved on to three dimensional figures. I’ve tried relief, caricatures, chip carving, intaglio and bark carving. Each of these styles and techniques have their own challenges and rewards. As with most artists, I have more ideas, patterns and wood (moved multiple times) than I could ever hope to complete.
Many of my carvings are left natural to reveal the beauty of the wood grain, but for the caricatures I’ve been doing, I had to learn to paint. Fortunately I had the opportunity to study under Fern Henry, a local artist for many years and more recently Patty Rucker at the Coastal Bend woodcarving class. I’ve tried other art forms, but I just prefer the feel of wood. Woodcarving provides an endless choice of subjects and materials to use. Carvers typically use basswood, butternut, tupelo, cottonwood bark and found wood.