<font color="#808080">KERR, Robert G.</font>

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ROBERT G. KERR
(
1935 - )

Bob Kerr has been carving and perfecting his technique for nearly forty years.  His early introduction came in the early 50's when he carved decoys for hunting.  In 1960, thinking he knew a lot about carving, he attended a decoy competition in Syracuse, New York.  He came away from the show realizing that he still had much to learn.  Encouraged rather than exasperated, he went home a determined man.

When Kerr became involved with carving, the field's popularity was still very young.  The carvers of that time had very unique, personal styles.  Kerr feels this is something the last twenty years has taken away from carving.  With the growing popularity, distinctiveness has given way to what the market demands.  He feels many carvers, inspired by recent advent of "how to" books, are technically adept and can render very lifelike subjects but lack the unique approach and the creative fire that actually brings a work to life.  For Kerr, trial and error, not trends, have gotten him to his present creative forte and he's not finished yet.

He researches all his subjects as thoroughly as he is able, making use of many sources.  He is well aware of the anatomy of the birds he carves and uses this knowledge to reconstruct not only the physical features but also the natural positioning of the bird.  Other sources he uses are artists' renditions, photos, study skins and mounts, and personal observation.  When in doubt about a particular feature, he combines information from all these sources, establishes the consistencies, and from there decides how to proceed.

Kerr begins a piece by doing numerous study sketches of his subjects, which are either miniature or lifesize.  On paper and in his imagination he considers the piece from all angles to insure the proportions are correctly established and every aspect is structurally and visually accurate.  he then transfers the sense of his final sketches directly into the wood.

Starting with a piece of basswood or cedar (for larger works) or tupelo (for smaller subjects or features such as wings), Kerr cuts the wood and hollows out both halves of the body.  Hollowing reduces the chances of the wood cracking or splitting.

The vast majority of his detailing is done in the painting stage.  Kerr has a very distinctive, meticulous style.  Generally, he works with acrylics, a fast drying medium that doesn't led itself to the blending of color.  Therefore, Kerr achieves his depth and intensity of color through the application of many layers of paint.  He sometimes uses a hair-dryer to speed the drying process.  Generally, the richness of the color shines through, bringing the bird to life.














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