Sykesville carver to show art in Waterfowl Festival


November 11, 1997|By Sherry Graham | Sherry Graham,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

THE WATERFOWL FESTIVAL in Easton will display the work of about 450 wildlife artists from around world, and none finer than the creations of Sykesville resident Al Burk.

Burk creates realistic carvings of birds. The iridescent colors on his mallards and the delicate gray-blue hues of his doves captivated me when I visited his home studio. The birds were so realistic that I was sure I would catch one moving.

"Some carvers paint their birds with an eye more toward the decorative," Burk said. "I try to make my painting as realistic as possible."

To create that effect, Burk often turns to his impressive collection of sketches, photographs and slides that are kept close at hand. Many photographs were shot by Burk.

"When I'm working on a bird, I like to have as many views as possible to work with. I like to see him from many angles and in several different types of lighting. That way I can really know what I'm aiming for," Burk said.

Burk's painting and coloring techniques are among the skills that have brought him acclaim in wildlife artistry. He was awarded the prestigious Ed Burns Award for best overall display at the Waterfowl Festival last year.

So lifelike are his carving of delicate feathers that people often stroke them and are surprised to find that they are carved wood. Each feather is carved and individually feathered with a wood- burning tool.

"People are always asking if they can touch the birds," Burk laughed. "They often don't realize that the oils from their fingers leave a sheen on the paint."

Burk's desire to have his carvings as close to the real thing as possible has been so strong that he created a pond and small aviary in his backyard. His proximity to Piney Run also has provided him with a variety of fowl to study.

Burk has been carving for 18 years, and this year marks the 17th time he has participated in the Waterfowl Festival. The juried show includes only the most talented in painting, carving, sculpture, photography and decoys.

Nearly 20,000 visitors are expected at the Easton Waterfowl Festival on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Information: 410-822-4567.

Holiday craft shows

Several churches and schools will hold holiday craft shows throughout November and December. Here are three that are held this weekend:

The Instrumental Music Boosters at Liberty High School will hold a Pre-Holiday Craft Show from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the school, 5855 Bartholow Road, Eldersburg. The show features more than 150 vendors. Admission is $1 for ages 12 and older. No strollers are permitted in the school.

Information: Jill Pizzillo, 410-795-6855.

Holy Spirit Lutheran Church will have a craft fair from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday in the church's multi-purpose facility at 2205 Old Liberty Road. Plenty of crafts, decorations and baked goods will be sold. Admission is free.

Information: 410-795-6333.

St. Barnabas Church hosts a Country Fair from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday in the Parish House on Main Street in downtown Sykesville. The event features a farmers' market, bake shop, Christmas crafts and collectibles. A chicken salad platter will be sold from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission is free.

Information: Tiny Sheridan at 410-795-0767 or Linda Greenberg, 410-442-1810.

Lions' Pride

The Lions' Pride Marching Band of Liberty High School scored 94.45 in the Atlantic Coast Championship in Scranton, Pa., last weekend and tied for second place in Group III with Clearview High School from Clearview, Pa.

The second-place finish is the highest ever attained by a Maryland high school band in that competition.

Liberty also received a special award for the best woodwinds in Group III.

Pub Date: 11/11/97

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