Jim Maas, a retired Northeast Kingdom Vermont Physician, received three 1st place championship ribbons for his Wild Turkey carving at the 2006 Ward World Wildfowl Championships in Ocean City, MD. The carving took 1st prize in the Intermediate Category of Upland Game Birds and the Intermediate Division of Miniatures. It also won Intermediate Best of Show, judged as the number one piece of all entries in the Intermediate class.
Jim was born in Susquehanna, Pennsylvania on July 27, 1945. Though an art enthusiast throughout his life, it took 25 years of work as an Orthopedic Surgeon in the small community of Newport, Vermont to realize his calling as an artist. His local high school only offered art classes to the freshman class, so Jim expressed his creativity by pursuing several different artistic hobbies through college, post-graduate studies and the first several years of private practice in Newport. His past endeavors included watercolor, pen and ink, photography, and clay sculpture.
It was not until 1998 that Jim found his true passion in the form of bird carving after happening across one of Master Carver Floyd Scholz‘s pieces, on display in the lobby of a Vermont hotel. The magnificent rendering of a falcon perched on a glove inspired Jim to pursue the study of bird carving under Mr. Scholz at his training institute. In addition to attending six annual seminars with Mr. Scholz, the most recent being invitation only workshops for advanced carvers, he has also recently studied under Larry Barth, another Master Carver who has won 1st place in the World Division at the Ward Museum World Championships six times in recent history. This year Jim furthered his exploration of the art form under Pat Godin, a Canadian carver who has won numerous World Championships . He recently has begun painting in oils and is studying with Keith Mueller, a World Champion carver who likes to push the envelop of the art form . Continued research and study is an important part of Jim’s growth as a carver of fine art.
He has recently become interested in attempting to capture the beauty of ducks and has studied with Pat Godin and attended seminars with Tom Matus and Del Herbert at the recent World Championships.
Jim uses his practiced surgeon’s capability for fine hand-eye coordination to expertly capture the realism that is so vital in the field of competitive bird carving. Of equal or greater importance to this genre, however, is a sensibility for discovering meaningful, artistic statements within these realistic depictions of avian life. It is this awareness for the beauty of the natural world of birds that has helped Jim to create many award-winning carvings. The study of anatomy in carving, as in surgery, is also important. In competition, misplaced feathers are cause for failure.
Jim favors tupelo, a soft wood native to Tupelo, Mississippi for his birds. His bases are made from basswood, walnut, or cherry. Competition pieces are required to be entirely handmade, except for the eyes. This includes the habitat the bird might be in. Therefore, all branches, leaves, flowers, rocks and other elements of setting are completely handcrafted, as well. Jim follows this procedure for all of his pieces. He uses a variety of painting techniques and tools to bring life to his carefully fashioned carvings.
His work has been honored at the following competitions: Northeast Wildlife Art Show in Morrisville, VT, Ward Museum World Championship Wildfowl Carving Competition in Ocean City, Maryland, and the Concours Quebecois d’Sculpture Oiseaux in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. In addition, his carvings have been on display at the Chris Murray Studio Workshop in Stowe, North Country Hospital in Newport, VT and at the Community National Bank in Newport, Vermont.
Photographs of Dr. Maas’ peregrine, red tail hawk and kestrel were recently published as part of a gallery of photos in Denny Rogers’ new reference book, The Illustrated Birds of Prey, published 2007, Fox Chapel Publishing Co. Inc.
His Canvasback rendition has been selected for inclusion in the 34th Annual Wild Wings Fall Festival Original Art Show and Sale in Lake City , MN, 2007. This show has been awarded the “Best Outdoor Show” by a national art publication.
For more information, visit Jim’s website at www.birdsinwood.com where one can browse, email the artist regarding questions and commissions, or view which pieces are currently on display at various galleries.