Boyd McPeekWood Sculptor and Abstract Artist
I grew up as a farm kid in Clark County, SD and went to a one-room country school. Living in the country meant I often had to entertain myself with drawing, whittling and trying to build things without the right tools. As a farm kid I learned a lot about animals both domestic and wild. These experiences influence my Worry Wood animal sculptures.
Being an artist was a dream for me but I didnít know any working artists and the stories I read about starving artists made me think art was not practical. So I went to college and got a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the SD School of Mines & Technology. That lead to a safety engineering job and 30 years as a safety professional. A few years ago I switched professions and Iím now a process analyst in the bank services industry. I spend a lot of time on the computer, so working with wood is a stress reliever.
Although I never thought of myself as an artist, I continued to draw and make wood sculptures from driftwood. Then, a few years ago, I started making small wood sculptures that I could hold in my hand. I called them Worry Wood because I found myself twirling them on my finger when I was worried or stressed out.
A chance encounter at my favorite coffee house got me involved with the Artists League. A member of the League saw one of my Worry Wood pieces and encouraged me to exhibit them. I became a member of the Artist League and Iíve displayed my work at the Horse Barn Art Gallery in Sioux Falls, the Sioux Empire Fair and at several local galleries. I have been the president of the Artist League and have gotten to know many talented and interesting people.
I make two types of wood sculptures. The pieces I call Worry Wood start with a doodle in my sketch pad. When a shape looks promising, I use some of the drafting experience I got in college to make a pattern on paper. I cut out the pattern and check the shape of the silhouette. The silhouette shows how the piece is going to look when cut out of wood (without any shading or lines). If it looks good, I trace it on a 1x4, drill holes, cut it out, shape it and sand it to a smooth finish.
The second type of sculpture I do is the opposite of Worry Wood. I guess I could call it Found Wood. I hike along rivers where there are fallen trees and wood washed up in piles. I dig through the piles looking for unusual shapes or certain pieces that I know may have pretty grain patterns Ė like the hard rings that form where a large branch grows out of a tree trunk. When I get it home, I start cleaning off the rotten wood to see if there is anything worthwhile underneath (often there isnít!). I spend a lot of time turning the piece over trying to decide what it looks like. I try to decide on a concept and then shape and mount the piece to enhance the concept. Sometimes that works.
The only art training Iíve had was a drafting course in college (I worked as a draftsman for a time) and a community education watercolor class.
Besides wood sculpture I do SVG (computer) drawings of abstract shapes, letter art (using the letters in an animalís name to create the animalís shape) and logos.