Art is in the eyes of the beholder

Art can be in the form of a pencil, paintbrush, or even a scroll saw. My husband and local artist, Murray Martin has been both an outdoor and political columnist for over half a century and his creations just keep getting bigger. Being a writer has its challenges, first and foremost is writer’s block, which every writer will go through at some point. 

Some 30 years ago, as a way of managing his writer’s block, Murray decided to go out to the garage, turn his scroll saw on with a blade that travels over a 100 miles per hours and just inches from your fingers, pick up a picture of a wolf, dog, duck or some other bird or animal and put the scroll blade to work.

Sometimes they start out as the size of a calling card and can soon become up to a size of a seven foot arbour truly taking shape becoming pieces of art. Once I saw him start with a couple of curved lines and it wound up being a bear sitting on the shore of a lake looking at the mountains on the other side.

Early one morning he was working on his book when I left for work, but when I had returned, there were bear and moose cutouts standing together as the backdrop of an outdoor wildlife park bench. He secured it to the back fence and added other cuttings over time.

Although remedying his writer’s block, it made him think about creating bigger and better pieces of art to tell a different kind of story. So 14 years ago, combining his love for wildlife, the outdoors and his wife to be, he cut out a beautiful arbour made from cedar under which we would stand and take our vows. To this day that arbour still stands in our back yard. Why stop there?

Murray seated at his handmade arbour. PHOTO: Lisa Martin

Three weeks ago Murray designed a new arbour, which had cuttings of big game animals such as moose, deer, and bears used as the side panels and tucked in the middle was a beautiful love seat to compliment the cuttings. Then his love of birds drew him to build a second arbour with the side panels cut into different types of birds.

Just recently he drew a picture of our Siberian husky and took it to the scroll saw and cut it out from cedar. It hangs on our wall, but I have a feeling that it, too, will soon be built into another beautiful arbour that will daunt our back yard. An artist’s challenge never ends and they always seem to go one step further.

I had asked him what was he going to create for Christmas and a big smile came upon his face, so no doubt you will see a few deer and a Santa Claus set up on our front lawn or across the roof of our house as the holiday rolls around.

Recently a neighbor asked Murray if he could cut one out with about a half dozen or more different dogs on it. Who knows what will be next in his scroll artistry imagination, maybe fish, airplanes, fancy cars or even dinosaurs?

Lisa Martin resides in the Yukon. She is a former Get Out Doors Youth Mentor and does radio commercial voiceovers.

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