Earl Alford has “whittled” all of his life, but it wasn’t until 1993 that he decided to carve a fish. It was fashioned after a picture of a rainbow trout featured on a tee shirt. Since he did not have “carving” wood, he used a piece of 2″ x 4″ pine. The minute details of the fish were done from memory. Although it was pretty crude, he was hooked. He purchased some basic tools and started carving in earnest. All of his pieces, including rocks, grass, and bugs, are made of wood. He uses basswood because it works down to a smoother surface. He paints by brush only, using acrylics, and then applies a finish coat of lacquer. He says the painting was the hardest part to learn, especially the layering of colors. He had no formal training and at first it was trial and error. Earl says that each new species is a challenge to paint, but one he welcomes.
Earl was born and raised in Yakima, Washington, and grew up fishing for trout in the Cascade Mountains. Even then he was amazed at the brilliant colors of the various trout species. He and his wife, Carol, live in a mountain community on the Western Slope of Colorado.
You can find Earl’s wood sculptures in Colorado’s own Gunnison Gallery.