Cowboy caricature: Whittle the Wood Stump 3’s Jim Valentine adds Western theme to list of ever-changing carving subjects
The traditional depiction of the American cowboy is chiseled features with a grizzled finish. Whittle the Wood carver Jim Valentine took those usual expectations and went in a somewhat different way.
At Stump 3 of the 20th annual carving contest, Valentine utilized exaggerated aspects of the usual buckaroo to craft “Buckshot Bill,” his entry for the competition.
The resident of Midvale, Utah near Slat Lake City said he wanted to stay true to the spirit of Craig while also having some fun with it.
“I love coming out in this neck of the woods, and cowboys are all about Colorado. I took a caricature carving course for using small tools,” he said.
Valentine noted the only inauthentic part of the somewhat goofy-looking Western figure was his smile.
“I think his teeth are a little too white. I should have put some yellow in there,” he laughed.
The cowboy carving is another in a line of ever-changing features Valentine has done across his five years at Whittle the Wood, including a fairy-tale cottage, a doomed Boy Scout, a soaring eagle, and a seascape, always willing to take on new topics.
“I like to change it up from year to year,” he said. “An artist is his own worst critic, and every year you look at your work and say, ‘oh, I should have done this, should have done that.'”
Valentine noted that this year in particular was a standout in his mind. While he didn’t finish with any awards, he said the music of Leftover Salmon made this WTW a memorable one.
“It’s almost like a vacation for me,” he said.
Following the Memorial Day weekend, one of Moffat County’s signature events will be continuing into the summer.