Woodcarver's Work High In Detail, Ideas Come From His Surroundings

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Woodcarver Forrest Wellington likes a challenge. Perhaps an extension of his love of action -- he named movement a "responsible pose" -- action is required to mount a challenge.

His latest piece consists of an Arabian mare and her baby under a tree. "I carved myself into a corner on that one," he said. But he's not worried.

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Forrest Wellington is a painter and woodcarver.

"Everything's fixable, you just got to come up with the idea."

Wellington's drawings, doused in detail, precede his carvings and his paintings. His ideas often derive from his surroundings, though he explained, "you get them wherever they come from."

One painting featured a "busted bronco rider" sitting on the ground with a broken leg, an orange superheroesque cloud overhead revealing his dream.

In the dream, the rider sat solid on the horse, a banner reading "Best in Universe" wrapped around him, and a No. 1 world championship cup floating nearby.

Wellington said the idea popped into his head while he watched a rodeo on television. The orange cloud came from a real life cloud Wellington spotted from his back porch.

The painting is his favorite. "It's all from my head and it was a challenge," he said.

Wellington jokes that when television is bad -- "and it's bad most of the time anymore" -- he sits down and forms an idea.

Not all painters can draw well, but Wellington said the worlds those painters create on canvas end up more impressionistic. "There are people who can't use a pencil to write their name but they can paint," he said. "But most of painting starts as an impression anyway."

Cowboys appear frequently in the canvas stories Wellington tells. So do horses.

"He was a vet for most of his life so he really knows the musculature of the animals," explained his wife, Bonnie.

Wellington said he started drawing as a kid, "probably I guess with pencils and crayons."

He graduated high school with a scholarship to an art school, but a war raged and Wellington was called.

"The Korean War didn't need any artists, so I went into medicine."

Wellington says he loves horses, he loves people, and he loves telling stories. Many of his stories splay out on canvas.

The sunroom in the back of Wellington's house is his show room. There paintings sit, scattered and propped, some color pencil but most acrylic, and several carvings, with wood as a canvas.

One wooden carving featuring a mustached prospector holding what looks like a coin, with cacti standing in the background would sell for $3,000, if Wellington were to sell it.

"That way I might get 50 cents an hour," he said.

Wellington said he doesn't market himself. No marketing means no selling. But if only the world could see.

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