Sunday, July 24, 2011

Greg Jones: Carver of Birds

In my last posting, I showcased the bird paintings of my friend, Greg Jones. When I first met Greg, he was experimenting carving slate, which is a rather unforgiving medium.

Blue Heron

Greg preferred carving wood, and exhibited his wood carvings in shows and galleries around the country. I'm so glad he documented these pieces, so that I can share them with you.

Future Flights of the Phoenix

These two pieces, Future Flights of the Phoenix and Soaring, as well as Eagle, below, were carved in mahogany. Greg's signature style has been to carve motion, as well as the bird.


Unison Call
In this piece, Greg depicted two cranes going through a ritual of unison calling. One rises to call as the other lowers, and then they repeat the call in reverse. This is what mahogany looks like when it's bleached.

Spring, a carving of two egrets, was one of Greg's most popular carvings, and he produced a number of variations.

Mark D. Ruffner  |  St. Petersburg Times  |  2001
Ten years ago, I was asked to design a cover for a Times Christmas gift guide. The newspaper wanted the design to suggest a "Florida holiday," so my solution was to use red and green in this manner, putting the warm colors in the foreground and cool, Florida colors in the background. The focal point is Greg's egrets, a quintessential Florida view, and the one element that really makes this piece pop.

Today, Greg Jones has retired from wood carving, but he continues to paint.

Every artist benefits from a trusted friend who will give honest and insightful critiques, and over the years, I've been lucky to have Greg as that voice for me.


  1. What a wonderful painter & carver of birds your friend Greg is. He has the ability to make the wood flow with movement. I love your design cover for a Times Christmas gift guide, it makes me think of the holidays we have taken on Anna Maria Island.

  2. Hello Mark:
    Previously we were amazed at Greg's paintings. Now we are absolutely astounded at the carved pieces, which are wonderful. To be able to capture that movement, as you point out, in wood is truly remarkable and reflects not only Greg's skill as a carver but also his unerring eye. We are genuinely in awe and do, please, pass on to him our deeply felt admiration for his work.

    And the Times cover is such an imaginative amalgam.

  3. Hi, Rosemary - I'm glad you enjoyed both the carvings and the cover. The holiday cover was designed with Greg's egrets in mind.

  4. Hello Jane and Lance - I'll certainly convey your appreciation to Greg. Better yet, I'll be sure he sees the comments.

  5. I especially like that first relief, so classic! Unison call is very lovely as well! Fine artist!

  6. Hi, Paul - Looking at Unison Call and the other sculptures, one can see the consideration that Greg Jones puts into the negative spaces, as well as the carvings themselves.

  7. Your friend Gregg is an amazingly wonderful artist, Mark. Thank you for sharing his carving work with us. I love both his paintings and his sculpture.

    He does a beautiful job of capturing motion. Just gorgeous. He makes the wood soar.

    The Eagle has an art nouveau feel to it - doesn't it?

    A true Renaissance man.

  8. Hi, Yvette - I'm glad you've enjoyed both postings of Greg's work! The eagle does have the feel of Art Nouveau, doesn't it. I look at it and the other carvings and am conscious of great balance.

  9. Wow. What a talented artist. I am drawn to paintings and LOVE his. However, the carvings are exquisite and you are so right in pointing out that Greg captures the movement of the birds as well as the form of the actual bird. I am in awe of artists who are this skilled - thank you for sharing.

  10. Beautifully presented. There's something very peaceful in the graceful shapes of Greg's work.

  11. Hi, HCH Girl - High praise from someone who features so many great artists on her site! I've always enjoyed your choices.

  12. Hi, Michael - I think you're right about the peaceful quality of Greg's sculptures. In the sculptures of the cranes and egrets especially, he captures a moment in time.

  13. I love the bleached mahogany - what a beautiful look!!

  14. Hi, Stacey - Yes, I think so, too. And it's always a surprize to know it's mahogany. I understand that mahogany is quickly becoming a rarer wood.

  15. Hi Mark,
    I did not expect his sculpture to be so stylized given that his paintings were very classically traditional. His sculpture captures the essence or soul of his subject - so very interesting. Love his sculptures even more.

  16. Hi, Anyes - Greg used to show his work at wildlife art shows (mostly in the West), and I'm sure his sculptures stood out as unique.

  17. Hello, Mark,

    I stumbled upon your blog and was thrilled to find the gorgeous paintings and carvings of Greg Jones. I always knew he was talented, but WOW! Yes, I knew Greg over 35 years ago and have always wondered where he went and what he's been doing. Any way I can get in touch with him? Do tell him Gail Duncan is still a fan!

  18. I put Gail Duncan, of the previous comment, in touch with Greg Jones. And she replied:

    Thanks a lot, Mark. And by the way, your blog is fascinating, educational, beautifully designed, literate and truly one of the best I’ve ever seen. I’ll enjoy reading/viewing your future installments.