His entry into the world of art started with conventional oil painting and he worked in silver and turquoise Indian-style jewelry. Wood sculpture began later when a grubby old man came into a store Darwin was managing, and tried to sell him some wooden decoys. Darwin says he was too cheap to buy one, but went home and carved his first carving; two ducks in a marsh setting from a piece of firewood. For the next five years Dower honed his skills crafting wild birds; waterfowl, and chukar with feathers appearing so real you had to touch them to be sure they were not real.
Once the idea is formed, Darwin does as many hours of research as he does carving. He takes items with him, if possible. He takes photos, measurements and makes drawings. He selects woods that are suited for the subject.
He uses tools as an extension of his arm. He uses drills like a dentist would use to get the details. Some tools are altered, as an artist would use different kinds of brushes to create an effect.
The end result is a story in miniature that is told in the sculpture… an original piece of art, historically correct and unbelievably real.
Each spoke is meticulously hand sculpted.
Using a cloth cover over the carving as a reference, I am duplicating the folds for the canvas top.
Note the items in the cart (the trunk, a wash tub, a flour sack and rope) are in place for the journey ahead.