For 29 years, Robert Skerl has had a passion for birds. His bronze re-creations masterfully demonstrate his knowledge and understanding of his subjects. Still a teenager, Robert spent his time as a volunteer “bird-bander”, assisting in the study of migration patterns, and working in rehabilitation programs for injured birds of prey. His early artistic outlet was woodcarving. His creations brought rave reviews in both the United States and Canada winning First Place awards at the Ward Foundation World Wild Fowl Carving Competition, The Canadian National Exhibition, and the Best of Show at the Great Lakes, and Crane Creek competitions.
Robert readily attributes his growth in those early years to working many summers with world-class bird artist and carver, Larry Barth, in his studio in the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania. In 1998, he met another world-class artist, Walt Horton, of Vail Colorado. At Walt’s mountain studio, Robert spent many hours being coached and taught the art and discipline of bronze.
Robert’s approach to his subjects mirror his decades of study of birds in their natural habitat. He sees not only the natural beauty and majesty, but also the humor, playfulness, and romance to be found there. Each of his creations has a personality as well. His “Falconer’s Pride” shows a trained falcon at rest. Although tethered, this magnificent bird effuses an inner strength that nears arrogance! The pair of swans languishing on a pond in “Wedding Dance” portrays a delicate intimacy that is intoxicating. His recent “No Hunting” is certainly a break from the traditional “bird” sculpture, Oh, it has birds…a pair of haughty adult pheasants perched atop a “no hunting” sign. The fox pup looking up at them has other thoughts….”Just wait till I grow up!”
Robert’s work runs the gamut from tabletop pieces, to a nine-foot tall monument “Rocky Mountain Redtail”. He constantly explores differing textures and surfaces. With that variety has come growing popularity. His works are in galleries in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Oregon and Wyoming in the West, as well as West Virginia in the Midwest.