Out of the Woods: The Art and Nature of C.A. Porter Hopkins
Southwest Harbor, ME 04679
Woodcarvings, paintings, sketches and musings on the place of creativity in our lives
Born in Baltimore in 1930, Mr. Hopkins grew up in Maryland and in Northeast Harbor, Maine. From the age of 10 he was encouraged to draw by his parents. Given pads and pencils for birthdays and Christmas, he graduated from pen and ink to paints in his late teens. Around that time Mr. Hopkins began keeping journals and sketch pads with detailed notes, most often while hunting and fishing. He developed the skill of drawing quick sketches, giving him a feel for line and composition. Although he took a mechanical drawing course at the age of 15 and later studied pre-architecture at Princeton University, Mr. Hopkins explained, “I backed into painting and never went to art school.”
The artist turned to woodcarving when he became inspired by traditional Maryland decoys and by Wendell Gilley, a fellow hunter who loved to hear stories about duck hunting on the Chesapeake. Mr. Hopkins initially made duck and pigeon decoys. After the 1968 publication of The Art of Bird Carving: A Guide to a Fascinating Hobby by Wendell Gilley, he began to carve miniatures. While in the Maryland House and Senate in the 1970s, Mr. Hopkins carried an assortment of small birds to work on during long legislative hearings.
During his political service Mr. Hopkins played an important role in establishing environmental legislation, helping to pass Maryland’s first Wetland Act, one of the strongest in the nation. Mr. Hopkins lives on his farm on Maryland’s Eastern Shore with his wife, Patti, an artist. His farming, hunting, and carving continue to fuel his passion for conservation.