GK Bhat Poovale: Unusual Artist who transforms firewood into works of art

Besides the sculpturing, GK Bhat Poovale’s cartoons are being selected by the international cartoon website, Cartoon.com. His cartoons were published from 1971-2018. When he is not drawing cartoons, then you  can find him work on the wooden logs and roots of trees

Heard of someone, who can transform the logs of wood into work of aesthetic art? He picks up junk wood, which would otherwise only find use as firewood, chisels and gives shape to wonderful creations such as Pakshi Sankula (Group of birds) from the root of a tree and a Crucifixion from two logs.

GK Bhat

His other sculptures include Mermaid, Ganesha, Folk Dancers, Prakrithi – Purusha, Nature, Vriksha, Love and Demon…the list goes on. This is only one side of this great artist.


When he is passionate about the sculpture work, he is also equally adept at drawing caricatures. A known Kannada cartoonist, he is living with his spouse Jayalakshmi in Kasargod, Kerala and his cartoons are published in many renowned publications such as Sudha, Mayura, Mallige, Uthaana, Karmaveera, Udayavani, Taranga, Santhosha and several Kannada magazines as well.

Besides the sculpturing, GK Bhat Poovale’s cartoons are being selected by the international cartoon website, Cartoon.com. His cartoons were published from 1971-2018. When he is not drawing cartoons, then you  can find him work on the wooden logs and roots of trees.  Aren’t you inquisitive about this multi-faceted personality.

He is GK Bhat Poovale for you. About his family, Bhat says, “My daughter, Anupama PG, who lives in Bangalore has inherited talent in different medium. She is an excellent painter and she is also learning Bharatanatyam.”

Asked how he could see the aesthetic beauty in a withering and desiccated logs of wood, pat comes the answer. “I see inherent beauty in these wooden pieces, which might look mundane and run down for others. I venture into the wooded area of the forest and look for these pieces of logs, which would otherwise will go rack and ruin and become part of the soil.”

At a cursory glance itself, Bhat forms an image in his mind, which is already there in a rustic manner. All he does is to chisel it in a proper way and make it obvious by unleashing his own imagination into it. When the final polishing is done, it transforms into a great piece of art.

Bhat made Pakshi Sankula after he spotted a root which resembled a bird. In addition to that, the root also had few protrusions which too resembled smaller birds. When he started giving shape to the protruded roots, it transformed into a group of birds sitting together.

When he reasons it out in a cool manner, it is rather cumbersome to decipher the kind of laborious work he would have undergone. Probed further, Bhat started explaining how he conceived this concept and made it into a reality. Initially, he only had this root in his possession.

He needed more wood to add on to the root and give the impression of a group of birds are perched on a tree. Perhaps, he had to wait for months on end. The village folks who go to the forest to fetch firewood, after knowing how passionate Bhat was for his sculpture work, do bring wooden logs for him. Out of many pieces of logs and roots, he will identify few that would be, in his own terms, “Inherent Attraction.”

After identifying the right logs and roots, Bhat’s genius starts functioning without any rest. His adroit hands labour for weeks, months and even years to create awesome piece of objects for the ordinary eye, making it rich with distinct individuality and artistic finish.

According to Bhat, the quality of wood matters a lot. Sometimes, he lands up getting just the right wood and his work becomes more easy. Often, he would finish half the work and wait for just the right kind of wood for years, till he finds the exact log he has in mind.

After finishing the piece of art, he never colours his sculpted pieces of art. Most of the wooden pieces of art he had made glowed with its own natural colour and hue.

Few of the objects, he would give a coat of varnish or two sometimes. Bhat has special preference for the variety of wood he collects to create pieces of art.

“I prefer teak, jack fruit, mandara and other such spices having longer shelf life”, says the unassuming artist, who had organised a couple of exhibitions. “I do get invitation from far and wide. Nevertheless, I politely turn down the offers explaining the practical issues in transporting his works of art without damage to far off places.”

Is he making a revenue out of his hard work? Bhat gives an innocent smile and says, “I do this for hobby. I have never sold even a single piece of art till date.

What is more, I don’t even know how to price them either. But I do nurture an ambition of opening a mini museum to display all my firewood works of art”, he signs off before telling that he also teaches few passionate people once a week at his residence.

In the blood

Art and music runs in Bhat family’s blood, when you probe further about his family. Bhat’s son Ganesh Raj PG is a Chartered Accountant by profession, so does his wife Padmini.

What is common between them other than the work they do together?

Again art and music. While Ganesh is adept at making intricate carvings and making wonderful pieces of art with coconut shell, Padmini is an excellent vocalist too.

Ganesh, Padmini and Adithaya Raj

The couple have a two and a half year old son, Adithya Raj, who is also showing promise over his enthusiasm in many things.