C. “Spike” Knuth
Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Spike’s interest in the outdoors began at
age seven with birds and fishing on southeastern Wisconsin’s Okauchee Lake.
From ages 8-13, He spent many summer vacations—any opportunities—honing
his fishing and nature study skills. He traveled the lake by rowboat, covering
many miles and spending many hours.
His interests expanded when he moved with his parents and brother to Fond
du Lac, in east central Wisconsin. Here he spent countless hours around
big Lake Winnebago, in nearby Supple and Eldorado marshes, the world famous
Horicon Marsh, Lake Butte des Mortes and more marshes and lakes in the
During this same time period, he expressed an interest in and love of wildlife
and the outdoors while developing his talent in art. He began studying
plants and flowers so that when he illustrated wildlife in his paintings
the vegetation depicted would be genuine. Spike’s artwork and illustrations,
writings and photography have appeared in numerous magazines, particularly
Virginia Wildlife. He has created more than 70 covers for a variety of
He worked at Mercury Outboards for 13 years, starting as a hand trucker,
moving to production control then to commercial artist. He worked as a
news photographer and artist for the Fond du Lac Reporter for 4-1/2 years.
In 1968-69 he hosted a live half-hour television program on KFIZ-TV, a
sibling operation to the newspaper in Fond du Lac.
Spike said his childhood dream and desire to be an outdoor writer and wildlife
illustrator full time came to fruition in February, 1974, when he began
working for the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. He hosted
and produced more than 300-television programs from 1975 to 1986 for the
Department, including a two-minute radio program on WRVA, Richmond for
Spike has two duck stamps to his credit, the 1978 Indiana Waterfowl Stamp
and the 1992 and 1999 Virginia Waterfowl Stamps. He wrote a monthly page
in Virginia Wildlife (Naturally Wild) magazine as well as illustrated the
Wild in the Woods pages. His artwork of northern yellowthroats was among
50 paintings displayed at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Bird Art Show in Wausau,
Wisconsin, in 1979, a piece that made a world tour to fine arts academies
in Edinburgh, Scotland; London, England and Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh,
Pennsylvania. In fact, the painting was used on the cover of Edinburgh
Spike has been donating
artwork to Ducks Unlimited since 1967 beginning with the D.U. Chapter in
Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and has donated about 500 original pieces of art to
Ducks Unlimited’s auctions since then.
His association with Chesapeake Style magazine began in the spring of 2000,
when an article about him appeared in conjunction with the Rappahannock
River Wildlife Art Festival for which he was named Artist of the Year.
Since then he writes and illustrates Spike's Wildlife Almanac column every
month. Spike said, “I write and illustrate wildlife because wildlife fascinates
me and I feel the urge to say to people, ‘Look at this, isn’t this amazing?'
I just want to share my fascination and interest in the outdoors with readers,
and tell them about what I saw and learned. If it wasn't for wildlife,
I probably wouldn't paint or write!”