Print signing came after stamp signing.
Again I was overwhelmed by seeing my work reproduced beautifully as a print.
The designers and printers did a wonderful job.
The drip to the side is a painting hazzard....left over from paintings past!
A photo snapped with my Blackberry as I start to sign 750 stamps.
Kudos to the team that produced these. Beautiful work.
Signed stamps are sold to collectors. Some place the stamps in the frame with their signed print.
Money raised goes to conservation programs.
Here are some pictures and words on the journey..
This was the first time I had entered the Wildlife Habitat Canada duck stamp and print competition. Competitions such as these are a wonderful outlet for wildlife artists. They give you structure and a timeline that an artist can plan within.
I like the challenge of the research involved. I learned a lot about Cinnamon Teals, and a lot about marsh habitat. I had been in marshes much of my life, kayaking, canoeing, or just sitting on a bank observing, but never knew what the name of the small waterplants that covered most marshy areas. Smaller that lilly pads, shaped like footballs, they cover the water and provide shelter for life below, but i had never know they were called "water shield". Likewise, I simply didn't know the difference between a "cat tail" and a "Bullrush", but I do now. And in my research found that the Cinnamon Teal is one of the first birds to arrive in spring, and the Marsh Marigold is one of the first plants to flower. I designed my painting to incorporate these elements
The painting itself was designed after I named it. When I first heard that this years' bird was a Cinnamon Teal, an image came to me of sunlight illuminating a drake and setting him on visual fire. I named the painting then and there, then had to create a painting that lived up to the name. While the result is perhaps more subtle than my initial vision, I had fun getting there.
During painting time, my fence was being built. I had hired my good freind and awesome fence builder, Ryan Burr, to build my new fence. I kept running out and showing the painting to him as it emerged. And when his wife, one of my best freinds, Susie came by to see him, she too was subjected to "showings". While not artists they can and do point out shortcomings obvious to them, but quite hidden to the artist.
A challenge of being an artist is the "seeing" as an observer, separating the artist to be a critic. Usually it takes walking away for a while, then returning with fresh eyes. It doesn't always work. So I like to prop the work up and have it as a painting in my room and take furtive peeks at it day after day to see if i still like it, or is there something wrong.
For "Sunkissed Cinnamon" after much glazing for effect, off it went to meet the deadline. I hadn't thought I'd win anything and was hoping for an honourable mention, as beyond that, you generally don't get feedback. I was just happy to have completed a painting and to be in the running.
When I received the phone call, I was absolutely stunned. And overwhelmed as well. But then came the secret keeping... I couldnt tell anyone for a year! The folks at Wildlife Habitat Canada are planners, and because the current years stamp winner hadn't been announced yet, and i was painting for next years stamp, well... it was a long wait.
So a few freinds and family were sworn to secrecy, but I could at least share with them.
To all the people at Wildlife Habitat Canada, and the folks at Environment Canada who coordinate portions of the program, and all the supporters who make this program possible, I thank you.
These types of programs help wildlife and conserve nature by raising funds, but they have much further reaching effect than that. Every artist who paints an image must do research. They share their learning and enthusiasm, win or lose, with others, spreading the knowldege and appreciation for nature. This too, is conservation.
These programs give artists a venue to test their wings, and we too can sometmes fly...
And a special thanks to Robert Masla of Casa de los Artistas in Mexico, which was a haven to me during trying times, where I travel to in my mind when times try me afresh.
Every artist should go at least once...