I am honored to share that my painting of a pair of Ruddy Ducks won the Federal Duck Stamp Contest this year.
It is 7" x 10" Acrylic on board.
The Federal Duck Stamp program is a US-based conservation program. The stamp itself started in 1934 as a hunting stamp. The duck stamp has since evolved into something a lot more. Now, not only hunters buy them, but a great many birders and other people interested in conservation buy them. They can also be used as a pass to gain access to a National Wildlife Refuge. Indeed, 98 cents of every dollar that the stamp sells for goes directly to buying or preserving federal wildlife refuges and wetlands (the other two cents covers the costs of printing them and such). This does not just benefit ducks and hunters; a huge number of species, all the way from protozoa to large birds and mammals depend on wetlands. They are prime birding locations. Wetlands provide vital natural management of our watersheds and waterways, both for humans and other species. Amphibians and insects, birds and plants, many species alike depend on these areas. Wetlands are of incredible benefit. To date, the duck stamp program alone has raised over $850 million for this purpose. As an artist, none of the money from the sale of stamps comes back to me. And that is great— that means it is all going to conservation. Further, the stamp program can license the image out to be sold on merchandise and products. The sale of these products (the part that the USFWS gets) goes directly into the Migratory bird Conservation Fund.
Anyhow, anyone can buy one, and it is is all good. If you are keen on one, check at your local post office, or you can do it on the internet too: http://www.fws.gov/duckstamps/stamps.htm
Even if you can’t or don’t want to buy one, it’s really a great thing to get excited about. A lot of people don’t even know this program exists, nor the enormous amount of good it does! Plus, let’s be honest here— many of my friends that will read this are artists too. You know that art is often overlooked. Glance at many grade school art programs across the country… the cuts are happening. Some schools don’t even have art any more. I don’t know about you, but man that is depressing. I would be so very sad indeed if the only government-run, nationally recognized art contest went away.
Even if you are not hot on ducks, that alone should put a little wrinkle in your heart. Let’s let people know about the Duck Stamp program, and why it’s so awesome! Encourage others to help in conservation, and if you are an artist or know one in the U.S., you can encourage them to enter the art competition every year!
More information: http://www.fws.gov/duckstamps/