Four Ontario artists selected for Canada's premier collection of conservation artwork
Barrie, Ontario, Feb. 22, 2019 - Connecting Canadians with the benefits of conservation
is central to the Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) National Art Portfolio.
"Among our greatest challenges in wetland conservation is transforming how people
relate to the natural world," says Karla Guyn, CEO of Ducks Unlimited Canada. "Artists
have a unique ability to evoke people's feelings about the importance of our land,
water and wildlife. They are strong proponents of conservation and their artwork
is a powerful tool for building appreciation and support for wetland conservation
The 2019 National Art Portfolio is a collection of memorable moments that highlight
the importance of Canada's natural environment to our Canadian lifestyles. "Each
year DUC receives hundreds of submissions," says Guyn. "We select pieces that we
feel can inspire Canadians to reflect on their own experiences in nature and to
embrace wetland conservation within their lives." The artwork of four outstanding
artists from Ontario are featured in this year's collection.
Olaf Schneider is a renown muralist and painter from the Toronto area. He earns
a place in this year's collection with his piece entitled Breathless, a scene rich
in memories to any Canadian who lives for summers at the lake. Schneider's work
illustrates a lazy moment before sunrise with deck chairs set out from the night
before, mosquitoes dancing on the water, loons calling in the distance and aromas
of cedar and pine on dew-soaked air. "These are the gifts we love to share with
each other," he says of the familiar scene.
Conrad Mieschke is a professional artist who works from his home studio in Ontario.
After losing his wife to a motor vehicle accident, Mieschke recommitted his artwork
to celebrating life and finding peace in the natural world. He earns a spot in this
year's portfolio with Peaceful Silence, an invitation to share in a favorite Canadian
moment following a fresh snowfall. "Winter is my favorite season of the year," says
Mieschke. "Nothing can be more enjoyable for me than gliding on my skis though the
countryside on a crisp and sunny winter day in complete silence."
Brent Trach is a professional artist who receives his inspiration from the iconic
landscapes of Temagami, Georgian Bay and Algonquin Park, Ontario. He attributes
his self-taught skill to the endless inspiration he gets from living in this beautiful
region of Canada where camping, canoe trips and fishing are a way of life. Generations
of Canadians will recognize Old Friends, a piece that beautifully captures a Canadian
sentimentality rooted in fishing traditions. "These are the lures and fishing equipment
passed down from my grandparents and parents," says Trach of the subjects in his
work, a tribute to the classics. "Over the years, some of these treasures have worn
out, broken or gone missing, usually clinging to a stump at the bottom of the lake."
Daniel St-Amant starts his artwork in the streets and finishes in the studio. Laying
prepared canvass on roadways, St-Amant then uses the distinct markings left by passing
vehicles as a backdrop for his animal portraits. "The over-use of resources is changing
people, animals and habitats everywhere," says St-Amant. "This unique process challenges
us to reflect on the impacts of industrialism and urbanization, like our use of
climate-affecting technologies and resulting carbon footprint." Amid those urban
imprints is where you'll find Rutt and Tuke, his winning depiction of a pair of
moose, their next steps bleeding into tire tracks. Born and raised in Québec, St-Amant
now resides with his family in Toronto.
DUC has been partnering with artists on the National Art Portfolio since 1986. The
annually-released collection is up for auction with proceeds funding DUC's conservation
work. Canadians can bid on pieces in the collection now at ducks.ca/2019NAP.
Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) delivers wetland conservation that benefits every Canadian.
We keep the water in your lakes and rivers clean. We protect your community from
the effects of flood and drought. We save wildlife and special natural places. We
use science to find solutions to the most important environmental issues of the
day and we collaborate with people who are helping create a healthier world. The
wetlands we save aren't just for ducks; they're for all of us. Visit Ducks.ca.