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Marc De Groote In the News

The Civic Holiday Weekend brings Barrie Ontario Kempenfest annually and this year, like every other, has Marc De Groote in attendance.  Art history can be seen in the making at Kempenfest goers have a chance to see Marc create his submission for the Canadian wildlife habitat stamp competition.

See the story and video on line at Barrie CTV News by clicking here!


Artist paints wings to win
August 6, 2009 - by Marcia Downham
Story and photo by Marcia Downham
The Muskoka Sun


Parry Sound artist Marc De Groote has been officially invited to take part in one of Canada’s most prestigious art competitions.

After submitting a few pieces of his work to Wildlife Habitat Canada, De Groote was given what he calls “an honour of a lifetime” when he received a letter inviting him to participate in the Canadian Wildlife Habitat Conservation Stamp and Print Competition.

Bursting with excitement, De Groote says, “I have known about this competition for many, many years and never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine I would get to be one of the lucky artists invited to compete.”

For more than 20 years, talented artists from across Canada have been chosen to compete for a chance to have their artwork featured on the Canadian Wildlife Habitat Conservation stamp.

Produced by Environment Canada and Wildlife Habitat Canada, the stamps feature migratory birds of Canada and are required to validate the migratory game bird hunting permit. They are also sold to stamp collectors and print collectors around the world.

According to the Wildlife Habitat Canada website, the stamp program has helped to raise more than $33 million for habitat conservation initiatives in Canada.

Renowned wildlife artist Robert Bateman created the artwork for the first stamp in 1985. Bateman, who has been awarded 10 honorary doctorates and has three schools named after him, also produced the artwork for this year’s stamp celebrating the organization’s 25th anniversary. Canadian realist Michael Dumas, an avid conservationist exhibited in numerous galleries and museums internationally, had his work featured on the 1990 stamp.

“There are many world-famous artists who have been featured on these stamps, and for me to be given a chance at this type of recognition is absolutely mind blowing,” says De Groote, who admits he gets a little scared when he thinks about the level of talent the competition calls for.

“I have my moments where I ask myself am I really good enough to do this,” he says, “but when I look at the letter of invitation and then look at my art, I am reminded and yell at myself, yes you can.”

De Groote and the other competing artists are required to paint the Wildlife Habitat Conservation’s bird of choice for its 2011 stamp, the American wigeon.

De Groote picked up painting full time in 2001. He is a self-taught realist artist, with no formal training, whose vivid paintings are greatly influenced by the beauty of nature.

Birds, wildlife, portraits, pets, landscapes and lighthouses are all part of his artistic repertoire, but it is apparent birds are his favourite subject.

“The fact that every stamp for the competition is artwork depicting birds in their natural habitat was a calling — they are definitely one of the things I do best,” he says.

Over the last month, De Groote has spent more than 60 hours working on his stamp painting and says, “I still have a long way to go before it’s perfect.”

He has until Oct. 14 to submit his painting for the 2011 competition and until that time, he is forbidden to reveal his artwork to the public.

In order for De Groote’s painting to be eligible to win, it must first go through three sets of scoring, where a panel of judges critique his art according to a number of criteria, including the accuracy of the species’ anatomy, accuracy of the habitat component, how realistically the painting presents the subject, the use of light, colour, technique and form, and how well the painting presents a fresh perspective.

The winning artist receives a $5,000 award and the prestige of their artwork appearing on the 2011 stamp. The most recent winner, announced for the 2010 stamp and print competition, was artist Pierre Girard of Ste-Anne de Sorel, Quebec, for his painting Springtime at the Marsh — Green-winged Teal.

“Any artist who wins this competition is automatically put on the map — it’s one thing to be invited, but it is another to actually win,” explains De Groote.

“I am giving this everything I have; an opportunity like this doesn’t land at your doorstep every day,” he states, adding, “I am more focused than I have ever been.”
 

 
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