Wisconsin wildlife artist Robert Andrea of Spooner, the winner of the 2016 Wisconsin Turkey Stamp competition last August, has scored another victory. This time Andrea’s work took first place in the 2016 Oregon Waterfowl Stamp Art Competition.
A panel of five judges with representatives from the Fish and Wildlife Commission, wildlife conservation, and wildlife artist communities, selected Andrea’s painting of a pair of Common Mergansers gliding across icy blue waters as the competition winner on Saturday, Nov. 7, at Duck Pond Cellars in Dundee, Oregon.
Andrea took third runner-up in competition in the Wisconsin Waterfowl Stamp last year and this year decided to try to branch out and try different states.
“This was the first time I entered this one in Oregon,” said Andrea, who soon will be submitting work to Wild Wings.
Andrea and his wife, Jill, enjoy photography and often take pictures of the wildlife he eventually puts on canvas. Both his winning Wisconsin Turkey Stamp and the Oregon Common Waterfowl Stamp came from photos they took.
Oregon has had a waterfowl stamp every year since 1984. Waterfowl stamps and validations raise about $500,000 annually with proceeds benefiting waterfowl management and habitat. Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife also holds annual contests for the Habitat Conservation stamp and Upland Game Bird stamp.
From 1995 to 2014, artist Robert Steiner had been under contract to supply the artwork for Oregon’s annual waterfowl stamp. The competition was again put before the public this year, opening the door for Andrea.
Following the announcement of the winners on November 7 in Dundee, all of the entries from the Waterfowl, Habitat Conservation, and Upland Game Bird Stamp contests were displayed during an afternoon art show and wine tasting event.
Andrea will receive a check for $2,000 for his winning entry, and maybe more importantly, some more national recognition for his artistic talents.
The original artwork becomes the property of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Next spring, Andrea will sign up to 250 printed stamps that will be sold by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife as artist-signed stamps.
Andrea has always been passionate about painting, especially wildlife. He had little time to do so, however, until two years ago when he retired from the Spooner Police Department where he served as chief.
His only “stakeouts” now might consist of sitting in a duck blind with his camera waiting for a nice photo of a flock of mallards, or perhaps a tree stand, hoping a great buck comes his way.
“I have time now,” he said, a big smile on his face. “I love it. It is so much better than going to work every day with a gun.”
And, less stressful. There is something about nature that is calming, and for artist Robert Andrea that calm and natural beauty translates very well to the canvas.