Ducks Unlimited selects Iola artist
Painting to become 2016 Greenwing print
By Holly Neumann
Wildlife artist Sharon Anderson, of Iola, has had her painting entitled “Three of a Kind” selected by the Ducks Unlimited Art Committee as the 2016 Greenwing print.
“Each year, wildlife artists submit original, unpublished art images to Ducks Unlimited,” said Jane Lawson, art and merchandise marketing manager for Ducks Unlimited, Inc. “The Ducks Unlimited Art Committee selects images to be published as signed and numbered limited edition prints and canvases.”
According to Lawson, the artwork is then offered framed, exclusively at their fundraising events across the United States.
“I got an invitation to compete, so I thought, why not,” said Anderson.
The airbrushed painting features three Labrador puppies sitting in a canoe alongside a duck decoy.
“I love puppies,” said Anderson. “So I painted one of each color of Labrador that is out there.”
She said she also used a paint brush on the picture, to capture all the tight detail.
“It started out as a total air brush,” she said. “Using a paint brush along with that gives me a faster, stronger painting.”
Anderson, a Clintonville native, gives credit to her high school art teacher Helen Waalkens, artist Owen J. Gramee and her father Russell Anderson for making her the artist that she is today.
“I realized at a pretty young age that I had some talent,” she said. “So when I got to high school and Mrs. Waalkens put me on independent study for art class it was great. I knew then that this would be my career.”
Gramee, who was considered the dean of wildlife art, only reinforced that.
“I got a chance to meet him and I brought four of my paintings with me,” Anderson said. “He talked with me and encouraged me to stay with dogs. To hear it from someone who is that recognized made me believe that I can pull this off.”
Her love of wildlife art she believes comes from her father Russell Anderson.
“I love wildlife because of my upbringing,” Anderson said. “I grew up on a farm in Clintonville. We raised about 250 pheasants and I was my dad’s farm hand and fishing buddy. He treated my sisters and me like we were boys.”
Anderson is honored to be recognized by Ducks Unlimited.
“I had completely forgotten about entering and then I received a call that I had been selected,” she said. “I have always wanted to be with Ducks Unlimited organization, so this is a real feather in my cap when it comes to being a wildlife artist.”
Funds raised from selling ‘Three of a Kind’ will be used to support the Ducks Unlimited mission.
“Ducks Unlimited conserves, restores and manages wetlands and associated habitats for North America’s waterfowl. These habitats also benefit other wildlife and people,” Lawson said.
Since 1971, the Ducks Unlimited art program has raised more than $300 million for wetlands conservation.
Some of Anderson’s other accomplishments include being featured on magazine covers throughout the United States. In addition, she has also done commissioned for G. Heileman Brewing Company, painting Old Style mirrors that benefitted major wildlife organizations, done a 1992 painting to celebrate the Wisconsin Badgers Rose Bowl victory and has been recognized as White Tails Unlimited National Artist of the year on more than one occasion.
She has also been featured on the Amherst telephone book cover for 27 years, has done a Wisconsin State Fire Fighters painting and is known internationally for her Mid Night Wolf painting that was made into a puzzle and sold in China.