Ducks and dogs are proving to be a winning combination for artist Catherine Temple.
The Clarkston resident, who is an avid hunter and birder, was recently selected by the Washington Waterfowl Association to paint the 2019-20 Washington duck stamp. The nonprofit group selected Temple based on her portfolio, which includes portraits of sporting dogs, wildlife art with a heavy dose of birds and a painting that became the 2017 Delaware Duck Stamp.
The rules of the Delaware contest required all the artists vying for the duck stamp to submit paintings featuring a Chesapeake Bay retriever and canvasback ducks. As the owner of a Chessie, the contest protocols were perfect, and Temple’s work featuring her dog Balin was selected to be reproduced on the stamp.
This time around the rules were a bit different. Temple said they called for artists to submit their portfolios instead of a single work. The group sorted through all the entries, picked her as the winner and commissioned a piece featuring a chocolate lab and ring-necked ducks. Even before she was chosen, Temple began preparing for the painting. She knew the stamp would have to feature a chocolate lab and ring-necked ducks. So she started looking for models.
“I got ahold of a friend and said, ‘We need to do a photo shoot with your dog in case I get selected,’ ” she said. “I did, however, have to go out and do a lot of photography work down at the West Levee Pond to get ring-necked ducks. I spent a lot of hours down at the pond waiting for just the right moment and just the right light and for the ducks to fly.”
The painting features her dog-friend Lilly in the foreground, a drake-and-hen pair of ring-necks with wings cupped as they prepare to land on a lake with a snowcapped Mount Rainer in the distance.
“They pretty much set the whole parameter of what was going to be in it, and I came up with the design,” she said.
Washington once required hunters to purchase and affix a state duck stamp to the back of their hunting licenses. That requirement went away about 2012. Now waterfowl hunters must simply pay for a migratory bird permit, which is noted on their license.
The change did away with the state duck stamp artwork program. It was revived by the Washington Waterfowl Association. The group now runs the program. It selects an artist each year to produce a painting from which a print is made. People can order stamps or prints of the artwork. Proceeds are pumped back into the program.
“When you purchase a stamp for collecting or your limited-edition print, you are supporting a tradition that we do not want to see go extinct. Thank you for your support,” says the group’s website.
The tradition around duck stamps is rich. The federal government still requires hunters to purchase a federal migratory waterfowl stamp and affix it to their licenses. Each year, hundreds of artists vie to be chosen to have their art featured on the federal stamp.
Temple has yet to enter that competition, but said she is increasingly thinking about jumping in.
“I have not been brave enough to enter that yet, but I am thinking this year I might,” she said. “The competition is so fierce, and even at the state level it is fierce. People take it so seriously and the level of talent (of the artists) who enter these things is so amazing.”