Lawrence captures duck stamp contest victory

By Steve Griffin Field Editor

Saginaw, Mich. – Talk about turning defeat into victory.

A few years ago, Michigan artist Rod Lawrence first got a phone
call informing him that he was in the top 10 in the federal Duck
Stamp contest, then one that said he’d finished tied for
fourth.

When he got back the painting of two pintails, he set it aside.
‘I liked it so well, even though it hadn’t won, that I decided to
keep it to enter sometime in the Michigan contest. So, that’s just
what I did.’

And this time, when the announcement was made by the Michigan
Duck Hunters Association at the recent Saginaw Bay Waterfowl
Festival, it was that Rod Lawrence had won the Michigan Waterfowl
Stamp Contest – a record-making performance.

Lawrence has won the Michigan Waterfowl Stamp contest six times,
more than any other artist. He’s won the state’s Trout Stamp
competition four times, tying him for the top position with one
other artist. And his stamp wins – 10 of ducks and trout, all told
— is tops, too.

To what does he credit that record? ‘I’ve been very fortunate,’
Lawrence told Michigan Outdoor News. ‘Lady Luck, I guess you could
say. That, and hard work, studying what has won before, what
works.’

An artist, he said, must create a design that holds up both in
print size, and in the small format of a stamp.

Lawrence said the wildlife art market generally has shrunk, with
contest wins once worth more financially than they are today.
Still, they bring the winning artist a $2,500 stipend, plus
artist’s proof prints he or she may sell. MDHA sells stamps and
prints, often in combination.

Beginning in 1976, Michigan waterfowl hunters purchased a
DNR-printed stamp they affixed to their license. Proceeds were
earmarked for wetland acquisition.

Now, the fee is paid through computerized license sales. There’s
no stamp, at least none for all hunters. In hopes of continuing the
contest tradition, in 1999 MDHA forged an agreement with the DNR
that allows it to hold the art competition.

MDHA arranges for the printing of prints and stamps, and sells
them. Ten percent of the proceeds are used in cooperation with the
DNR to purchase wetlands. Lawrence said the stamp itself has become
even more collectible than in the past, but print sales remain
lower.

‘It’s like anything, with peaks and valleys,’ he said. ‘I don’t
think that people are giving up on wildlife habitat and
waterfowl.’

For print and stamp sales information, write to Michael Driver,
Stamp Program Coordinator, MDHA Waterfowl Stamp Program, P.O Box
20, Midland, MI. 48640.

For more information, visit the Michigan Duck Hunters
Association website at www.midha.org or Rod Lawrence’s website at
www.rodlawrence.com.

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