A Craig teenager's painting wasn't the ugly ducking as far as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was concerned.
Ari Osborn, 13, took first place in the Colorado seventh- through ninth-grade class of the Fish and Wildlife Service's 2004 Federal Junior Duck Stamp Art Competition for his acrylic painting of a fulvous whistling duck. Fulvous whistling ducks can be found in China and California.
Osborn has been homeschooled since he was in the fifth grade and he takes painting lessons from local artist Mary Pat Ettinger as part of his educational curriculum. As his skill improved, Ari and his mother, Kathy, began looking for art competitions to enter.
Because his mom schools him at home, Ari has more time to focus on art, at least in between training as an Olympic shooter in Colorado Springs and taking piano classes in Denver.
The pair regularly travels to museums to see work and study up on current artists as well as those from past eras.
Under Ettinger's tutelage, Ari has studied drawing extensively, acrylic painting, some pottery, and foam board architecture and will soon start working with pastels.
For the Fish and Wildlife contest, Ari composed his own painting using photographs from bird books to get the markings and coloring right. He's also mailed religious work to an art academy to which he belongs.
He sent a work titled, "His Sacrifice, My Service," to the Christian Liberty Academy The stark and simple pencil drawing depicts Ari's hands washing Jesus' nail-wounded foot. To compose the work, Ettinger photographed Ari's hands around a shoe. Then Ari replaced the shoe with a foot using his mom as a model. The drawing is black and white, except for the bright red wound.
For winning his age group in the Duck Stamp contest, he was awarded a $50 gift certificate to a Denver art store and a bird identification guide.
The winner of the contest was an 18-year old from Lebanon, PA. He won $4,000, a trip to Washington D.C., and his duck painting was put on a stamp.
Rob Gebhart can be reached at 824-7031 or firstname.lastname@example.org.