Chilliwack artist’s painting chosen for Ducks Unlimited Canada’s 2018 National Art Portfolio

Laura Levisky worked on her painting, The Suitors, for more than a month

Chilliwack’s Laura Levitsky is a happy little cloud in a vibrant sky: with wavy chestnut hair framing a bright smile and dazzling eyes, Levitsky herself isn’t much bigger than a brushstroke, but her creativity is mountainous.

A painter with a precise eye for realism, Levitsky has been drawing and painting the world around her since falling in love as a young child with a small, hued painting of a sunset done by her father. However, it wasn’t until late 1999, when her children were a bit older and she had more free time, that she really began devoting time to her art, and by 2005, she had enough artwork for her first solo exhibition.

Laura Levitsky poses in front of her latest painting. (Submitted)

Now, Levitsky’s talents are being recognized by Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) as one of her paintings, The Suitors, has been selected as DUC’s Waterfowl Stamp and Print artist in their annual National Art Portfolio for the second time. Hundreds of paintings were submitted by artists across the country, with Levitsky’s being one of 11 selected for the portfolio.

“The National Art Portfolio is a unique program that not only promotes our country’s outstanding nature artists, but the growing need to conserve the natural areas that inspire their work,” says Michaela Bell, DUC’s national manager of retail operations.

The works selected for DUC’s 2018 National Art Portfolio are used during fundraising initiatives to help support wetland conservation work, scientific research, and education programs. The continuous expansion of our cities and towns into nature is putting our wetlands at risk: Canada has 25 per cent of the globe’s wetlands, more than any other nation, but they’re becoming increasingly endangered. Wetlands aren’t just water basins, or swamps; they are vitally important to our environment, store and clean water, prevent floods and droughts, store large amounts of carbon, and are home to a multitude of insect, plant, and animal species.

Being a lover of the outdoors, a lot of Levitsky’s artwork is suitable for competitions such as DUC’s National Art Portfolio. “I paint in nature, and for (competitions) like this, so it fits naturally,” says the artist. “But it’s also handy to have the artwork be suitable for other things as well,” she adds. The Suitors was also listed as a finalist in a 2016 Wildlife Habitat of Canada art contest.

READ MORE: Chilliwack artist recognized twice for wildlife art

Armed with sketchbook and camera where ever she goes, Levitsky is constantly taking pictures, collecting specimens of nature, and writing studies down in notebooks to ensure her portraits are as close to life as she can make them. She says unless you’re extremely familiar with the subject, there’s no way you can imagine all those intricate details.

For example, she explains how when documenting hummingbirds for Tiny Treasures, she learned the birds harvest spiderwebs to build their nests with. “Without the photos, I’d never have known to include that.”

“Being a realism artist, you’ve got to be damn good to pull out all that detail,” says the painter while in her studio. “So I have to do it that way (because) I am firm on referring to my own reference material. That way, it guarantees the authenticity of my work being original.”

And even though she paints based on reference photos she’s taken, Levitsky is careful to point out she’s not just painting a photo. “I create the composition right down to the size of the canvas,” she says standing next to a nearly-finished owl portrait.

The photo composition she created for the owl comprised 29 different layers in Photoshop, with photos from around the province: the background is Cultus lake, the main trees are from a different location, the branch the owl’s perched upon is from a random tree, and the owl was photographed at a bird sanctuary. The vision didn’t exist before Levitsky imagined it. And she never misses a detail: if you look at the owl closely enough, you can see sky and trees reflected in his eyes.

“I love my job,” says Levitsky with a huge smile. “I get to personally learn about every subject I’m interested in.”

And not that Levitsky needed any more confirmation that her work is amongst the ranks of Robert Bateman, who she aspired to be like as a youngster, but on the heels of The Suitors’ exceptional reception, she received an email asking if she’d like join Artists for Conservation as a Signature Member, which is by invitation only.

“That was like a Bucket List item,” Levitsky said happily. “I love how it’s all just coming together.”


@SarahGawdin
Sarah.Gawdin@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Seven Days in Chilliwack for the week of Dec. 17

A list of community events happening in Chilliwack from Dec. 17 to 23

Excel Martial Arts raises more than $5,000 for family of Chilliwack man killed in workplace accident

By-donation fundraiser event helps wife, three children of 28-year-old Nathan Appleton of Chilliwack

Chilliwack Lions Club has a new place to call home

After more than five years without a headquarters, Chilliwack Lions Club moves into new hall

Sardis Falcons top Heritage Woods in field lacrosse opener

The Falcons rallied from a halftime hole to take a big win on the road in Port Moody.

Chilliwack prolific offender charged in four alleged incidents in 12 days

Branden Tanner busted for alleged smash-and-grab Nov. 30, then incidents Dec. 3, Dec. 8 and Dec. 11

Trudeau to make it harder for future PM to reverse Senate reforms

Of the 105 current senators, 54 are now independents who have banded together in Independent Senators’ Group

Boeser has 2 points as Canucks ground Flyers 5-1

WATCH: Vancouver has little trouble with slumping Philly side

Man dies after falling from B.C. bridge

Intoxicated man climbed railing, lost his balance and fell into the water below

Hundreds attend Hells Angels funeral in Maple Ridge

Body of Chad John Wilson found last month face-down under the Golden Ears Bridge.

B.C. animation team the ‘heart’ of new ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’

The animators, largely based in Vancouver, ultimately came up with a creative technique that is drawing praise

Light at the end of the tunnel for UN climate talks

Meeting in Katowice was meant to finalize how countries report their emissions of greenhouses gases

Gas prices to climb 11 cents overnight in Lower Mainland

Hike of 17 cents in less than 48 hours due to unexpected shutdown of Washington state pipeline

Janet Jackson, Def Leppard, Nicks join Rock Hall of Fame

Radiohead, the Cure, Roxy Music and the Zombies will also be ushered in at the 34th induction ceremony

Supreme Court affirms privacy rights for Canadians who share a computer

Section 8 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects Canadians against unreasonable search and seizure

Most Read