It’s been a very busy—albeit successful—year for Chilliwack painter, Laura Levitsky, whose eye for detail and creative realism has earned her numerous awards. And now she’s been internationally recognized for her artistic conservation efforts by the world’s leading artist group supporting the environment: Artists for Conservation (AFC).
Earlier this year, one of Levitsky’s paintings, The Suitors, was chosen as the Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) Waterfowl Stamp and Print artist in their annual National Art Portfolio. At the same time, upon opening her email one morning, Levitsky says she was excited to receive a letter from Artists for Conservation offering her a signature membership, which well-known Canadian artist Robert Bateman also possesses.
“I was pretty excited,” Levitsky told The Progress at the time. “It’s invitation only, so it’s sort of a big deal.”
Although it’s based in Canada, AFC is an international non-profit organization representing 500 artists from more than 30 countries around the world who are committed to conservation. It’s the hope of the charity to inspire individuals and organizations to preserve and sustain our natural heritage by bringing together the world’s most talented nature artists.
Signature membership in hand, Levitsky says she submitted two of her works, Keeping Watch and Sleeping Beauty, to this year’s AFC Annual Art Exhibit and both were accepted.
“This year’s exhibit was different from previous years,” explained Levitsky. “Normally they do a theme, but this time it’s all birds … so my paintings were a really good fit.”
By teaming up with the International Ornithological Congress (IOC), one of the world’s oldest and most important global organizations dedicated to bird studies, the AFC has become the organization’s visual arts lead partner this year. The two held their events in conjunction at the Vancouver Convention Centre in August.
Finished around the same time as she became an AFC signature member, Levitsky’s Keeping Watch depicts a perched barred owl during twilight, its sharp eyes gazing ahead.
Sleeping Beauty on the other hand, shows true love in the Animal Kingdom as a gander acts as sentry while his mate rests next to the water, eyes closed and head bowed.
While both pictures were accepted into the exhibit and published in the AFC’s 2018 hardcover book depicting all of this year’s entries, Keeping Watch was not only added to the show’s live Asia-Pacific tour—which will finish at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and exhibited at the Wingdao Lan Wan Art Gallery in Qingdao City last year, that—it also earned Levitsky a Medal of Excellence.
“They only give out eight of them every year,” said the artist with a smile. And although this wasn’t Levitsky’s first rodeo when it came to winning awards, she says this one was a bit different.
“I’ve never won a medal before,” she exclaimed. But more than the medal was the camaraderie that came with attending the event, she added.
“It was so much bigger than going to an award show. I just loved being a part of that. And now I’m glad I’m in this book (to possibly inspire) people who’ve never heard of me,” said Levitsky, pointing to her published works.
“And now I’ve been in an exhibition with Robert Bateman,” Levitsky added jokingly.