Lo­cal artist wins state game bird stamp de­sign con­test

Maryland Independent - - Sports - Jamie Drake

I’ve long ad­mired the artists of South­ern Mary­land. They observe the quiet beauty around us, and through their gift, ren­der that beauty to can­vas with a mag­i­cal spark that de­lights the eyes.

Sev­eral lo­cal names come to mind, such as Jeanne Nor­ton Ham­mett and Ge­orge F. McWil­liams, among sev­eral. If you are not fa­mil­iar with their work and en­joy the beauty of our area, I have to sug­gest you look them up. You might find a new fa­vorite artist of your own.

My first foray into buy­ing art as a young adult start­ing out was at An­n­marie Gar­den’s Arts­fest, which show­cases many lo­cal artists each fall. Over the years, as I got mar­ried, moved from an apart­ment to a house and raised my fam­ily, my col­lec­tion of lo­cal land­scapes and mar­itime scenes grew.

In fact, af­ter 12 years of bliss­ful mar­riage, we are al­most out of wall space, which is not a good thing be­cause I just found out that lo­cal Hol­ly­wood artist Richard Me­nard won the Mary­land Mi­gra­tory Game Bird Stamp de­sign con­test held last month in Ocean City with his paint­ing “Brothers” that de­picts two north­ern shov­el­ers.

I gave Me­nard a call when I found out about his win and he was very gra­cious to an­swer a few ques­tions. As it turns out, he wasn’t born in South­ern Mary­land, but rather in Ver­mont and was brought to South­ern Mary­land in 1983, like so many other res­i­dents, by the Navy.

As a child grow­ing up in Ver­mont, Me­nard spent a lot of time out­doors with his fa­ther and brothers hunt­ing, fish­ing and trap­ping where he be­gan to ap­pre­ci­ate the beauty of na­ture. While ev­ery hunter spends a lot of time ob­serv­ing the nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment, the hunter that be­comes an award-win­ning artist takes that fo­cus on ob­ser­va­tion to a new level. He sees de­tails that es­cape so many of us.

Af­ter mov­ing here he met his wife, who comes from the long and sto­ried Thomp­son lin­eage that can be traced back to the Ark and Dove. As it turns out, his fa­therin-law is Rodney Thomp­son, renowned St. Mary’s County auc­tion­eer. When I men­tioned this fact to my hus­band, he re­called how Thomp­son headed up many char­ity and school auc­tions when he was grow­ing up. Me­nard fol­lowed in his fa­ther-in-law’s footsteps and has been an auc­tion­eer the past 25 years.

While work­ing and rais­ing five kids in South­ern Mary­land, he un­der­stand­ably didn’t have much free time to work on his draw­ing and paint­ing skills. Nowa­days, though, he is semi-re­tired from auc­tion­eer­ing and has more time to de­vote to his art­work, spend­ing one to two hours each day paint­ing and hon­ing his skills. He finds in­spi­ra­tion by hik­ing our beau­ti­ful parks and im­parts his love of na­ture through his art.

Un­like a lot of hik­ers, Me­nard will sit for hours in frigid Jan­uary weather, wait­ing on the ducks to come so he can watch and pho­to­graph them. Gil­bert Run Park in Dentsville and St. Mary’s Lake are two of the places he spends a lot of time look­ing for ducks and geese to study. While he used to spend a lot of time hunt­ing, these days he does most of his hunt­ing with a cam­era.

From a child­hood spent out­doors to his cur­rent hik­ing ef­forts, Me­nard has gained a deep ap­pre­ci­a­tion for na­ture, birds and wildlife. He uses that pas­sion to paint beau­ti­ful and re­al­is­tic wa­ter­fowl scenes. He said “be­ing a part of the his­tory of wa­ter­fowl hunt­ing and pro­mot­ing con­ser­va­tion” is the best part of win­ning this con­test. There’s no mon­e­tary award for win­ning the con­test al­though he re­tains the orig­i­nal copy­right of the win­ning en­try.


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