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Robert Bateman, world-renowned wildlife artist, is best known for his beautiful, lifelike paintings that capture the heart and soul of Canada's wilderness.
(Photo: Birgit Freybe Bateman)
The Importance of Family and Nature
Robert Bateman, world-renowned wildlife artist, is best known for his beautiful, lifelike paintings that capture the heart and soul of Canada’s wilderness. His love for wildlife, kindled when he was a young child, has remained steadfast over a 50-year career spent depicting the glories of the Canadian wilderness through arresting realistic paintings.
The year 2012 marks the 50th anniversary of the Canadian Wildlife Federation, an organization that has achieved exceptional results in conserving the Canadian wilderness and educating citizens and government about environmental issues that concern us all. Mr. Bateman is also an unflagging proponent of wildlife conservation and education and is an Honorary Life Member of the Canadian Wildlife Federation.
The Moose Family was painted by Mr. Bateman to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Canadian Wildlife Federation. “The Canadian Wildlife Federation and I believed it was important in the painting to show family in nature, which was a large part of the symbolism behind the moose family. Unfortunately, people and their families have been edging away from nature. We believe this is now at a crisis stage, and the Canadian Wildlife Federation and the Bateman Foundation are making very strong links to make a big push to reverse this trend, to get kids and families away from all the screens and back to nature. All children are artists, and we strongly believe we need to put nature back in the lives of our families.”
In The Moose Family, Mr. Bateman decided to make the time of year late fall as he wanted to show a bit of freezing and have the grass beginning to turn yellow. A key inspiration for this painting came from a visit to Elk Island National Park in Alberta where he noticed a skim of ice on the water. There, he came up with the idea to have a Bull Moose walk through a fairly low beaver pond with a skim of ice on the surface and have the moose break the ice, and show big fragments and bits of ice. “My paintings are always about capturing a moment of time.”
To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Canadian Wildlife Federation, the Mint is honoured to produce several coins, including:• Two gold coins (1 ounce & 1 kilo) that feature a detail of a bull moose lowering its head and antlers in a challenge stance taken from Robert Bateman’s painting, The Challenge.
For the coin designs, the decision was made that the theme would be moose. “Having a moose theme just seemed an obvious thing,” said Mr. Bateman. “It just has a nice continuity and I like the whole harmony of moose. Moose have a very stately visage and powerful antlers, and have a nice big form to show on the coins. The moose represents Canada and represents the map of Canada as well. The moose has a power and a kind of awkward charm. Canada has charm, just not the kind of movie star charm that some other countries may have. We have an awkward charm.”
The process of working with the Mint’s engravers proved to be straightforward and enjoyable and he noted how he appreciated that the engravers understand the subtlety of design. “I simplified the paintings into a line drawing that the engravers used. I wanted the power and the forcefulness of the moose head. I am always conscious of the negative space, the element of the subject matter, the Yin and Yang. I wanted to keep the coin designs nice and clean. I like the clarity of the moose head, how it fills up the space on the coin and the sculptural forms of the moose’s face.”
And although Mr. Bateman never thought his paintings would be used for a coin design, that because he considers the Canadian Wildlife Federation the primary conservation body in Canada, he realized that the Mint’s use of his moose designs for the 50th Anniversary of the Canadian Wildlife Federation commemorative coins was a perfect marriage of ideas.
To learn more about Robert Bateman please visit robertbateman.ca
Fine Silver $20 Coin - Robert Bateman Moose (2012)
Fine Gold $200 Coin - Robert Bateman Moose (2012)
Fine Silver 1-Kilogram $250 Coin - Robert Bateman Moose (2012)
Platinum $300 Coin - Robert Bateman Moose (2012)
Fine Gold 1-Kilogram $2,500 Coin - Robert Bateman Moose (2012)