By Yvonne Dick
Gemma Rebekah Sansalone, 14, knows what it means to go up against Robert Bateman.
One of the winners of the Robert Bateman – Get to Know Contest, Sansalone has been involved with art as long as she can remember.
“I got my entry in just in time by mail,” says Sansalone, a part-time Ponoka resicdent. “Last year they made a short list of entries, and I was on that. This year they skipped that process and I was one of the people to win the award.”
Sansalone and her family travelled to Kelowna, B.C. June 8 to accept the award from Robert Bateman and Robert Wyland, an American artist. June 8 was also Bateman’s 80th birthday and International World Oceans Day.
“The get to know your neighbours contest was all about getting to know the wildlife and plants in our world,” says Sansalone. Her entry, Meet Your Neighbours, can be viewed online along with the other 11 winning entries at http://www.gettoknow.ca/ca/contest/winners.php# This year’s contest theme was Celebrate Biodiversity, and encouraged youths to go outdoors, and to zoos and aquariums to become acquainted with wildlife in their area.
As part of her prize, Sansalone will get to attend an art camp week in Waterton Lakes National Park in August, including workshops taught by award presenters Wyland and Bateman.
“I want to improve my art at the camp, and I want to learn how to really take what I see and transfer it into my painting, so that I’m painting what I see instead of from a photograph.” says Sansalone, who wants to paint things as they are in nature, while they are happening.
She enjoys all different sort of art mediums including pencil, acrylic, oil and offers young artists this sound advice: “It takes all your determination, but don’t give up.”