by Bob Reddy, Florida Catholic (5/2/12)
LEHIGH ACRES â€“Â Trying to capture the beauty of the natural world is a challenge for any artist.Jefferson Jonescredits God for giving him the gift and talent of being a masterful painter.
Jefferson, 17, who is a parishioner at St. Raphael Parish in Lehigh Acres, takes great effort to paint Godâ€™s creation in stunning detail. In fact, he is so talented that for the past three years he has been representing the State ofFloridain the Federal Junior Duck Stamp contest. While he never won the federal competition, he is not discouraged.
â€śI am really happy with how my painting came out, and I have received such a good reaction and a huge amount of support that no matter how I placed, I am happy with where my painting has gotten me,â€ť he said.
The painting was submitted for the 2012-13 competition is a rendering of a pair of Folvous Whistling Ducks.Jeffersonput in more than 100 hours of work into the painting. He studied professional photos of the ducks in different lighting to find the right look which help capture the detail he was looking for. The ducks were difficult to paint realistically, as they have a complicated color patterns within their feathers. He did place in the top 10 out of the 53 finalists, receiving an honorable mention. The competition receives thousands of entries each year.
â€śI find that I enjoy and feel I can bring the most glory to God in painting His creatures,â€ť he said. â€śI can never truly capture the complete and total beauty of the natural world, but if I can make people have a greater appreciation for it through the detail I put into my work, then every brush stroke is well worth it.â€ť
The national judging was on April 20, inLaurel,Md., at the Patuxent Research Refuge. The winning entry will be made into the 2012-2013 Federal Junior Duck Stamp, which can be purchased for $5.
â€śI am blessed to have been a finalist,â€ťJeffersonsaid. â€śMy painting brings me great joy and I am happy that it brings joy to others. I look forward to be able to paint Godâ€™s creatures and the wonders of His natural world into the future.â€ť