Rod Lawrence graduated with a fine arts degree, magna cum laude, from the University of Michigan in 1973. Since then he has been working full-time as a professional artist. His credits include being named the Michigan Ducks Unlimited Artist of the Year in 1979 and the Michigan United Conservation Club’s Michigan Wildlife Artist of the Year in 1981. He has the winning designs for the 1981, 1987, and 1992 Michigan Trout Stamps. He had an unprecedented double win for both the 1995 Michigan Duck Stamp and 1995 Michigan Trout Stamp. He also won the 1983, 1990, 2000, 2002 & 2007 Michigan Duck Stamp design contests. He is one of only two artists to win six Michigan Duck Stamps and one of only two artists to win four Michigan Trout Stamps. He is a Signature Member of the Society of Animal Artists.
Lawrence has exhibited in many group and one-man shows, including the prestigious Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum’s “Birds in Art” and “Wildlife: The artist’s View”, Bennington Center for the Art’s “Art of the Animal Kingdom” and The Society of Animal Artists annual show.From these shows his work has been chosen several times for their national tour. His art has appeared as covers, illustrations and features in many outdoor magazines. Three sets of limited edition collector plates also feature his work. He is an active instructor for artists’ workshops. An instructional book “Painting Wildlife Textures” written and illustrated by Lawrence was published and released by North Light Books in March of 1997. The book was released in both an English and Chinese edition. A second instructional book, called “Painting Basics – Waterfowl & Wading Birds” was released in December of 2000. He is the co-author of the instructional book “Wildlife” for Walter Foster Publishing, which was released in the fall of 2004. A revised version of this book authored entirely by Lawrence titled “Animals” was released in 2009. His book “Painting Wildlife Textures” was updated and re-released as a “classic” by the publisher, North Light Books in 2011.
A log cabin in the hardwoods of northern Michigan, overlooking the North branch of the Manistee River, is home for Lawrence and his wife, Susan, his high school sweetheart. The symbol preceding his signature in each of his painting shows the importance of his family in his work. The oddly shaped “S” is for his wife Susan, and the “M” and “B” represent their grown sons, Matthew and Brett. Sue is an acomplished basket weaver, instructer and teaches 6th, 7th, and 8th grade, all subjects in a one-room school not far from their home.
The main focus of Rod’s art currently is painting commissions for collectors and special venues such as the Woodson Art Museum’s “Birds in Art” show, the Society of Animal Artists annual members exhibition, the Bennington Center fo rthe Arts “Art of the Animal Kingdom” and others. Rod’s paintings were again juried into the Birds in Art show 2013, and the Society of Animal Artists 53rd Annual Members Exhibition. His painting in the SAA show was selected for an Award of Excellence in October, 2013.
Rod likes an active lifestyle and in addition to excursions to research and photograph his wildlife subjects, he enjoys hunting, tennis, and basketball. In 2009 he was one of a crew of four that sailed a 36′ sailboat from Norfolk, VA to Bermuda (640 miles out in the ocean) and back. That same year he was one of three wildlife artists on an expedition through WREAF (Wilderness River Expedition Art Foundation) that canoed across Quebec from Shefferville to the George River. Rod also sailed through the Soo Locks up to Isle Royal. Most recently he surprised Sue and the two of them went skydiving at 10,000 feet above Harbor Springs, Michigan.