Competition Winner

2011 Along the Edgewater – American Wigeon


W. Allan Hancock has had a fascination with the natural world from his childhood days. Allan spent most of his youth in Saskatchewan where abandoned homesteads and the remnants of human heritage also began to leave a lasting impression. Today Allan continues to share these two interests, reflecting on the passing of time and our influence on this world.

Allan’s art career began in 1989 when he accepted a full-time position as a wildlife artist for a greeting card company. He soon found gallery representation and a growing demand for his work. Drawn to its natural beauty and abundance of wildlife, Allan moved to Vancouver Island in 1995 to pursue a self-employed art career full-time.

Allan’s artwork has been selected for numerous fund-raising projects for wildlife and habitat conservation purposes. He is the youngest artist ever selected as Ducks Unlimited Canada’s Artist of the Year and was honoured with the Waterfowl Art Award in 1996. His artwork is also featured on the 2005 Canadian Wildlife Habitat Conservation Stamp. His paintings can be found in collections throughout Canada, the United States, Europe and Asia.

Allan resides in the Comox Valley with his wife Taryn and their children Ezra and Sage. He is represented by the Peninsula Gallery in Sidney, BC, and the Birthplace of BC Gallery in Fort Langley, BC.

To see more of Allan’s work, please visit his website.


“Every painting begins with inspiration. Along The Edgewater – American Wigeon was inspired by many visits to the Courtenay Estuary, a short walk from where I live. The estuary is located at the mouth of the Courtenay River and is a popular spot for a great variety of waterfowl including American Wigeon.

“On many occasions I have watched the wigeon swim past the remnants of an old bridge and decided on this setting for a number of reasons. I particularly enjoy the textures of the old pilings. I find their rough surfaces, pronounced by sunlight, provide an interesting contrast to the delicate features of the leaves, grasses and feather patterns. I also like the strong verticals the pilings provide the composition as opposed to the horizontal movement of the ducks, the water and the blackberry bramble.   But most importantly, I like to include a human element in many of my paintings as a reminder of our influence on the natural world.

“I wanted to be certain to depict accurate features in regards to time of year. After some research and personal observations I decided on early October here on Vancouver Island. The American Wigeon have returned to their breeding plumage after a summer molt and I find the colours of the blackberry brambles are more visually appealing at this time of year.*

“As an artist, the natural world provides me with an abundance of inspiration every day. And in all my outings I have always found a rich and exciting habitat along the edgewater.” – W. Allan Hancock

* The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Western North America, 2003, page 77.