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Carson Visser, 14, has been making art since he was three years old. In 2011 his artwork captured the attention of the nation, and his painting of a barred owl is now featured on a collector’s edition postage stamp in Canada.

Carson Visser with his winning painting, “Curious Visitor.”

Visser, a member of Faith Christian Reformed Church in Burlington, Ontario, entered a competition sponsored by artist Robert Bateman and Wildlife Habitat Canada called “Get to Know Your Wild Neighbors,” an initiative aimed at getting young people away from television and computer screens and exploring the great outdoors instead.

The painting, entitled “Curious Visitor,” was inspired by a live subject that the Visser family saw up close while hiking in Bay of Fundy National Park.

“It was a rainy, dark day and I wanted to capture the mystery of the wet, mossy forest in the uncommonly dark eyes of the owl,” Visser explained, saying he knew this would be the perfect entry for the contest while he was painting it.

Although he didn’t have high expectations of winning, Visser hoped he had a chance.

“I was really honored and excited to see what God was doing,” he said, noting that this contest is what drew him into the realm of depicting nature in art, and that now he loves painting God’s creation and expressing the beautiful intricacies found in nature.

As part of his grand prize, Visser’s painting is featured on the cover of the 2012 Wildlife Habitat calendar. He was also flown to Jasper National Park in Alberta for an environmental conference in the heart of the Canadian Rocky Mountains, where he had the opportunity to meet wildlife artist Robert Bateman. He has also been invited to Ottawa and other places in North America to encourage young artists.

Visser’s artwork is on display in local galleries, and he looks forward to continuing to create art as a hobby or even a career.

“God will continue to show us what he has planned for me,” he said.

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