Bateman was always interested in art, but he never intended on making a living from it. He was fascinated by the natural world in his childhood; he recorded the sightings of all of the birds in the area of his house in Toronto. He found inspiration from the Group of Seven; he was also interested in making abstract paintings of nature. It wasn't until the mid 1960's that he changed to his present style, realism. In 1954, he graduated with a degree in geography from Victoria College in the University of Toronto. Afterwards, he attended Ontario College of Education. Although the stage was set for an expert wildlife artist, Bateman moved on to be a high school art/geography teacher. However, he still painted in his free time. It wasn't until the 1970s and 1980s that his work started to receive major recognition. Robert Bateman's show in 1987, at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, drew a large crowd for a living artist.
Bateman also has approximately six books devoted solely to his paintings. Bateman's decision in 1977 to produce reproductions of his paintings through Mill Pond Press has been criticized by some who feel that the reproductions are "overpriced posters that cheapen the legitimate art market". The reproductions are popular items, being sold in print galleries across Canada and more internationally.
Today, Robert Bateman lives in Saltspring Island in British Columbia with his second wife  Birgit Freybe Bateman. Robert Bateman Secondary School in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Robert Bateman High School in Burlington, Ontario, and Robert Bateman Elementary School, Ottawa, Ontario are named after him.
In 2000, Bateman began the Get to Know program in British Columbia to educate young people about nature and to inspire youth to connect to the natural world.
In 2005 Bateman volunteered for an assessment of chemicals present in his body that had a proven negative health effect. The assessment was sponsored by the organization Environmental Defence.
In 2007, Robert Bateman and Birgit Freybe Bateman gifted Royal Roads University with original art, giclées, photographs, sketch books and artifacts -- valued at over $11 million. Royal Roads is currently fundraising to build the Robert Bateman Centre. The Robert Bateman Centre aims to be an education centre with a range of accessible and relevant programming. The Centre will be situated in Hatley Park National Historic Site and will showcase green building technology.
from Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Bateman_(painter)
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