A painting of northern pintails by Frank Dolphens, Jr. of Omaha, Nebraska has been chosen as the winner of the 2019 California Duck Stamp Art Contest. The image will be the official design for the 2019-2020 stamp.
The contest judges praised the anatomical accuracy of Dolphens’s painting, as well as the accuracy of the habitat. They complimented the excellent body shape and the contrast between the subjects and the background, which seems to make the pintails “pop” off the canvas. The judges also appreciated the three-bird composition and the fact that both sexes were represented.
Artists from around the country submitted entries for the contest, sponsored by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). John Nelson Harris of Groveland, Florida placed second, Jeffrey Klinefelter of Etna Green, Indiana placed third. California artist Roberta Baer of Redding received honorable mention.
The top four paintings will be displayed at the Pacific Flyway Decoy Association’s 49th Annual Classic Wildlife Art Festival, which is scheduled July 20 and 21 in Sacramento.
“I have always admired the northern pintail,” said Dolphens. “I am inspired by their mysticism and their colors and was anxious to enter this year’s contest to portray these characteristics in the painting. I wanted to present the pintails in a grouping to show the strength of their colors in a background setting that enhanced their features.”
Since 1971, the California Duck Stamp Program’s annual contest has attracted top wildlife artists from around the country. The contest is traditionally open to artists from all 50 states in order to ensure a wide pool of submissions. All proceeds generated from stamp sales go directly to waterfowl conservation projects throughout California.
In the past, hunters were required to purchase and affix the stamp to their hunting licenses. Today, hunters are no longer required to carry the stamps because California’s modern licensing system prints proof of additional fees paid directly onto the license. However, CDFW still produces the stamps, which can be requested on CDFW’s website at www.wildlife.ca.gov/licensing/collector-stamps.