A painting by Mark Thone of Shakopee, Minnesota, has been chosen as the winner of the 2018-19 California Duck Stamp Art Contest. The painting, which depicts five black brant, a species of goose, in flight over an estuary containing eel grass, will be the official design for the 2018-19 stamp.
“It is interesting that a guy from the Midwest has such an interest in black brant, but they are so unique, and they were the subject of one of my first duck stamp contest entries in another state,” said Thone, a professional artist. “With this painting I wanted to show them in an estuary in a typical California setting that reflects their connection to eel grass, which they eat.”
Following the contest held June 19 in Davis, the judges praised the anatomical accuracy of Thone’s painting, with one also noting that the birds “filled the frame” of the painting in a fashion that will highlight the species on the stamp.
Artists from around the country submitted entries for the contest, sponsored by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). Erik Fleet of Julian placed second, Roberta “Roby” Baer of Redding placed third and Jeffrey Klinefelter of Etna Green, Ind. received honorable mention.
The top four paintings will be displayed at the Pacific Flyway Decoy Association’s 48th Annual Classic Wildlife Art Festival, which is scheduled July 21-22 in Sacramento.
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.
The species for the 2019-20 California Duck Stamp Art Contest will be the northern pintail.