John Denney of Alexander City is the winner of the 2014-2015 Alabama Waterfowl Stamp Art Contest with his painting of a pair of pintail ducks. Denney is a second-time winner of the Alabama Waterfowl Stamp Art Contest, having previously received the honor in 2008, and was first runner-up last year.
Denney said his matte acrylic painting took approximately two months to complete.
"To me, the pintail is one of the most handsome ducks, so that’s why I chose to paint it. My prior entries were both wood ducks," Denney remarked.
A pair of pintails was also the subject chosen by first runner-up Eddie LeRoy of Eufaula, who is a previous two-time contest winner as well. A pair of Canada geese painted by Darrell C. Warr of Montgomery was selected as second runner-up, followed by a northern shoveler by Bill Stem of Madison as third runner-up. Fourth runner-up was a blue-winged teal painted by John Romine of Owens Cross Roads.
Entries were judged on suitability for reproduction as a stamp, originality, artistic composition, anatomical accuracy and general rendering. The designs were limited to living species of North American migratory ducks or geese, and winning species from the past three years – American widgeon, ringneck and Ross’s goose – were not eligible subjects for the contest this year.
The artwork was judged by a panel of experts in the fields of art, ornithology and conservation. Representing the field of art was Mary Barwick, an author and book illustrator. Representing the field of ornithology was John Earl, a graduate of the University of Georgia in Forest Resource Management and currently the manager of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Eufaula Wildlife Refuge. Representing the field of conservation was Chad Hughey, a long-time member and current chairman of the Alabama Chapter of Ducks Unlimited.
Hughey said the judges had a difficult time selecting the winning painting.
"There were some outstanding entries. I am very fortunate to have been a part of the selection process," he said. "Ducks Unlimited strongly supports the federal and state duck stamp programs."
The annual contest is sponsored by the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division and is open to resident Alabama artists only. Assistant Wildlife Chief David Hayden encourages all Alabama artists to participate in the contest.
"We’d love to have more people submit their artwork," he said. "Past contest entries have included works in oil, watercolor, acrylic and mixed media, all of which are eligible."
There is plenty of time for artists to select their subject and paint it before the next competition. Artwork will be accepted from January 1 to February 18, 2014. Potential artists should visit www.outdooralabama.com/programs/waterfowl for complete information on the contest.