Florida Artist Wins 2017 California Duck Stamp Art Contest

A painting by John Nelson Harris of Groveland, Fla., has been chosen as the winner of the 2017 California Duck Stamp Art Contest. The painting, which depicts a ruddy duck, will be the official design for the 2017-2018 stamp.

The veteran wildlife artist is a repeat champion, having previously claimed the first-place honor in the 2014 California Duck Stamp Art Contest.

“I am proud to have my art once again represent the great state of California and its waterfowl program,” said Harris.

Following the contest Tuesday in Davis, the judges praised the anatomical accuracy of his victorious painting, in particular the “impressive attention to feather detail” that produced a lush, “layered” feel.

“What you strive for when you are creating something is to capture the nuances of the species,” Harris said. “I try to get a balance between the soft areas that can be muted to the eye and also the hard areas where you can see everything. In this case I went back and softened it up when I had a bit too much detail.”

Artists from around the country submitted entries for the contest, sponsored by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). Mark Kness of

Albert Lea, Minn., placed second, Jeffrey Klinefelter of Etna Green, Ind., placed third and Roberta “Roby” Baer of Redding received honorable mention.

The top four paintings will be displayed at the Pacific Flyway Decoy Association’s 47th Annual Classic Wildlife Art Festival, which is scheduled July 22-23 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.

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Media Contacts:
Kyle Orr, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8958

Melanie Weaver, CDFW Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-3717