For the second time in four years, Jeff Klinefelter took home first place in the Louisiana Waterfowl Conservation Stamp Competition sponsored by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF).
After a second place finish in last year's competition, the Indiana native beat out seven other competitors including Timothy Turenne from Minnesota who came in second. Third place went to Louisiana's own Ralph Marino Jr. of Baton Rouge.
"I can hardly believe I won again. This is such a great honor and feeling," said Klinefelter.
Klinefelter's painting of a golden retriever majestically posing with his nose pointing forward as a male and female wood duck fly above a cypress swamp with the same retriever in the background retrieving a downed wood duck will be featured on the 2008 Louisiana Duck Stamp. He was also recently recognized at the Wildlife and Fisheries Commission's November meeting.
"The painting took me about three to four weeks," said Klinefelter. "The hardest part was the golden retriever in the background with the duck in his mouth. However, I had a good model to work off of for the painting."
Klinefelter has made quite a name for himself within the wildlife art community. He has now won 13 migratory bird stamp competitions in 10 different states since 1993. He also won numerous trout and salmon stamp and upland game bird stamp competitions.
Turenne has previously won the 2006 Maryland Black Bear Conservation Stamp, 2007 Minnesota Turkey Stamp and the 2008 Colorado Habitat Stamp competitions.
Marino Jr. started his career as an illustrator in the NASA moon mission program. His works have been included in the Animals in Art Show at the LSU Veterinary School, the River Roads Annual International Exhibition and the New Orleans Watercolor Exhibition. His paintings focus on the varied landscapes of Louisiana with interest in the rivers and bayous.
LDWF initiated the "Retrievers Save Game" series four years ago when it featured a black Labrador, because all of the waterfowl species were used in the first 16 years of the competition. The contest rules stipulate that the retriever must be prominent in the design, which must also include live waterfowl selected by the artist.
The Louisiana Waterfowl Conservation Stamp program was established in 1988 by the Louisiana Legislature to generate revenue for conservation and enhancement of state wetlands and other worthy programs that benefit Louisiana's ducks and geese. This program has generated over $9.5 million for wetland conservation in Louisiana since 1989, with over $500,000 from last year's competition alone.
"These dollars have helped acquire several tracts of land in need of duck and geese habitat improvement," Robert Helm, LDWF waterfowl program manager said. "Money is also budgeted each year from this fund to help repair levees and perform other wetland management practices on our state's Wildlife Management Areas. This money is extremely important to this department and to waterfowl and wetland habitats."
The Louisiana Waterfowl Program, a cooperative endeavor that includes LDWF, Ducks Unlimited (DU) and the Federal Natural Resources Conservation Services, has also benefited private lands.
Helm said that prints of the Klinefelter's painting would be available from the artist this summer. The 20th anniversary 2008-09 stamp, featuring Klinefelter's work, is expected to go on sale June 1, 2008. The artist will retain the original artwork and will have reproduction rights to the image for prints and other commodities after LDWF has used the image to produce the stamps.
Judges for the competition included Dr. Headley Adelmann, artist and retired biology professor from Hammond; Jerry Bower, frame shop and art studio owner in Lafayette; Joe Herring, a retired former LDWF secretary and wildlife biologist from Baton Rouge; Tony Bernard, last year's winner of the duck stamp competition from Lafayette; and Robert Walker, the current state DU chairman from Baton Rouge.
For more information, contact Robert Helm at 225-765-2358 or firstname.lastname@example.org.