A painting of a Band-tailed Pigeon has been chosen by a panel of judges as the winning entry in the 2012 Upland Game Bird Stamp Art Contest. The painting by Clemente Guzman of Lockhart, Texas defeated seven other entries from across the country to become the official design for the 2012 stamp.

“I feel extremely excited and honored to win this contest,” said Guzman, who is a graphic artist. “I am tickled to death. I paint in my spare time at home and have entered these types of contests before but this is the first time I have won. My thought was to show a scene in early morning where the pigeon is flying through the mist. It is very challenging to paint a flying bird!”

The competition was sponsored by the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG). Each artist submitted their own original depiction of a Band-tailed Pigeon (Patagioenas fasciata). The setting and details were determined by the individual artists, but entries had to include at least one adult Band-tailed pigeon and if background detail was included in the design it needed to be accurate and representative of the species’ natural habitat in California.

The winning entry, which was selected at a judging event on April 16 at the Yolo Wildlife Area Headquarters in Davis, will be reproduced on the 2012 California Upland Game Bird Stamp. An upland game bird stamp is required for hunting migratory and resident upland game birds in California. Money generated from stamp sales can only be spent on upland game bird-related conservation projects, hunting opportunities, and outreach and education. DFG sells about 200,000 upland game bird stamps and validations annually, including sales to art collectors.

This year’s contest entries were judged by a panel of citizens selected for their expertise in the fields of ornithology, conservation, art and printing. Designs were judged on originality, artistic composition, anatomical accuracy, and suitability for reproduction as a stamp and print.

The judges praised the winning entry’s nuance and attention to detail. One judge said, “This piece was simply beautiful…the subtle background helped create beautiful composition while allowing the eye to focus solely on the bird in flight.”

For more information about the California Upland Game Bird Stamp program, please visit the DFG website at www.dfg.ca.gov/upstamp.

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