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Louque wins with Snow Goose

Virginia wildlife artist Ron Louque was the clear winner in the 2002 Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest. He has entered the contest every year since 1973 and has come close several times, but has never won.

Louque’s acrylic painting of a pair of snow geese bested 249 other entries and will become the 2003-2004 Federal Duck Stamp, which will go on sale July 1, 2003. The Federal Duck Stamp Contest is sponsored each year by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

“Waterfowl hunters are required to buy Duck Stamps, and stamp collectors, art lovers and conservationists have purchased Duck Stamps for years to add to their albums, enjoy as works of art, and contribute to waterfowl conservation,” said Assistant Secretary Craig Manson. “But today we’re going big time. Our National Wildlife Refuges are turning 100 and we’re asking all Americans who care about the environment to consider buying a Duck Stamp as a way of ensuring these great lands are protected for the next 100 years.”

“I am thankful that the judges appreciated my painting,” were Louque’s first words. “It’s a dream come true. I wanted a fool proof entry so I created 300 compositional studies to show to friends. I got that narrowed down to four and then was stuck. I had eight days to paint what usually takes me two weeks.”

The painting’s background depicts the lighthouse at Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.

“I wanted to use a refuge with a distinctive feature as background since next year is the National Wildlife Refuge System’s Centennial,” said Louque. “The lighthouse is such a majestic feature, plus my painting is based on the effect of light, so I called the manager at Chincoteague NWR and he sent me photos of the lighthouse. There was a flock of snow geese in the picture … it must have been a sign.”

Louque, a taxidermist since a child, used two stuffed snow geese and photographs as reference. Louque has also been an avid duck hunter since childhood.

“I wanted a painting that hit the heart, not the intellect,” said Louque. “The light source evoked an emotional response to the painting. Also, I am glad that my wife, Anne, put up with me these last six months.”

Second place in this year’s Federal Duck Stamp Contest went to Terry Doughty of Brookfield, Wisconsin, for an acrylic rendering of a male and female wood duck.

Third place, after a two-way tie, went to Karen Latham of Hastings, Minnesota for her watercolor rendition of a ring-necked duck. Latham is the mother of two Junior Duck Stamp Contest winners. Latham’s daughter Bonnie won the National Junior Duck Stamp contest a few years ago and daughter Rebecca placed third a year prior.

Judges for this year’s contest were: Tom Fulgham, editor-in-chief, Ducks Unlimited Magazine since 1997 and former editor of American Hunter.

June Lyon, artist with a Fine Arts Major has worked in most of the major mediums. Since 1987 she has spent most of her time as a wildfowl carver, earning many Best of Show awards and has served as a judge in the prestigious Ward World Waterfowl Carving Competition.

Robert McDowell, President of the International Assoc. of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, as well as long-time Director of the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife.

John P. Rogers, Former Chief of the Office of Migratory Bird Management and Assistant Regional Director for Refuges and Wildlife in Alaska. John is a retired FWS employee.

Peter Schreyer, Executive Director of the Crealde School of Art in Winterpark, Fla. Peter’s photography has been exhibited around the world, as well as published in four books of his work.

Eligible species for this year’s contest were the gadwall, snow goose, wood duck, wigeon and ring-necked duck.

The greater snow goose is slightly larger than the more common lesser snow goose. The greater snow goose nests in the extreme eastern Arctic areas of Canada and in Greenland. The geese migrate during the fall and winter months along coastal marshes and crop lands from New Jersey to North Carolina. They winter in large flocks and their raucous calling can be heard for miles.

Duck Stamps bearing this year’s winning design will go on sale at post offices, national wildlife refuges, some national retail chain stores, and various sporting-goods stores nationwide July 1, 2003. The 2003-2004 Duck Stamp will be available at select locations in both a self-adhesive format and the traditional gummed format. Duck Stamps can also be used to gain admission to those national wildlife refuges that charge entry fees.

Species eligible for the 2003 contest will be: brant, Ross’ goose, Northern shoveler, redhead and the ruddy duck.

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