A painting of mountain quail has been chosen by a panel of judges as the winning entry in the 2021-2022 California Upland Game Bird Stamp Art Contest. The painting was created by Jeffrey Klinefelter of Etna Green, Indiana.
Klinefelter previously placed first in the 2019-20, 2018-19 and 2017-18 California Upland Game Bird Stamp Art contests, as well as the 2020-21 California Duck Stamp Art Contest.
Sponsored by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), the annual contest determined the official design for this year’s California Upland Game Bird Stamp.
Contest entries were judged recently by a panel of experts selected for their knowledge 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 were immediately drawn to the realistic depiction of the mountain quail in Klinefelter’s painting, especially noting the vibrant color and excellent proportions. They commented on the accuracy of the quails’ plumes and also appreciated the lifelike sparkle in the birds’ eyes. The sharp detail in the painting contrasted well with the blurred background, creating a photographic effect, which is exactly what Klinefelter intended.
“I wanted to make the birds stand out in the design, so I made the background vague on purpose. I didn’t want it to be overpowering,” Klinefelter said. As for the quail themselves, he found it challenging to get the proportions and coloration just right. “It’s a species we don’t see in my area, so it’s a challenge when you don’t see them in real life,” he said, adding that he noticed a lot of color variation in the photographs he studied.
An upland game bird validation is required for hunting migratory and resident upland game birds in California. The validation replaces the stamp through CDFW’s Automated License Data System, but the stamp is still produced and available to hunters upon request. Monies generated from upland game bird validation sales are dedicated solely to upland game bird-related conservation projects, hunting opportunities, public outreach and education. CDFW annually sells about 165,000 upland game bird validations and distributes approximately 24,000 stamps.
Any individual who purchases an upland game bird validation may request their free collectable stamp by visiting wildlife.ca.gov/licensing/collector-stamps. An order form is also available on the website for collectors who do not purchase a hunting license or upland game bird validation, or for hunters who wish to purchase additional collectible stamps.