Brotherly competition and knowledge of the contest for the 2020-21 Alabama Waterfowl Stamp encouraged Alexander City native Jim Denney to enter for a fourth time in the contest’s 40 years.
“I made a very particular effort knowing this was the last one,” Denney said. “I’m happy I won, but I’m sad to see it go.”
Denney’s twin brother John has won the contest three times in the past. The contest has taken their sibling rivalry to the next level.
“There is a little competition between us,” Jim said. “He was not eligible this year so we were not able to go head to head. I have only entered the contest four times and won four times. (John) has entered five times and won three times, so his winning percentage is not as good as mine.”
The contest is used to select the artwork of the waterfowl stamp required when hunting waterfowl in Alabama.
Jim has also won the contest for the stamp in 2008, 2012 and 2016. The 2020 win makes him the contest’s only four-time winner. Between the Denney brothers, they have seven of the 40 stamps.
Jim is also a photographer and tries to use photographs to help create his paintings, but he didn’t have any of the Northern Pintails featured on his entry this year.
“I try to use my own photographs, but all I had was a mount of a pintail,” Denney said. “I had originally thought about doing a Cinnamon Teal, but thought the pintail would be better for the judges.”
Denney is no newcomer to painting and art.
“I have been painting and drawing since I was a little kid,” Denney said. “I can’t say I ever stopped. I went to school and majored in it.”
Denney said he picked up photography in 2005 as a way to get photographs for his artwork.
With no waterfowl stamp in the future, hunters will be required to have either an annual or lifetime state waterfowl hunting privilege on their hunting license.
This year’s contest was judged by Roxie Veasy, professor of art, drawing and design at the University of Alabama-Huntsville; David Hayden represented the field of ornithology and is a retired assistant wildlife chief of the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division; and representing conservation was Ricky Ingram, manager of Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge.
Entries were judged on suitability for reproduction as a stamp, originality, artistic composition, anatomical accuracy and general rendering. The designs were limited to living species of North American migratory ducks or geese. Winning species from the past three years — Canada Goose, American Green-winged Teal and Wood Duck — were not eligible subjects for the contest this year.