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Local Legend - Whitetail Deer By Jim Hautman

By Jim Hautman

Local Legend - Whitetail Deer by Jim Hautman

This is an old sold out print of a Whitetail buck in a picked cornfield. This print has been hand signed and numbered by wildlife artist James Hautman. Whitetail deer art prints for sale Recent Article By BILL WARD, Mpls. Star Tribune Last update: October 18, 2008 - 9:27 PM Turns out, Chanhassen artist Jim Hautman knows a winner when he sees one. When he went online to look over the work of his 269 rivals in the 2009-2010 U.S. Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp competition, he had the winner "pegged from the get-go."

Hautman the painter fared almost as well as Hautman the prognosticator on Saturday, as his depiction of Canada geese finished second to Joshua Spies' long-tailed-duck painting at the Bloomington Center for the Arts. "That was the one I feared the most," said Hautman, a victor in 1990, 1995 and 1999.

Spiese, on the other hand, was a first-time winner but the third painter from Watertown, S.D., to have his work secure this honor, joining Terry Redlin and John Wilson.

"I didn't dress up because I didn't want to jinx myself," Spies, 35, told the crowd of about 500. "Last year, I got voted out in the first round. So to all you artists out there, keep pounding at it."

Spies had seen only one long-tailed duck up close -- they're seafaring birds "but sometimes they screw up on the flight pattern," he said -- so he relied on "lots and lots of photos" to portray a pair of the birds on canvas. It took a few weeks, "and I don't know how many hours. When you love to do something, you don't count the hours."

A few other contestants had painted long-tailed ducks but had been eliminated because of improper backgrounds, said judge Wes Miller. "The other entries had the long tails in vegetation, which is not right," said Miller, of Clearwater, Fla. "Some very good artwork did not get in because of the wrong setting. It has to be technically correct, in anatomy and habitat."

Miller, a stamp collector, was one of five judges with different specialties or backgrounds; the others were a wildlife professional, an art professional, a hunter and an educator. On Friday, they worked through the 270 entries (40 from Minnesotans), simply rating them "in" or "out" by majority rule. Spies and Hautman were among only five artists who got "in" unanimously. That pared the field to 43.

Saturday morning, the judges gave each of those entries a rating between 1 and 5, holding up the scores as in the Olympics. One of their tools looked like a magnifying glass but was actually a "rendering glass" that "takes the picture down so you can see what it looks like small," Miller said. That round winnowed the competition down to five.

Spies earned 24 points to 20 for Hautman and Gerald Mobley of Claremore, Okla., whom Hautman vanquished in a subsequent "judge-off.'' for second place. Then it was time for Spies to celebrate.

"In about 4 minutes from right now [it was 11:56 a.m.], the pheasant season is gonna open in South Dakota. A group of friends are out there, and they're texting me like crazy. But it's worth missing that for this, of course," he said. "I'm gonna go have a couple of bottles of wine tonight."

Will it be, uh, Cold Duck?

"Nope,'' said Spies. "And it won't be Boone's Farm, either."

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