John Denney of Alexander City, Ala., is the winner of this year’s Alabama Waterfowl Stamp Art Contest with his painting of an American Green-winged Teal. This makes Denney a three-time winner, having previously won the 2014-15 and 2009-10 contests. Artists are ineligible to submit an entry for three years after winning the contest.

“I am very honored to become a three-time winner,” said Denney. “There are only a few other artists that have done it. I consider myself in good company.”

The winning artwork will be used as the design of the 2018-19 Alabama Waterfowl Stamp, which is required when hunting waterfowl in Alabama. Funds generated by the sales of waterfowl stamps at both the state and federal levels are used for conservation of waterfowl habitat.

Nine artists entered the contest this year. Barbara Keel Lundsford and Beverly Smith tied for first runner-up. Bill Stem was second runner-up. Third runner-up was Eric Greene.

The challenge of painting an American Green-winged Teal was what drew Denney to the species.

“In addition to being a very handsome duck, I had never painted one for a duck stamp competition,” Denney said. “The main challenge to painting any species is getting good reference photos and material to work from. If I have that to start with, it greatly increases my odds of being successful. It’s always a challenge to try something new.”

The waterfowl stamp art contest not only helps to conserve waterfowl habitat, it also fosters a connection with the outdoors. 

“Seeing ducks in the wild is spectacular,” said Denney. “I look forward to photographing them every season for new inspiration and ideas for paintings.” 

A panel of experts in the fields of art, ornithology and conservation judged the contest. Representing the field of art was Dr. Mary Beth Johns, Assistant Professor of Visual Art Education at Athens State University. Representing the field of ornithology was Dr. Gary Hepp, retired Auburn University Professor of Waterfowl and Wetland Ecology. Representing the field of conservation was Ricky Ingram, Manager of the 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 geese, American widgeon, and Mallard – were not eligible subjects for the contest this year.

The annual contest is sponsored by the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division and is open to resident Alabama artists only. Artists should visit for complete information on how to enter future contests.

The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through four divisions: Marine Resources, State Lands, State Parks, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. To learn more about ADCNR, visit