Cloquet resident paints a walleye winnerThe Department of Natural Resources selected Stuart Nelson's painting of a walleye about to strike a leech and jig as the winning entry in this year’s contest.
By: Christa Lawler/Duluth News Tribune, Pine Journal
Stuart Nelson knew he had a winner on his hands.
He finished his submission for the Minnesota walleye stamp a few days early, and he liked what he saw.
“All I did is stare at it and refine a few things,” said Nelson, of Cloquet. “I showed it to a few people, and they said it really looks natural.”
The Department of Natural Resources selected his painting of a walleye about to strike a leech and jig as the winning entry in this year’s contest. This image will appear on the stamp, which comes out in the spring and isn’t necessary for walleye fishing. Money from sales of the stamp go toward stocking programs. Nelson doesn’t get prize money, but he retains rights to the image.
Nelson, who is retired, said he paints a little every day using acrylics. He does commissions, including portraits of dogs and other scenes from wildlife. He won a trout stamp contest in 1999 and was the second place finisher in last year’s walleye stamp contest. Nelson has also entered the pheasant stamp contest — but didn’t make the finals.
He is more of a fisherman than a hunter, anyway.
“You can catch and release, but you can’t shoot and release,” he said.
Judges for the contest included Don Dittberner of “Outdoor News,” Przemek Bajer of the University of Minnesota, Mark Tipler, Tips Outdoors Foundation, and Mike Kurre and Deb Rose of the DNR.
Stuart said accuracy is the most important thing when it comes to creating a stamp.