Richfield resident makes history in DNR stamp contest

Richfield artist Timothy Turenne painted four of the five conservation stamps that will be issued by the Minnesota DNR in 2017 – in the categories of waterfowl, turkey, trout and walleye. (Submitted images)
Richfield artist Timothy Turenne painted four of the five conservation stamps that will be issued by the Minnesota DNR in 2017 – in the categories of waterfowl, turkey, trout and walleye. (Submitted images)

The artwork of a Richfield artist has become a symbol of sorts for the state’s Department of Natural Resources.

Wildlife painter Timothy Turenne has won four of five categories for the department’s 2017 stamp contest, a feat he said no one had ever accomplished. The DNR’s winners each year get the honor of having their work turned into the conservation stamps that hunters, anglers and outdoor enthusiasts can purchase when they buy their fish and game licenses annually.

“I’ve had a great year, oh my gosh,” said Turenne, 57.

The string of good news began in February when his painting of turkeys in a field won for the DNR’s 2017 Turkey Habitat stamp. Then, the honors kept rolling in as his work won in the stamp categories of walleye, trout and waterfowl. The only category for 2017 that Turenne did not win was the pheasant stamp, which he was not allowed to enter because he had already won that category for the current year.

In fact, now, due to the rules about how often winners can enter their work, Turenne said can’t try again until 2020.turkeyfish2ducks

When asked what he’s going to do in the interim, he joked, “I don’t know, I think I’m just gonna move to Wisconsin so I can enter all of those (stamp contests.)”

He is a Wisconsin native, after all. But for now, Turenne has turned to giving tips to other contest hopefuls. “I have a formula,” he said.

Turenne explained he doesn’t go for pure realism, instead brightening up some of the scenes he paints. For example, his painting of a walleye getting hooked wouldn’t have gone over as well with the judges if it was strictly realistic.

“I wanted to do something a little bit brighter instead of the old kind of the muddy water deal,” he said. “I just wanted to brighten it up.”

Turenne is used to vibrant colors from his previous career illustrating the backs of cereal boxes for General Mills. He turned to wildlife painting professionally about 10 years ago. Prints of his work is available at wildforlife.net.