Kreutzjans wins two stamp art contests |

Kreutzjans wins two stamp art contests

by Maureen Angel

With her recent first place win in the State Trout Stamp Art Contest, Washoe Valley artist Jani Kreutzjans once again has painted her way into Nevada history.

Not only was she the first Nevada artist to win in the 20-year history of the state duck stamp art competition held earlier this year by winning the trout contest in August, she became the first artist to win both of the state’s stamp competitions in the same year.

Thirteen years ago, she began entering the Nevada duck and trout stamp competitions, placing in the top 10 on six separate occasions. She placed fifth in 1996 and second in 1997 in the duck stamp program. In 1991, her entry featuring a pair of kokanee salmon won the state’s trout stamp contest.

The artist, who has no formal art training, has been painting as far back as she can remember.

“I’m ecstatic, I still can’t believe it – it’ such an honor,” Kreutzjans said. “I’ve been working so long on this, and now to actually win both contests in one year is just so exciting.”

Before submitting her contest entries, the artist says that she always shows her finished paintings to her husband John, a licensed taxidermist, for his critique and comments.

“After looking over my trout stamp entry, John paid me the ultimate compliment, telling me, “This is so good, it’s almost like you didn’t paint it.'”

Kreutzjans’ life-like rendition of a redband rainbow trout, ready to strike a fly angler’s strategically placed nymph, will be depicted in full color on the 1999 state trout stamp.

Although there is no financial prize, the artist retains full reproduction rights and usually produces limited edition reprints that sell for approximately $140. In addition, the artist donates 75 special Conservation Edition prints that are auctioned off at various wildlife organization fund-raising banquets each year throughout the state.

Kreutzjans’ painting will also grace the cover of the state’s 1999 fishing seasons and regulations booklet available in early February of next year.

The state trout stamp, required of all anglers 12 years of age and older who fish for, or possess trout, will also be available in February.

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the trout stamps is used to pay for the division’s newest fish hatchery on the Mason Valley Wildlife Management Area near Yerington.

While a few states still conduct art contests to solicit high quality artwork to be portrayed in full color on their stamps, many are discontinuing the contests and are electing to commission an artist to simply paint a picture of the species chosen for that state’s stamp, according to David Rice, NDOW’s art contest coordinator.

“As more and more state wildlife agencies have dropped their duck and trout stamp contest, we have experienced an increase in not only the number of entries, but the quality as well,” Rice said.

“The overall quality of the entries in this year’s contest was by far the best I have seen in 20 years. Ms. Kreutzjans should be very proud that she placed first amongst the stiffest competition in the history of the contest.”

The state trout stamp contest was sponsored this year by the Northeastern Chapter of Trout Unlimited. The contest judging was held to coincide with Trout Unlimited’s national convention that was held in Reno, Aug. 12-16.

The redband trout is found in northeastern Nevada streams. It is thought to be descended from fish that ventured into northeastern Nevada possibly 30,000 years ago from the Columbia River system. They have become established in many stream and river systems in that general area including the Jarbidge, Owyhee, Bruneau and Salmon Falls. Unless you are a fish taxonomist, it is safe to refer to Nevada’s redband trout as a native rainbow trout, probably most closely related to the steelhead trout.

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