By Starrla Cray
DELANO, MN It’s rare to find a wildlife painter with the talent of Bob Hautman of Delano, who won second place in the Minnesota 2010 Migratory Waterfowl Stamp (Duck Stamp) contest, but to find three brothers who all have award-winning painting skills is almost unheard of.
At last count, Bob and his brothers, Jim and Joe, have had their art featured on more than 40 state and federal conservation stamps.
“We’re the duck stamp guys,” Bob said.
Bob has entered the Minnesota Duck Stamp Contest eight times, and he’s won first place three times.
He has also won the Federal Duck Stamp contest, which features more than 300 artists from all over the US.
The Hautmans are the only brothers to win the contest, which they have won eight times.
This year, judging for the federal contest will be in Washington DC Saturday, Oct. 17.
“Joe won it last year, so he can’t enter,” Bob said.
Bob is hopeful about winning this year’s contest.
“I think it’s the best one I’ve done, so I don’t know,” he said, adding that different paintings are submitted for the state and federal competitions.
Bob, who has been a full-time artist for 25 years, has created hundreds of duck paintings in his lifetime.
“Ducks are my favorite,” he said.
For inspiration, he enjoys watching the ducks in his own pond. Bob and his wife, Dodie Logue, live on 60 acres that they restored into a wildlife preserve.
“My studio has huge windows that look out over the prairie,” he said. “I look out and try to get ideas.”
Bob’s wife is also an accomplished artist, who paints outdoor landscapes and creates pottery and sculptures.
Bob credits his success to the influence of his parents and a supportive family environment. His mother, Elaine, is an accomplished painter, and his late father, Tom, instilled in him a love of nature.
Before becoming artists, the Hautman brothers painted houses and did roofing projects.
“We just started seeing if we could make any money painting ducks instead of houses,” Bob said.
In 1983, Bob started painting “Birds on Boards” and selling at local art fairs.
“We were painting ducks on pieces of driftwood,” he said.
Bob won his first Minnesota Duck Stamp contest in 1987, and his art has continued to gain exposure ever since.
The Hautmans’ artwork has been displayed in the Oval Office and the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC.
Their work is also featured on products such as comforters, bath accessories, mugs, puzzles, and more.
“Pretty much any store you go into that sells calendars and clocks and things, you’ll see our stuff,” Bob said.
He also sells prints of his paintings.
Bob’s second place Minnesota Duck Stamp painting was chosen from among 46 entries in the contest, sponsored by the Department of Natural Resources.
The DNR offers no prizes for the stamp contest winner, but the winning artist retains the right to reproduce the work. All Minnesota waterfowl hunters ages 18 through 64 are required to purchase the $7.50 stamp. Stamp sales generate between $500,000 and $900,000 per year for habitat enhancement programs in state wildlife management areas and shallow lakes.
The first place winner was Mark Kness of Albert Lea. The other finalists included Stephen Hamrick of Lakeville, David Chapman of Minnetonka, Kevin Nelson of Burnsville, and Thomas Gross of Cottage Grove.
To learn more about the Hautmans’ artwork, go to www.hautman.com.