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It is an unprecedented win.

No other artist has won the prestigious Iowa Duck Stamp competition more than three times.

Sioux City artist Darren Maurer had already exceeded that mark last year when his painting of a hooded merganser captured the honor for the 2011 stamp. That was his fourth win.

Now, just last week, he won again.

The 2012 Iowa Duck Stamp will be a pair of blue-wing teal which sprang to life, so to speak, from Maurer's artist's brush.

"I never believed I'd win one stamp contest, let alone five," Maurer said.

When he entered the first contest back in 2000, he was painting antique fishing lures and a friend asked if he had ever entered a duck stamp contest.

"That's when I first thought about it," he said. "I thought I could probably paint a duck."

He won both the 2001 and 2002 Iowa Duck Stamp contests, making him the only artist ever to win back to back competitions in the 39-year history of the contest.

But, the laurels do not stop there.

He also was named Iowa Ducks Unlimited Artist of the year in 2007 and again in 2010.

But to think of Darren as only a wildlife artist would be wrong. He paints many different subjects. He does landscapes, portraits, animals and other subjects.

To view some of his work, see his web site at:

Four years ago he also started a blog called "Miniature Masterpieces." A link on his home page will take you there.

"The idea was to do small paintings," he said. "They are more affordable for people who want original artwork. That has gone very well.

"Much of what I paint in miniature is just something I see," he said. "A cup of coffee with a spoon in it. That's a painting. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich. That's a painting. An apple sitting on a table. That's a painting.

"I started selling them on e-bay and people just went nuts for them," he continued. "I do a lot of still lifes of food."

Over the years, Darren has done work for many magazines including In-Fisherman. Limited edition prints of his paintings are available and he can be commissioned for originals.

"For larger art pieces, I prefer to work in oils," he said. "But I also work in acrylic and watercolors."

As a child growing up in Grand Island, Neb., Maurer said he was always drawing. When he moved to Sioux City and took a job with Kern Advertising, he began to paint in watercolors.

Darren and his wife ShLoe have two daughters, Taylor, 18, is a student at Iowa State University and Emily, 16 attends West High School.

When Kern Advertising closed in the fall of 2009, Darren opened his own sign business working out of his home. His office today is in a newly remodeled loft in his garage.

Perhaps yet another winning duck painting will be created there.


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