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Lake Tomahawk artist has artwork selected for two out of three wildlife stamps

TOMAHAWK, Wis. (WXPR) - A 30-year-old Lake Tomahawk artist has been selected to place not one, but two of his artworks on Wisconsin conservation wildlife stamps.

This is the fifth time in the history of the three stamp design contests that the same artist has painted the winning design for both the pheasant and waterfowl stamps. Caleb Metrich is a mostly self-taught artist with a love of the outdoors. Previously, he also won the state turkey stamp, and was named "Artist of the Year" by Ducks Unlimited. He says he's honed his craft by trial and error. “All my artistic ability has come from trial and error over the years. I've had, I mean, so many discouraging moments painting and stuff, I just wanted to give up, but over the years, I've gotten better."

Metrich says he takes many photographs which help in his painting. He says he tried 8 times to win the duck stamp print, and he says some artists get discouraged and give up. “It's always been a dream I've had, a goal I set for myself. I remember as a little kid I would see that stamps and I thought, "how awesome it would be to have artwork on a stamp", but I never, ever thought in a million years that I would have the opportunity for mine to grace the conservation stamps."

He says his father is a taxidermist and when he was young, he would draw as his father worked. He tried painting for the first time around age 13. He dabbled in it through high school, but says in the last 3 years he's put much effort into his work. Metrich's advice to beginning painters is don't force it, and paint what comes naturally.

The other winning artwork is also from central Wisconsin.  Virgil Beck of Stevens Point took the top prize for the wild turkey stamp with a woodland scene of a strutting gobbler.