Dwight Gagnon, of Benton Falls, was named the winner of the 2017 Common Ground Country Fair poster contest. This was the fifth time in the last seven years he had entered the contest. MOFGA’s 41st annual Common Ground Country Fair will be held Sept. 22-24 on MOFGA’s grounds in Unity.

Gagnon’s 2017 winning design for the fair poster and other items features three roosting Columbian Wyandotte chickens. This uncommon poultry variety is well suited to Maine’s climate and is raised for both meat and egg production, according to a MOFGA news release.

Gagnon lives in Benton with his wife, Kay. That’s also where the small flock of Wyandottes lived. “I went out to the hen house one night in February, when it was cold and dark,” said Gagnon, according to the release. “Chickens really hold still when they can’t see in the dark. I photographed them and surprised them.”

He turned that photo into a 2-by-3-foot acrylic on canvas painting, transferring the design square by square using a grid technique described in his recent Pecha Kucha presentation.

“There were no art programs where I went to high school,” said Gagnon, according to the release, “so I took drafting,” and he still uses drafting modes (grids) in his art.

Regarding winning this year, “I am so thrilled,” said Gagnon, according to the release. “I was in the garage one afternoon” when fair director April Boucher called to say he won. “I wasn’t even going to enter this year.” He didn’t think he could make the early August deadline, but when he was at Winterberry Farm in Belgrade on Open Farm Day, he saw other winning fair posters hanging at the farm market there. “I said, ‘Gosh. The poster deadline is coming up and I’m never going to make it.’ But I just set into it and did it!”

Gagnon will sign posters at the fair.

MOFGA is accepting artwork submissions for the 2018 Common Ground County Fair until Aug. 4. Guidelines and the contest entry form are available on mofga.org.

For more information, email [email protected] or call 568-4142.