AFTER AN EXCELLENT CRITIQUE BY FIVE ARTISTS AND MY WIFE LAST WEEK, I made alterations to values and edges in the painting. I have made an additional list of needed adjustments which I will leave for latter after resting my eyes and mind from this 12 month journey into the world of the Vikings.
YOU WILL HEAR FROM ME AGAIN WHEN THE UNVEILING IS SCHEDULED in the spring. Meanwhile I will be designing two books: an educational book on color for students visiting the Runestone Museum and a book describing the project step by step with painting images and the short story illustrated by the painting .
My thanks to the Lake Region Arts Council, Bruce and Kathleen Pohlig and Jim and Anne Eidsvold, for your financial backing on the project.
THANK YOU Ellen (my wife) for your deep encouragement and support through the project.
THANK YOU Brita, Andrew, Kasey, Matty, and Cedric Soderholm for modeling as the Viking family.
THANK YOU Kelsey Patton for creating the historical costumes and sharing your historical knowledge about the Vikings. Thank you Philip Patton for sharing your expertise on the Vikings.
THANK YOU April StoneDahl for your Ojibwe basket weaving on the frame and enthusiastic support for the project from a Native American perspective.
THANK YOU Phillip Odden for your beautiful viking age carvings on the frame.
THANK YOU Rich Kephart for building the frame elements together with excellent craftsmanship.
THANK YOU Maja Sahlberg for your photography skills on the final photo shoot.
THANK YOU Joanna Hallstrom for managing the details on the final photo shoot.
THANK YOU Nadalie Junker for designing the models' hair for the photo shoot.
THANK YOU Stacy Kron for styling Brita's hair for the live painting demo.
THANK YOU Lois Johnson for coaching me on the story for the painting and loaning me your best Viking reference books!
THANK YOU Jim Bergquist and the Museum board for your support and saying "yes" to the idea of bringing a Viking family portrait into the museum!
THANK YOU readers for your helpful insights and encouraging comments.
THANK YOU to my CREATOR for giving me the ability and thrill to be creative.
THE FINISHED FRAME WAS A JOY TO SEE IN 3-D THIS WEEK - it was finished today, Thursday, December 11, 2014. Rich did an amazing job building the structure and fitting the carving and the weaving. It is the most solidly built and the most beautiful frame I have ever seen applied to one of my paintings. The painting may be lost behind some old boxes some day in a storage room, NOT THE FRAME!
The frame tells a story. The Ojibwe Black Ash basket weaving and the Nordic Viking carving design represent the two cultures meeting in north America a thousand years ago. They engaged in some way with the Sioux and Ojibwe in what is now Minnesota about 700 years ago or maybe earlier. The quarter sawn oak frame structure is similar to the oak used to build Viking ships. It is wonderful to have these very beautiful handmade elements displayed with the painting story.
This physical and emotional painting marathon has finally brought me to the finish line. I have given my best effort. I am having a couple of artist friends have consented to give the painting a final critique with their fresh eyes. What works? What needs tweaking? Their critique will provide opinions and suggestions that I must sort out with care. It is well worth the risk of getting banged around a little to discover gems of truth that will help better the painting. I can honestly say that I ran out of steam yesterday and squeezed out a few hours more this morning. After a weekend of rest I will make a few more "adjustments" next week based on the critique and give it a good long rest.
The Runestone Museum will now prepare a home wall for the painting in the next few months along with improvements to the entire Viking display. An open house will be scheduled for March or April 2015.
What's next? I will be writing some educational pieces to work with the painting at the museum. recording the process of the painting in a small book, and preparing images of the painting to be available in the Museum Gift Shop this coming spring.
THANK YOU FOR FOLLOWING THIS PROJECT over the last several months. Your interest and kind words have been encouraging and helpful along the way. I hope you will find your way over to the Museum this next year to see the Viking display and the Runestone. Some of you have told me you have not visited the Museum before. There are many very interesting things to see and learn. I will be hiding behind the painting looking for you!
THE NINTH WEEK OF PAINTING BROUGHT ME THOUGH ALL THE ELEMENTS of the painting. It is not quite finished. There are values, colors, and edges to fine tune. The ninth week of painting has spanned the last two weeks. Thanksgiving and a few other necessary committments left me with but a week of painting. My wife, Ellen, has been most helpful in giving some very helpful criticism as my eye has become somewhat lazy at this stage of the painting process. I spent today (Saturday) making some major changes to the ground area because of her keen observations on the painting last night. The color and values in the image you see are not perfect, but it gives you an idea where I am at today.
The frame is finally under way and will be completed by the end of next week. I am grateful to Rich Kephart for taking this project on. He is an excellent craftsman.
The pictures below were taken on Friday as we talked through some final details on the frame. Both the painting and frame will be finished before Christmas! Ellen will be glad to see me join her with everyday concerns again. I may even wrap a few presents!