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!
THIS WEEK WAS SPENT WORKING IN THE LOWER REGISTER OF THE PAINTING. I tackled Cedric with his horse, then the chickens to bring a little light heartedness to this painting marathon. Friday I tried to finish Matty's hair, head and shirt. The Icelandic Sheep dog is roughed in, ready for more work next week. I would like to paint through to the end of each subject in one sitting, but the day is not long enough or I am not fast enough.
The chickens, on the other hand, had my attention until I was finished. I wish I could paint the whole painting with that same abandonment of expectations as the chickens gave me. I remain steadfast in my commitment to paint the best picture I can, but I have to say I am feeling the last six miles of this marathon and am getting anxious for the finish line.
Overall, I am a month ahead of my self-imposed schedule, which will give me some time before Christmas to take care of any areas of the painting begging for attention.
The frame progress should show up in my posts in the next few weeks. I am excited to see it come together. It is now in the hands of Rich, the cabinet maker.
NOT MUCH TIME TO PAINT THIS WEEK, but I did repaint Brita's head and a few other details. There were five presentations this week showing the progress of the painting and the canvas at the Runestone Museum and Central Square in Glenwood, MN. It was a good time to reflect and be grateful for all those who have helped to make this project happen. The next time the painting is shown it will be finished and hung in the Runestone Museum in it's final resting place next to the Viking Diorama.
Next week I will begin to paint the boys in the Viking Family.
THIS WAS A WEEK FOR PROBLEM SOLVING AS MUCH AS IT WAS FOR PAINTING. The visual story seemed to be incomplete each morning that I began to paint. I went back to dozens of reference photos of Viking ships and any references showing the docking of Viking ships. As you can see I have added a ship between the family and the original ship. It is not finished, but I am happy with what it does for the visual story. I have other small image additions planned. I will leave those a surprise.
This week brings FIVE scheduled presentations about the painting in process and a power point showing the whole process from the beginning. Four presentations at the Museum: High School children on Tuesday and Wednesday, 1:50 - 2:50 p.m., a PUBLIC presentation Tuesday evening from 6 - 7:30 p.m. Cub Scouts, Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.
Thursday evening, November 13, 3:30-7:30p.m. AUTUMN MARKET FALL FUNDRAISER at Central Square, Glenwood, MN. Come, have fun, and support the Square!
GOODBYE OCTOBER! IT HAS BEEN A GOOD PAINTING MONTH. My mind and body are tired after this week of painting, but I feel good about what has been done. Hands, fingers, feet, toes, shoes, rocks, clothes, doll. I need to take a long walk and get some fresh air.
I didn't get through Brita's face again - next week. I found some interesting radio stations on the web to listen too while painting - a classical station from Toronto, Canada, and a wonderful mix of music from a Swedish station. My brush began moving faster at times with the music bringing me to the end of an intense week.
It is nice to see the figures "grounded" and little toes peeking out of the grass. Check back next week, the boys are going to begin entering the picture!
GOOD PROGRESS WAS MADE IN THE CENTER OF THE PAINTING THIS WEEK. I repainted Brita's hair and face, but feel I need to repaint the face again next week. It isn't quite right in color, value, and technique - not painterly enough for me. I added mountains in the background to frame Brita's head and add a darker value behind her head . This decision is an artistic decision that developed during the third week of painting. The mountains are all real shapes from real Norwegian fjords.
On Tuesday I painted on Brita's dress and the jewelry. I know I will have to go back and rework some of the values there. In the last two days I painted Kasey's head and dress down to the waist. I think I have the values and paint technique right in this area of the painting.
Next week my goal is to paint through the dresses for Brita and Kasey including their hands and feet. This should give the first real indication and feel for scale of the painting. I will also try to work through Brita's face again, hopefully for the last time.
Overall the painting is starting to come together for me in rhythm and technique. I am planning my color mixtures more carefully. The right values for a particular area are now beginning to show themselves more clearly as the figures and background play off one another in the light. In the end I fully expect to make adjustments to the values with glazes and opaque paint where necessary.
It has been another encouraging and challenging week of painting!
PAINTING THROUGH SOME OF THE DETAILS of the ship and upper dress slowed me down this week. I didn't get all the time on the canvas I would have liked. The grass and fall leaves were calling for attention along with a few other life needs.
I have not been content with what I have planned for the sky, so I did more visual research and will be adding some distant mountain shapes to frame Brita's head. I will work through her jewelry on the dress and paint most of the dress before moving on to Kasey's figure on the right. Those are my goals for this week - mountains, dress and jewelry and begin painting on Kasey. Realize that nothing in the painting is complete until the whole painting works together. I will tweak values, color, edges and details until I exhaust all that cries out for adjustments. Then someone other that me needs to hit me on the head with a Viking club to say "STOP! IT'S FINISHED"!