Near Gunflint Lake
by Dan Olson
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Dan is a busy elementary art teacher, husband, and a father of 2 young children, I recently only had aspirations of painting again. On a personal level, some positives that did come from 2020 included being grateful for what I have and living for now. I was spending time researching the Boundary Waters and I discovered the Border Route Trail which ignited my motivation. The Border Route Trail is a 65 mile long trail that begins in the east at the terminus of the Superior Hiking Trail. The trail winds along the border of Minnesota and Canada and ends in the west at the beginning of the Kekekabic Trail near Gunflint Lake. I knew of the beauty in the Boundary Waters but I was unaware of this trail and its vast overlooks. So, I decided to start painting again.
My style is constantly evolving and has been formed by studying the work of many artists. I am amazed by how effortless Howard Sivertson makes his paintings look even though I know they required years of study and experience. I have learned from how straight forward and bold Vincent Van Gogh’s colors and brush strokes are. I am influenced by the unapologetic way Dave Gilsvik uses colors in his subjects, letting the paint do the talking. Tom Thomson and Canada’s Group of Seven used a variety of painting styles in their landscapes. This variety motivates me to capture wilderness in ways the eye and camera cannot. My moose paintings are directly inspired by Carl Rungius’s Western Paintings. I have aspirations of painting Minnesota’s moose with the same dedication he gave to the Rocky Mountain, Yukon, and Alaskan moose.
The Boundary Waters and the northern wilderness are unique, rare, and must be protected. It is my hope that my paintings can communicate how amazing it is that places like this exist!
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Artist Dan Olson