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Air Force Painting Installed

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Air Force painting installed


The completion is truly near, and the studio will be a different place when the last painting is signed, then delivered to its permanent location in September. For now, there is much reflection. And gratitude to the men and women of the military who are serving their Country, have served, and those who will serve. It has been the honor of a lifetime to paint the stories of you.

Taking Flight: The last image: Icarus

Why Icarus? As I am nearly complete with this painting, the last figure is that of Icarus–from Greek mythology (the image is in the upper right of the painting)

The legend of Icarus and Daedalus has long stood as a metaphor for manned flight. Daedelus, imprisoned on the island of Crete for committing murder, had, while in captivity, fathered a son named Icarus. Eventually Daedalus and Icarus were imprisoned in the Labyrinth, amazed that the Daedalus had designed to keep the Minotaur from devouring humans. Daedalus devised ways to escape from the labyrinth by fashioning wings from feathers and wax. After fixing the wings to Icarus’s back, Daedalus warned his son not to fly too close to the ocean and not too near to the sun so the wings would not become wet nor would they melt from the sun’s heat. Icarus, young and full of life, was thrilled with the freedom the wings had provided him. he soared and looped and then flew too high where the sun melted the binding wax. he fell into the sea while Daedalus successfully escaped to Sicily.

Even though dreams of flying predate the myth of Daedalus and Icarus, the inherent element of technology and the thrill and danger of soaring above landlocked humans apparent in that tale still grips us today.

From the U.S. Air Force, A Complete History

As Memorial Day weekend nears

Notes from the artist…as Memorial Day nears…

I pondered that I have accompanied a painting, or sketches therein, to each Memorial Day celebration at the Cemetery for the past 10 years. As the Monument nears completion, I realize that this will be the last one where only four of the paintings hang, because next year all five will be installed, and this project will be a part of my past.

I reflect that 10 years of my life have been spent in front of a very large canvas, telling visual stories of outstanding women and men of all branches, and I am near the end of the final one. I remain honored to be a part of this, to have women and men of all branches of service serve as the models, and share their stories with me during our time in the studio.

With the fundraising complete, I reflect on the tremendous commitment of the volunteer fundraising committee members who spent countless hours raising the money to get each and every painting paid for. To the donors who believed it would be done–the many individuals, service organizations and businesses both small and large, Veterans and Veterans organizations. Each day is a countdown to completion, celebration and a tinge of bittersweet.

But I still walk into my studio each day, canvas in front of me, paintbrush in hand, to finish the stories told to me, and capture the final ones. The final figure will begin to be painted in this week.

The painting awaits the final figure to be painted in.

The final image is on the canvas.

Memorial Day at the MN STATE VETERANS CEMETERY: SUNDAY MAY 26th–1:30

Pararescue scene


The detail you see in this particular snippet is a para rescue scene. Para rescue are the United States Air Force Special Operations Command and Air Combat Command tasked with recovery and medical treatment of personnel in humanitarian and combat environments. The two models used include Major General (BVT) David Hamler, who actually participated in over 30 para rescue missions in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan; the wounded soldier on the ground is friend of mine, Steve Shelley, whose father was in the Marines.



No April fools here

 Here’s an update as of April 1, 2019. You’ll note much work is going in the center, including the addition of the Women Air Force Service Pilot (WASP), and a casual game of football between 2 Air Force Veterans.

Air Force Update

IMG_1710 032619

This provides an update about the Air Force painting, as of March 26th. The lower right hand corner is really taking shape with the flesh colors slowly being added to the main portraits. In addition the central figure commemorating the lady pilots of World War 2 shuttling aircraft from factory to military bases around the world has begun. Starting next week I will begin placing the 3 main figures on the lower left hand corner of the composition stay tuned for updated images.

Norwegian Home Guard Exchange 2019

Navy Captain Jon Ivar Kjellin has been posing in the studio for his drawing, which is presented as part of the gift exchange at the closing banquet. While at the studio, B.G Lowell Kruse stopped by, and Kjellin shared another of his talents by playing some music on his trumpet.


We look forward to welcoming this year’s U.S. Norwegian Home Guard Exchange (NOREX) which will take place February 15 -17, 2019 at Camp Ripley.  For the past five years, as part of the Exchange, artist Charles Kapsner has had the distinct honor of hosting the senior officer from the Norwegian Home Guard at his studio. As has become tradition, the senior officer sits for an official drawing. Kapsner will create a portrait drawing of this year’s lead officer, Navy Captain Jon Ivar Kjellin. ​

Past portrait drawings have been completed for Lieutenant Colonel Børge Gamst (2018); Colonel Karl-Henrik Fossmann (2017), Lieutenant Colonel Per Olav Vaagland (2016); Lieutenant Colonel Ingvar Seland (2015) and Colonel Rolf Wold (2014). As part of the visit, gifts are exchanged, and each receives his portrait sketch when he departs for Norway.

Below are images from the 2018 visit by Lieutenant Colonel Børge Gamst, including his visit to the studio, during his portrait session and the presentation of his portrait at the farewell dinner.

Happy 2019!

2019 reflects the 10th year of this outstanding Monument, including its final painting of the Air Force.

A new year offers time for reflection, but more so, looking ahead. In this year, the fifth and final painting will be installed, wrapping up a truly monumental effort. Artist Charles Kapsner shared:  “It’s been a great honor to work on this and as I sit in the studio with the close of this project upon me, I cannot help but reflect the first brushstrokes put on the Army canvas in 2010 and thinking there is a lot of paint to be applied. And now, here I am near the end.” Below is the image of the Air Force painting as of January 11th, 2019. More to come…


U.S. Air Force painting update, January 11,2019

Kapsner named Art Renewal Center Associate Living Master

This fall, Art Renewal Center announced Charles Kapsner as a new ARC Associate Living Master™ . ARC was founded in 1999 for the advancement of skill-based training in the visual arts. ARC Affiliation falls under three separate categories which are decided by at least four members of the board of judges. ARC, having become the center for artists, collectors, and scholars, is the defining force for Contemporary Realism and excellence.

As an Associate Living Master, Kapsner has dedicated himself to becoming a realist artist with the wish to express our shared humanity through the visual arts. In addition, Kapsner has shown significant skill in all of the basic building blocks of great art: accurate drawing, compositional sensibilities, effective use of lighting, the technical ability to use modeling, glazing /scumbling, perspective, tone, hue and successful emotional expression.

For more about ARC, this distinction, and more of Kapsner’s other art works, click Charles Kapsner.