had a wonderful time working on this project. I started planning
it a year ago. About 6 months into the project, I completed research
and preliminary photography of several of the boats that regularly
visit Dubuque. The entire canvas took 2 months to complete, and
the surface was still tacky when I delivered it to my framer, Creative
Touch Gallery, in Dubuque. The entire project was designed to correspond
with another community project I'm working on, the Dubuque Gateway
Project, that will raise funds and build five new welcome signs
for the City of Dubuque.
to my studio. Above, this photo was taken with my digital camera
on a tripod. I used the automatic timer. It took me a couple of
tries, but it didn't turn out too badly if I do say so myself.
You can see my brushes (I've got a hundred of them), my palette,
my prized easel. I've had this easel for 25 years. Meanwhile,
the painting and the easel are on loan to the National Mississippi
River Museum and Aquarium at the moment. I'm so busy with the
prints, I haven't the time to paint at the moment. The easel provides
a stable platform and the Museum a secure place to display the
painting. Below are photos that show the paitning in its new frame
from Creative Touch Gallery and Frame.
of my painting is the upcoming Grand Excursion. This event is
scheduled to occur in Dubuque on June 27, 28, and 29. According
"The Grand Excursion 2004 celebrates the renaissance of the
upper Mississippi River region by recreating the 1854 train and
steamboat expedition that brought worldwide attention to what
was then Americas wild, western frontier."
the Grand Excursion 2004, communities all along a 400-mile stretch
of the Mississippi River, from the Quad Cities of Iowa and Illinois
through the bluffs of Wisconsin, to the Twin Cities of Minnesota,
will host not only the boats and their passengers as they embark
and disembark along the way, but these communities, Dubuque included,
will hold fabulous celebrations, recreational, educational and
cultural events as the boats land.
painting began last spring with several trips to East Dubuque,
Illinois' highest bluff overlooking Dubuque, Iowa, a perfect vantage
point for the many boats that already were making Dubuque a stop
on their passenger trips. The Mississippi Queen, American Queen,
and the Delta Queen are depicted in my painting. Also three area
boats including the Julia Belle Swain, the last boat built by
the historic Dubuque Boat and Boiler Works, now the home of the
National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium.
friends, Rob and Chris Apel live on that bluff and would call
me the moment a boat would steam into port. It was always fun
to run up to the Apel house, camera in hand. They have the best
view of our city overlooking the Grand Harbor Hotel and Grand
is the second painting in which I've used water soluble oil paints.
I used a combination of Winsor Newton and Grumbacher Max, and
they behave almost identical to one another. They are incredible,
possessing all of the characteristics of regular oils but without
the smell and mess. I use special brushes, now, that have acrylic
handles that don't absorb moisture which shortens the life of
I purchase, prepare and mount my own canvases. I occasionally
buy ready made stretcher bars, and canvas... even pre-stretched
canvases. But for this one, no stretcher bars existed to accommodate
the long dimenstion. So I visited Lowe's Home Improvement store,
and I picked out the straightest, clearest 1x2 inch pine I could
find. I cut them on my Morso miter axe (better than a saw).
also purchased from Lowe's all of the brass fittings, corner braces
and screws I needed to fit the pieces together. It was a fun afternoon
fabricating the frame and stretching the canvas using my Frederick's
canvas pliers and my trusty staple gun. When it was finished and
gessoed, it stretched as tight as a drum head.
Click on the
images above to download larger, more detailed images of the painting
as it was a work in progress. Keep in mind there were still a
lot of details I was stilll working on. The entire canvas measures
72 inches long and 18 inches high. With a frame, the entire piece
easily measures nearly 8 feet in length. A portion of proceeds
raised by sales of the print will go to the Rotary Club of Dubuque to finance permanent welcome signs to our city.
will three sizes of prints available.
Edition of 1,000
signed and numbered edition (see below) that is printed on high-quality
art paper 37 x 15.5 inches. The print retails for $50.
Open Edition Individualized Custom Digital Print
The Open Edition
Individualized Custom Digital Print that can be any size up to
say 86 inches long (72 x 18 inch image area). These very special
prints will be priced accordingly, and more information is available
as we negotiate the logistics of producing, mounting, framing
and delivering a print of this size. Such prints are produced
by a digital printing process and the image can be printed on
canvas or high-quality paper mounted on board. Once again, the
size of the image and the space in which it is to be hung must
Half Size Open Edition Print
version on identical paper as the original 1,000 edition print
will be available later this spring closer to the time of the
Grand Excursion. This smaller version is designed for delivery
to retail stores and gift shops already in a frame or matted and
shrink wrapped for easy cash and carry sales favored by tourists
and visitors to our area. These prints will be signed but not
numbered. Prices will depend on the value of the matting and frame
materials offered by the distributor of this print, Creative Touch
Gallery and Frame. There promises to be a substantial variety
of framing material applied to this print. For more information,
contact Mike Kaesbauer
at Creative Touch.
of the Published Limited Edition Print
edition numbers 1,000. The print measures 37 x 15.5 inches. There
is a 2 inch margin top and sides (see image below). The bottom
margin is approx. 3.5 inches allowing ample room for remarques
and personalization. The image area measures
33 x 11 inches.
dimensions of this print were carefully considered after discussions
with gallery owners and frame shops. These dimensions will enable
framers to use standard in-stock mattes, for example, providing
countless color combinations and custom treatments. There will
be a greater range of options available to the consumer and likewise
a wide range of prices from the comfortable to the extraordinary.
with me on this print was Mike Kaesbauer of Creative Touch Gallery
and Frame in Dubuque. I've had an association with this gallery
for 25 years. They've sold many of my works both originals and
prints, but mostly prints, of course. Some they've published for
me. I made my first frame at Creative Touch when it was a "U-Frame-It-Yourself"
shop. They had framing stations, all the tools, nails, glue and
corner vises. I made one frame, and that was it. I had to make
a choice... was I to paint more pictures or spend time framing?
Framing requires a unique set of skills and artistic vision, and
it's best done in collaboration with someone who does a lot of
this kind of thing. Mike is a great friend and collaborator, that's
for sure. They make my work look terrific.
the final composition to show gallery owners and frame shops.
A digital high resolution photograph was taken of the piece and
was sent to the printer, Johnson Graphics of East Dubuque, Illinois.
The limited edition numbers 1,000, and each print is signed by
the artist (that would be me) and numbered.
the nameplate graphic for the printer who may be logging on to
this site. I often use my website as a means of transferring files
to clients. Simple click on it to download the nameplate file
in a SIT archive, or click
here to download.
coupon is printable and redeemable at Creative Touch Galleries
on framing my print. Click on it and a printable version will appear
in your browser. Send it to your printer, and you save 20% on framing
are available at Creative Touch and fine gallery and frame shops
throughout the City of Dubuque. The prints retail for $50. A portion
of proceeds goes to The Gateway Project that will help build five
new welcome signs for Dubuque. So your purchase is helping the
Dubuque Rotary Club with this wonderful project.
Dealers: Creative Touch is the authorized distributor
for these prints and will keep the supply line filled to your
galleries and frame shops. Call Mike
Kaesbauer at 563-556-6279 to place your order.
You can also email Mike
Unveiling Ceremony, March 31, 2004
to The Grand Excursion Painting and Print Unveiling Ceremony Album.
I've been adding photos and copy to this page from the moment
I started the painting. Now that you've had a look at my studio,
here is the result of this particular project. These photos were
taken by my photographer friend, Debbie Denlinger and multimedia
mogul, Bryce Parks of dubuque365.com.
They captured the event beautifully. You
can click on any of these photos to download printable enlargements.
are some of my remarks made the evening of March 31 at the unveiling.
made at the Unveiling
I want to
welcome everyone here this evening. I'm very grateful, and I hope
you are all having a great time. My wife Linda is here, my father
and mother in law, Francis and Leona Breitbach. Thanks Frannie
for helping me set up, and thanks mother for telling us what to
do. What my wife Linda forgets her mother remembers. They make
a great team.
We are celebrating
several different yet connected events that have converged on
this 31st day in March.
First, we are celebrating the kickoff of our Gateway Project campaign.
This is the Dubuque Rotary Club project for which I am the chairperson.
With me tonight is my team that includes Tom Reilly, Mike Armstrong,
Kevin Lynch, Kimberly Tully, Paul Hemmer, and Tony Zelinskas.
event we are celebrating is Dubuque's soon to be famous Grand
Excursion scheduled for June 27th, 28th, and 29th. This is going
to be an enormous event in our city's history, not just because
it is a reenactment of the historic Grand Excursion that encouraged
western settlement in the 1850s, but because it will attract upwards
of 60,000 people to our levee to meet the largest fleet of river
passenger boats ever assembled in the modern age.
A third event
we are celebrating is an anniversary of sorts. I am celebrating
my 25 year association with Creative Touch Gallery and the owners
of this successful business (the Kaesbauer family) have not only
helped me but many local and area artists in our community over
the years. I will comment more on our association later in the
this little spot in the cosmic universe called Dubuque, Iowa,
all of these events have converged. All of the energy and enthusiasm
I have for these three events have manifested themselves on a
very large piece of canvas behind me.
ado, allow me to lift the veil on the original painting. Later
in the ceremony we will unveil the prints to reveal the spectacular
job Creative Touch has done on the mounting and framing of all
Now, I want
to take some time to thank the first sponsors who have gotten
us this far in the Gateway Project.
Over the course
of the last year, my Rotary Club colleagues and I have been putting
together our campaign for the Gateway Project which will build
new welcome signs for the five entrances to our city. If you didn't
already know, I am the designer of the Gateway signs.
We are recognizing
two categories of partners that have joined us in this effort.
We call one category "Construction Partners." These
are companies and organizations who have contributed land, bricks
and mortar and most important, money, to our project. The second
category is "Promotional Partners." Promotional Partners
are businesses that could help us not so much with the bricks,
stone, steel and mortar, but with the promotional aspects of this
campaign... the printing, the pins, the replicas, and all the
stuff an organization needs to advertise, promote and inform.
We have special
awards that have been prepared just for this occasion by River
City Gifts, and Teri and Bill Burdt. They are brilliant craftspeople,
and they've done a lovely job on the Gateway replicas, and in
a little while we will be raffling off two of these collectables..
Jim and or Chris Theisen, hopefully both are here this evening.
Jo... Carrie Tadore who provide the food for this evening
Cliff Winery... Bob and Nan Smith are the official wine of the
Gateway Project, and I found out that any store in Iowa, even
a clothing store or a card shop, can apply for a permit to sell
wine as long as it's from grapes grown and manufactured into wine
in Iowa. And in celebration of the Grand Excursion, Stone Cliff
is introducing a Grand Excursion Wine with my painting on the
Hunt... Chad Chandlee
Dubuque Savings Bank... Jan Northouse
Distributing Company...Mary Lamore and Ron Kirchhoff
And now we
want to personally thank these people and their organizations.
Will the following people come up and be recognized, and we have
a gift for you.
The very first
person we spoke to about the sign project is here this evening.
He was the one who helped us acquire the first patch of land for
our first sign southwest of town alongside Dubuque's Technology
Park on Hwys 151/61. From the Greater Dubuque Development Corporation,
let's have a round of applause for Rick Dickenson.
happy to report that our first Gateway sign will begin construction
this April (that's tomorrow) and if all goes according to plan,
it will be completed in time for the Grand Excursion.
next construction partner is the very definition of the term
Mike Portzen Construction. They not only agreed to build our first
sign, but our second one as well on land west of the city donated
by Mike Portzen. Mike Portzen and Bob Baumhover are here with
us this evening.
next Construction Partner is the Dubuque Racing Association, and
Shannon Gaherty is here this evening to accept our appreciation.
We applied for a grant for funds, and the DRA offered to build
our first sign, awarding us $27,000.
representatives of each of our Promotional Partner organizations
are here, and I will ask representatives to come up and accept
our appreciation for their contribution to our project. They provided
the funds and services that allowed us to communicate our mission
to the community. They provided the marketing momentum we needed
to let the city know we mean business and we are going to be successful.
As I call your names,
come up and remain alongside the lectern so we can show our appreciation
and give you a well deserved round of applause. Radio Dubuque...
Paul Hemmer and Tom Parsley are here this evening. Once again,
Paul and Tom have proven that this is a radio town, judging by
the excellent turnout this evening.
most recent sponsor is, of course, Creative Touch Gallery and
Frame. Mike Kaesbauer who worked with me on the framing of the
painting and subsequent edition of prints is here with his family,
and I simply must tell a little story about a recent visit I made
to gallery on Hillcrest Road. I was delivering some prints, when
I saw Mike in one of the little rooms off the main gallery where
there are all sorts of my prints and photos hanging... and he's
showing my work to a customer. I try not to disturb them, and
I go about my business. But I can't help overhear the conversation.
Mike is saying to the customer, "We have the largest collection
of Gary Olsen's art in the city. In fact, that was Gary Olsen
who just walked by." "Really?" said the customer
somewhat surprised. "I thought he was dead."
then the market value of my work plummeted like a stone.
reason I want all of our Promotional partners up here for this
part of the ceremony is, we are going to unveil the print right
now with the help of the Dubuque Ambassadors.
will notice that we have 10 additional pictures to unveil. Each
of these represents a different frame and matte style designed
by Creative Touch. But here's the best part. Our promotional partners,
those with places of business that have substantial customer traffic,
will be getting to take one of these framed pieces as an additional
gift of thanks from The Gateway Project Team and Creative Touch
Gallery and Frame.
only ask one thing in return and that is you put these on display
to help promote the Grand Excursion and the Dubuque Gateway Project.
now we unveil the prints.
Official Biography and Photo in PDF format (layered Adobe Photoshop
file suitable for editing)
Official Biography and Photo in JPG format (smaller file)