Veterans Educational Historic Monument

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.

Air Force painting update

The Air Force painting is reflecting some serious paint. The images here are of the painting’s status and a detail of the astronaut, and the very detailed charcoal and white chalk drawing of the astronaut. While not every drawing is so detailed, this one reflects a very completed work, and clearly captures Kapsner’s passion for, and skill when it comes to drawing.

“Generally Speaking”

During the fall season, two models of note have taken time to pose, including the first woman to be promoted to the rank of Brigadier General in the Minnesota Air Guard, which is part of the Minnesota National Guard, Brigadier General Sandra “Sandy” Best.

Another notable model is Air Force Brigadier General David Hamlar, Jr., the first African American to achieve one-star rank in the Minnesota Air National Guard. These remarkable people, whose schedules are beyond busy, visited the studio on multiple occasions to pose.

B.G Best, wearing her dress blues, represents women of significant achievement in the military.  B.G. Hamlar is shown in the para rescue scene as a medic–a role familiar to him from his deployments around the globe.

The images below showcase snapshots from their sessions:




The astronaut image, reflected on the upper right, was an effort in an extremely complete drawing, as shown here in various stages:


The Air Force painting takes major shape as of mid-October, 2018.

A model session with B.G Sandy Best

As the Air Force painting begins to take shape, the activity in the studio includes a session with Brigadier General Sandy Best, the first woman in the history of the Minnesota National Guard to be promoted to brigadier general. In her new role, Best serves as chief of staff of the Minnesota Air National Guard and is responsible for command supervision, oversight, and leadership of the 133rd Airlift Wing and the 148th Fighter Wing. Not only does Best oversee operations and readiness for the units, but she is also in charge of manning, training and equipping them. Below are images of Best and the initial drawing, and one with artist Charles Kapsner.

Marine Corps painting installation

The painting was installed, with the assistance of Tony Armagost and assistance from Ken Pachecki who built the frame, and on hand to provide the know how and major assistance hoisting it from the floor to the wall are staff from the Cemetery, including Kevin Doucette, Steven Cory Engen (who is also portrayed in the painting at bottom right), Val Pilarski, and Donald Stavish.

Kapsner explains the Marine Corps painting

Military Art Project Honors Marine Corps

Marine Corps Unveiling May 26, 2018 2:30 PM

On Saturday, May 26th at 2:30 PM, the public dedication and unveiling of the Marine Corps painting will take place. It is the fourth of five 8 X 10 ft paintings comprising the Veterans Historic Art Monument, installed at the Committal Hall at the Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery north of Little Falls, MN. This painting joins three previously completed ones, Army (2011), Navy (2014) and Coast Guard (2016); each depicts the history of, and contributions by our nation’s military men and women.

Each painting uniquely captures the spirit of each branch of service, vividly portraying the stories, faces, and sacrifices of our Nation’s servicemen and women. Veterans and active duty military serve as models, and this painting also includes a small portion of soil brought back from Mt. Suribachi, where the iconic Raising the Flag photo on Iwo Jima was taken. The artist used the small portion of soil to grind in with paint as part of the depiction of the 1945 Marine Corps flag-raising.

The dedication and ceremony program includes Veterans and active duty personnel, some of whom served as models in the painting, dignitaries, Marine Corps re-enactors, and the artist. Scheduled to appear:

  • Brigadier General Lowell Kruse, Camp Ripley
  • David P. Swantek, Senior Administrator of Memorial Affairs (MDVA)
  • Erik B. Sogge, Cemetery Administrator (MDVA)
  • Veterans and active duty personnel depicted in painting: Roy T. Edwards Col. USMC (Ret.); Holly Zabinski, Major USMC; Cory Engen, Sgt. USMC (Ret.); Quintin Sam, Sgt. USMC (Ret.)
  • Charles Gilbert Kapsner, Artist
  • Greg Zylka, Mayor of Little Falls
  • Military Honor Guard: Valhalla Detachment, Marine Corps League, St. Cloud

LOCATION: Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery Committal Hall, 15550 Hwy 115, Little Falls, MN. 320-616-2527