LITTLE FALLS, Minn. (AP) - A Little Falls artist is honoring the U.S. military with paintings depicting each branch of the service.
In 2009, the Minnesota State Veterans Memorial Association hired Charles Kapsner to create five 8-by-10-foot oil paintings.
Kapsner already has finished paintings of the Army and the Navy. On Saturday, he unveiled his latest work, focusing on the Coast Guard, at the Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery Committal Hall near Camp Ripley.
Each canvas takes about 18 months to complete, Minnesota Public Radio News (http://bit.ly/1VZD9j3 ) reported. Kapsner starts with a sketch, then uses volunteer models in period military garb.
"I'm used to things taking a long time," said Kapsner, who studied fresco painting in Italy. While working on the project he has collected volumes of military history, traveled to museums across the country and watched hundreds of hours of history lectures.
"I was never in the military, but I did a lot of research," said Kapsner, 63.
Kapsner said he wants people to feel the responsibility carried by each military branch when they view the paintings. He said he wanted to create monuments, not just art.
"Everything in these paintings has a story," said Bill Osberg, a Little Falls veteran who served in the Navy during the Vietnam War who is on project's steering committee. "Everything has meaning."
Family members gather in the Committal Hall before a Minnesota veteran's funeral. Osberg said the paintings are the last thing they see before their loved one is buried.
"The honor showing in those paintings kind of helps the family realize that particular person was instrumental in preserving our freedom," Osberg said.
The project will cost about $500,000. The Minnesota State Veterans Memorial Association has raised over half the money but needs more before Kapster can set to work again in his studio.
Next up is a painting dedicated to the Marine Corps, followed by the Air Force.
Veterans Educational Historic Project: http://www.vetsart.org
Information from: Minnesota Public Radio News, http://www.mprnews.org
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