About The Artist

Dan Olson

When I was 8 years old I found myself in the backseat of my family’s car crossing one of the Yellowstone River bridges.  We were forced to stop as there were numerous cars on the bridge with passengers getting out to see something.  I looked out the window and saw a huge bull moose down in the river below.  This was the first moose I had ever seen and this foundational moment began my fascination with the northwoods.  During family trips to northern Minnesota I would ask my parents to take night drives looking for moose and take detours down Hwy 1 from Ely with the hopes of seeing them.  Instead of heading to the beach for my high school spring break, a couple of my friends and I headed to the Gunflint Trail to stay in a small cabin so we could hike, fish, and of course, look for moose.  During my time in the Boy Scouts I traveled to Isle Royale National Park.  We hiked the Greenstone Ridge from Windigo and returned on the Minong Ridge.  Seeing numerous moose and taking in a sunset at Hugunin Cove had me hooked on border country.  These life events and many more wilderness experiences serve as a foundation for my Northland Images.

As 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 had 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!