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Artifact Spotlight #4

The history of the area is essentially tied to a history of the mining industry. We are lucky to have in our collection, many artifacts that relate to this early day occupation.

#6 (silent auction)

“Only a few days before his death [Horn Miller] made the announcement that he was going to wait another 40 years for a railroad, and that if it did not get there by that time he was going to Alaska.” – Flathead Courier, February 12, 1920

Oil on canvas


The orange color of the rock samples and slight warmth of the rust made these artifacts a perfect pairing for a light blue background. Once tools of necessity, I find the curves and holes to be beautifully abstract.

#14 (live auction)

“As the last day of the year verged into the first of January, 1884, lights were seen in all directions, and men on snow shoes were busily jumping and re-locating claims.” – The River Press, January 16, 1884

Oil on canvas


Again, the shape and color of these artifacts make them wonderful subjects to paint. I began this painting thinking about a miner, the tools that he had to carry, they were solid, incredibly real. Then I thought about that which they searched for, the big question, the elusive fact. Could they stake a claim? Would they ever strike it rich? Forged iron against fragile paper. This particular pick was uncovered during reclaimation of the McClaren site and donated to the Museum.

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