About His Art
“As I look at a piece, I see its configurations and directions of motion,” he says. “There is an energy in wood. It’s organic and was alive. When I start painting, the wood tells me what to do. I can see images there.”
He calls his art the Spirit of the Wood, and selections have hung in galleries in Utah, California, Hawaii, Wyoming, and New Mexico. Most of the scenes reflect animals, cowboys, and Native Americans, but one piece depicts soldiers raising the flag on Iwo Jima.
“I decided to get it printed on museum-quality paper and obtain signatures of soldiers who had been at Iwo Jima,” Nielson says. “I visited veterans hospitals and attended reunions. I had them sign their names with rank and serial number. The last person we got was Senator Mark Hatfield. He spent hours reading the names to see who he recognized. It was so humbling to me to realize the depth of the sacrifices involved in that bloody battle.” The original of the work was recently presented to President George W. Bush.