During our month long road trip/honeymoon across the country this past summer we stopped at many iconic places, none more so than Mount Rushmore. It's one of those places if you haven't seen it in person you might think it's a bit cheesy or what's the big deal? I also had mixed feelings about the idea of taking a beautiful and natural rock formation and land that is sacred to Native Americans and destroying it with cultural symbols of their oppressors, but I digress. Once we arrived though it was impossible not to be awed by what was accomplished on such a grand scale during the hard years of the Great Depression, a subject and era that already pulls at my imagination. It didn't hurt that we had the quintessential park ranger with white beard and brimmed hat sharing captivating stories about the presidents on display and background on it's creation. He also happened to be from our old stomping grounds in West Seattle.
With this in mind I decided to create my own interpretation of it's creation based on some old photos of the workers I came across, including the sculptor Gutzon Borglum. Below you can see my final line drawing, value study and color study (done in Photoshop). All that's left is to paint this thing, in oil. I just hope it also doesn't take me 14 years.