You may not have been able to make it to the grand opening, but if you live in the area you can get to see the exposition Mondays thru Thursdays from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., and Sundays from 9:00 a.m. to noon.

Today I’m presenting to you Bob McLain’s “Mil,” with the backstory. Once you’ve enjoyed it, scroll to the end for a reminder of the Sower Gallery’s purpose and location.

Bob McLain Artist Statement

“The human head has intrigued me for many years.

The phrase “The eyes are the windows to the soul” and how moods are created in the look of a person have also fascinated me. Because of this strong interest, I have created a long term study project called “Project Faces.”

This project will include proper proportions of the facial parts from nine positions of the head. I will also create different moods in the faces from small children to seniors and in many different nationalities.

The entire study will be done with graphite pencils to work on tonal values of the face.

Once this study is complete, I will start a new study of skin colors. This will be done in acrylics and colored pencils.

The artwork titled “Mil” is the first finished graphite drawing in my study.”





“For most of Mil Scheman’s life, she suffered from schizophrenia, a disabling brain disease. This illness made her agitated, anxious, and disconnected with others. In Mil’s mid 30’s, she was committed to a secure psychiatric hospital located in St. Peter, MN. When the smoking ban on state property was instituted, Mil went in front of a judge convincing him that she was of sound mind and in control of her mental illness. Mil spent the final years of her life at Divine Providence Nursing Home in Sleepy Eye, Minnesota where she was allowed to smoke six cigarettes a day.

Mil connected with animals more than people. She called herself the “Queen of the Beasties”. Mil shocked the staff at the Apple Valley and Como zoos when she kissed a snake (not in a cage) and kissed a camel that she had just ridden!

Mil had several stuffed animals that she called her kids. Her gorilla and tiger went everywhere with her. When it was time for “a smoke” she would often hold the cigarette to the gorilla’s mouth for a puff. Mil tore out a magazine picture of the Marlboro cigarette man and said he was her husband. When we did something that Mil didn’t like she at times would say, “Al is gonna get you for this!” (Referring to “boyfriend” Al Capone.)

Things changed when the great nieces and nephews were born. Mil loved to hold them as babies and referred to them as “the littles.” Just as Jesus has placed his mark on us and called us by name, Mil’s family and the Sister’s and staff of Divine Providence Nursing Home kept reaching out to Mil, inviting her to be a part of their lives.

Mil remained childlike in her love for all creatures, great and small. True bliss to Mil were her visits with family, delighting in babies and children, trips to the zoo, animal magazines, Camel cigarettes, Hershey candy bars and Dr. Pepper. Mil was God’s gift to us. She delighted and charmed us over the years. What a blessing she was.”

Sower Gallery


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  1. Hi Mona! This is a real nice post, and it’s nice to hear from you again.

  2. A beautiful story written with great love and respect. Are there more drawings and stories. I am too many miles away yo visit.

  3. Mona, that was a wonderful story! You are involved in so many interesting projects!

  4. Reblogged this on Views from the Edge.

  5. Mona, Bob’s description of Mil is as worthy of publication as his amazing portrait of her. Thank you for sharing and for your support of The Sower Gallery.

  6. The exhibit sounds wonderful, and I enjoyed reading the back story. It is written so sensitively.

  7. Mona,

    Thank you for this post. We had heard some of this from Bob, but it was great to read it all together. We’re sorry to miss the gallery.

    Bill and Judy


  8. What a nice little story.
  9. Nice blog thanks forr posting

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