Weekend in Review – 4th of July, 2020 – What you missed

Well, despite the less-than-savory news outside of the wilderness bubble in which we are fortunate to live, Northwind Lodge guests appeared to have had a GREAT time social distancing with family and friends.

They caught a bunch of fish in Jasper.  The Rust/Ramsland party in Cabin 6 reported nice-sized largemouth bass caught on weedless worms that we stock in the Fernberg Gallery (weird, I know…but good tackle is like art!)  Cabin #2, the Smith family also caught fish, ate fish, disappeared with their canoe for a day and took painting classes when they weren’t outside having fun.   I didn’t even see Cabin #8 for the entire weekend.  Same with Cabin #3 with the exception of them coming in to see about checkout today.  They wanted to go for one last, Jasper Lake kayak ride on this beautiful morning after our first major rain in months.  They are somewhere out there right now.   TreeTopHaus is still here until tomorrow and I haven’t seen them since yesterday morning.   For several days, the air smelled like pine needles, clean water and mouthwatering barbecue.  Yeah, it was really miserable here with the loons flying overhead calling.

I always conclude our guests are having a good time when we don’t see them for long periods and they check out at the last possible second.  The last thing I want to see are guests chomping on the bit to leave.   They rarely, if ever, seem to do that.

Art lessons with me are pretty hot right now.  I only teach related groups due to China virus  these days, but it seems to be working well.  Six, micro art lessons (2-hours) in four days was a lot of fun and many people took home a rock that they painted as a souvenir and inspiration to pursue painting.   I’m going to have to take another run to Lake Superior for more rocks!  Darn….

In other news, Ely held what could be defined as an almost impromptu (and greatest) Patriotic March on the 4th of July.  I attended as a member of my organization, Fight For Mining Minnesota.  We brought along my painted canoe that, when not being dragged around in patriotic marches, otherwise reside inside the Fernberg Gallery as a large historical display.  A handful of patriotic renegades in Ely cobbled together a parade that was probably the best I have ever seen.  They extended the route for social distancing purposes, worked with the Ely Police Department and City of Ely, acquired the permits, and even arranged insurance via a quick, really-successful, fundraiser.

It was about 92 degrees F, as I walked the route handing out “Iron Range Proud” yard signs along with two young and very motivated helpers.  Ahead of me were logging trucks, fire engines, classic cars, old jeeps, American flags and blue stripes to support law enforcement officers.  The wildly popular, Ely Klown Band played brashly and slightly out of tune to the beat of rattling, pounding drums.  There were heavily decorated ATV’s, side-by-sides, heavy-equipment trucks with Fight For Mining Minnesota banners, more Jeeps, motorcycles, someone with a really huge, old, twin-screw boat on a trailer that I was told was worth over “a hundred grand”, and on and on.  There were “Iron Range Proud” signs for as far as the eye could see plus we handed out another 250 of them to whoever wanted one.   Our Congressman Pete Stauber was there with a trailer and looked me up in the lineup to say “hi”.  As he shook his head in amazement, he said “Ely is going to be put on the map for this one”.  We were both in awe of the spectacle.  It was stunning.  There were Trump/Pence signs from one end to the other for as far as the eye could see.  No other signs were present.  None…

As I walked the street handing out signs next to my canoe (Greg & Jane Mosher pulling the trailer with their SUV in air-conditioned comfort), I got to an area where there were so many people yelling my name for signs and just to give me a thumbs-up, I didn’t know which way to look/turn/run next.   It was pretty crazy and lots of fun!

Then, there was Zup’s market.  I swear Jimmy Zupancich is one of Ely’s most creative business owners.  As per usual, they were almost shoveling candy with snow shovels out to the socially-distanced crowds.   Spectator kids were standing with buckets full of cavity forming goodness.  It was a sea of Tootsie Rolls and a wide variety of other sweets.  They were also tossing what looked to be packages of cookies, and all sorts of toys and potato chips.  As we approached the end of route, a Zup’s, un-decorated, windowless van, suspiciously squeezed off from an avenue into the parade line right behind me as I sat on the back of the trailer.  When it straightened out on the road, the side doors were FLUNG open.  I could have sworn I heard someone yell in a thick, Spanish accent “Say ‘Hello!’ to my little friend!”.  The innocent, unsuspecting bystanders were unmercifully pelted with even more bags of chips, plastic toys, toothbrushes (?) and cookies.  Jim Zupancich, Sr. was sitting white-haired in the passenger seat laughing his head off.

But the pièce de résistance was the funniest part of the parade:  Toilet paper.  Zup’s had a huge trailer full of toilet paper and was tossing rolls to the crowds.  I’ve never seen people holding toilet paper while standing on the side walks before.  This week’s Ely Echo is going to be pretty fun, I’m sure.

As the parade approached its end near Whiteside park, we had run out of Iron Range Proud signs.   Me and the little red-cheeked kid sat on the trailer until Mort Tome was seen standing on the north curb with a garden hose.  The kid and his sister (Mike Banovetz’ grandson and granddaughter), both stopped off to get hosed down in the street with cool water by Mort.   Towering Mort laughed in his usual, bellicose manner, the soaking wet kid thanked him and hopped back on the trailer. It’s little things like that which add life to any painting or story.

All this activity was officiated with  two USAF  F-16’s blasting low and westward down Sheridan Street (Steve Saari organized that) and ended in a raucous fireworks display on over Miners Lake later that evening.

It was great to “feel American” again.

You missed this year’s Ely parade.  Doesn’t mean you have to miss staying in the woods for a vacation in northern Minnesota.  We’re very proud to be Americans up here in Ely.

Social Distancing Guidelines at Northwind Lodge – Ely Minnesota

Social Distancing Guidelines 

We’ve been social distancing for 76 years at Northwind Lodge on Jasper Lake by Ely, MN.  We just never had a fancy name for it other than “going out on the water” or “fishing”.  At Northwind Lodge, our guests “virtue signal” by disappearing in kayaks, boats and canoes.  We all feel safer when they are out on the water doing what people have been doing for the last 76 years here.    The closest human can be anywhere from 100 feet to a half mile away.  Some would conclude that some of our guests are less into virtue signaling & social distancing and more into being anti-social.  We all can appreciate that. It works well.  If you just want to wave and hit the water, that is your prerogative.

Whatever title you want to assign it, there is a lot of open space here at Northwind Lodge and our guests seem to really be enjoying it this summer and last summer, and the summer before that, etc.  We are very fortunate to have a lot of room for our guests to spread out and have a great vacation.  …and that’s not to imply we have guests who are anything less than wonderful people.  We have really great guests and they all get along.  It’s just times such as these (well, this IS the first) wherein having space and a beautiful wilderness resort makes sense to get out of the chaos of the world to hide for a very relaxing week.

Relaxation redefined: We’ve had a bear in the yard for the last 4 days.  People have shot videos of him.  He’s a big one and some people get twitchy around bears.  So far, everybody here has been OK.  Whacking garbage cans and making a little noise, then he’s gone into the night.  Typical bear….


The following photos are by one of our guests, Ashley Myhre.  She and family made a fun vacation great along with art lessons to boot.  Thanks, Ashley!

Jasper Lake evening - Northwind Lodge
Jasper Lake evening – Northwind Lodge
Jasper Lake morning - Northwind Lodge
Jasper Lake morning – Northwind Lodge
Sundown on Jasper Lake at Northwind Lodge, Ely MN
Sundown on Jasper Lake at Northwind Lodge, Ely MN
Heading home on Jasper Lake at Northwind Lodge, Ely MN
Heading home on Jasper Lake at Northwind Lodge, Ely MN
Out by the Rocks on Jasper Lake at Northwind Lodge, Ely, MN
Out by the Rocks on Jasper Lake at Northwind Lodge, Ely, MN
Through the narrows of Jasper Lake from Northwind Lodge
Through the narrows of Jasper Lake from Northwind Lodge
Jasper Lake evening - Northwind Lodge
Social distancing at its finest on Jasper Lake from Northwind Lodge, Ely , MN
Pointing west on beautiful Jasper Lake from Northwind Lodge, Ely MN
Pointing west on beautiful Jasper Lake from Northwind Lodge, Ely MN
3 kayaks from Northwind Lodge floating on Jasper Lake
Ignoring the rest of the world on Jasper Lake from Northwind Lodge
Loons at Northwind Lodge Ely MN

New! Northwind Lodge Activities

Resort sponsored activities are planned for

Tuesday through Thursday each week.

Painting Classes

Painting Class 2

During select weeks at Northwind Lodge, join us for our weekly activities.  To see when they begin, please visit our activities calendar (Click Here)

The Activities Low Down

Painting Classes
Get your creative juices going by taking a painting class during your stay.  Classes are scheduled for Tuesday evenings.  Also, depending on schedule availability, classes can be held at other times and for private groups.  We paint rocks and Christmas ornaments in the two-hour sessions.   Other longer classes and programming is available at different price rates as well.  For more information about our regular art programming options, please visit intothebrush.org our non-profit art education organization.

Campfire

Wednesday Campfire
It’s S’mores time, come to the fire ring by Jasper Creek Falls to enjoy an evening  sitting around the campfire.  Bring your s’more components.  Wiener sticks – the whittled kind – are provided.

Potluck Dinner

NEW – Thursday Potluck
New for 2020!  Potluck Dinner on Thursday evening!  Get to know some of the guests at the lodge and join us for dinner!   Bring a dish, bring dessert, bring yourself.  Dress is casual, conversation entertaining, dining is outside.

What a fun way to get together to greet and eat!  Joe will be cooking as well.  Who knows?  It may be gastronomical adventure!  That’s why “luck” is part of the word used to describe it!

Click here to check out our Activity Calendar

 

Call 1-800-280-1078 or Message Us in Facebook (Click Here):  Northwind Lodge 

 

Winter Wilderness Art Retreats

Winter is breathtaking in the Ely, MN area! It is less crowded and you have the freedom to move about as you like and at your own pace! Come up and stay just 5 miles south of the border for a Wilderness Art Retreat at Northwind Lodge! It’s a great way to explore your creative side either by yourself or with small group of friends or family. It is Art Classes and Vacation all wrapped into one unique experience at Northwind Lodge.

ely mn moose

Our forests are covered in white and our frozen lakes are your invitation to explore your creative side in art. Listen to the quiet. Howl for wolves at night. Then, let the thrill of wilderness living be your guide during Into The Brush art session! After classes, round out your vacation by doing outdoor activities like cross-country skiing, ice fishing, snowshoeing, dog sledding, visiting the Fernberg Gallery (on premises), going to town (watch for wolves) or just relaxing. The entire experience is fun and and something you probably don’t do all the time at home. Plus, we are only about 4.5 hours from the Twin Cities (for perspective)!

The retreats are held all winter Northwind Lodge located 15 miles northeast of Ely, MN, 2267 Fernberg Rd.   The 2-Day Program includes: 8 hours of instruction, all painting supplies, after-class independent painting time if desired.  Meals not included.  Class participants may want to bring snacks but can also return to their apartment very easily. Basic kitchen facilities provided in the apartment.

Apartment Housekeeping Unit – Comfortable, housekeeping, apartment-style unit with private driveway and entrance.  Sleeps up to 4 in two bedrooms. One double bed in one bedroom, One double and one twin bed in the second bedroom. Located about 150 feet from the art studio building.  This unit comes with satellite TV, gas range, refrigerator, microwave, basic cooking and eating utensils, bathroom with shower, toilet and lavatory.  Bedding is provided.   Please bring your own towels.   Many of our guests request this rental year after year.

 

This 4 day/3 night Art Wilderness Art Retreat is only: $499.00* for up to the first 2 people*

*and $100.00 extra per person up 4 people

*Plus MN sales tax (6.875%) and local lodging tax (3%)

Call now for availability. Dec 13th 2019

1-218-265-5489 or 1-800-280-1078

Retreat Instructor
Joe Baltich will be your instructor. He is an accomplished, commissioned artist proficient in acrylics. For a quick sampling of his works of the past 3 years, please visit instagram.com/joebaltich. For more details and other art programming for summer, please visit intothebrush.org.

For more on our Fernberg Gallery, visit: Fernberggallery.com

 

Reduce your Stress – Art Program Special

Into The Brush is an art program to teach people how to paint using our fabulously beautiful Boundary Waters wilderness as our subject.  Lessons taught by Ely artist, Joe Baltich.

In appreciation for your checking us out, we’ll deduct 10% from the cost of all regular programming options except the Micro Art Classes (first-time students to Into The Brush) when you reserve.  Just mention the promo code “Reduce your Stress” at the time of reservation.

Click Here for more information

S.O.U.L Award 2017

Into The Brush Receives Community Award for S.O.U.L – 2017

Into The Brush is the honored to be recognized as the local winner of Minnesota’s Touchstone Energy Community Award  by Lake country Power for its work with Stones Of Uplifting Light (SOUL) in providing emotional support for those who become unexpectedly terminally ill.   SOUL operations in April of 2017 as a new program designed to share art on stone with people who are suddenly in the final stages of their life by working with an intermediary (family member, friend, acquaintance, etc) to find out some details about the afflicted individual and a more joyous time in that person’s past.   Joe Baltich, lead SOUL artist,  then paints that moment on stone and sends the art to the individual.  No fees are charged for SOUL stones.  Donations to Into The Brush are accepted but not required.  SOUL recipients are generally not acquainted with SOUL artists and there is no contact between either party.  SOUL founder and artist, Joe Baltich wanted SOUL to represent the kindness of strangers through sharing art.  Although feedback has been non-existent (neither expected, encouraged, nor required)  from SOUL recipients, Into The Brush has been gratified to hear through a few intermediaries that the various recipients were very moved by the gesture-in-stone-art and their families also very appreciative of the lasting mementos.   A small, positive effect in a most difficult time is the goal all Into The Brush with SOUL.   If you know somebody who is having a rough time and faced with harsh realities, Into The Brush encourages you to contact them at intothebrush@gmail.com

Touchstone Energy Community Award
Into The Brush thanks Lake Country Power for their recognition of the SOUL program and is pleased to be a part of the Touchstone Energy Cooperatives!

Into The Brush Art Program

Into The Brush Art Program at Northwind Lodge

Learn the Basics of Painting with a Summer Art Painting Workshop at Northwind Lodge and Into The Brush!

Just imagine spending time outside looking at our beautiful wilderness and then coming back to the studio to paint what you saw.  Yes, you can do it!   It’s great fun and the best way to try your hand at painting in a relaxed, casual environment which also serves as your vacation as well!

Sign up now and give painting in our beautiful wilderness a try!  Bring your friends along!  Into The Brush will take you into the woods and on to the canvas back at the studio!

Get Started Here for 2018!

Into The Brush - Saving the Future of Wilderness - One Stroke at a Time

Into The Brush Painting Art Classes

Acrylics Wild – 2 day Art Class-In studio

During this 2 day class you will:

  •  Learn & apply basic painting techniques.
  •  Finish a painting on canvas.
  •  Relax in the beautiful surroundings of the northwoods.
  •  Have fun and be creative.

This Class will be held at Northwind Lodge located 15 miles northeast of Ely, MN, 2267 Fernberg Rd.   2 Day Program includes: 12 hours of instruction, all painting supplies, after-class independent painting time if desired, discount code for take-home supplies.  Meals not included.  Northwind Lodge housekeeping cabin guests are on their own.  Non-registered (in cabins – see below for rates) class participants may want to bring lunch.

ALL for $175 per person.


Acrylics Wild – 3 day Art Class-In Studio & Field Trip

During this 3 day class you will:

  •  Learn basic painting techniques and apply them to fun projects.
  •  Finish a painting.  Exposure to other surface painting.
  •  Relax in the beautiful surroundings of the northwoods.
  • Take an outdoor hike for artistic observations & inspiration.
  •  Have fun and be creative.

This Class will be held at Northwind Lodge located 15 miles northeast of Ely, MN, 2267 Fernberg Rd.   Price includes: 18 hours of instruction and all painting supplies, after-class independent painting time if desired, discount code for take-home supplies.  Meals not included.  Northwind Lodge housekeeping cabin guests are on their own.  Non-registered (in cabins – see below for rates) class participants may want to bring lunch.

ALL for $295 per person.


Acrylics Wild  – 4 day Art Class-In Studio & Field Trip

During this 4 day class you will:

  •  Learn basic painting techniques and apply them to fun projects.
  •  Finish a variety of paintings on different media.
  •  Relax in the beautiful surroundings of the northwoods.
  • Take a short canoe trip for artist observations & inspiration
  • Have fun and be creative.

This Class will be held at Northwind Lodge located 15 miles northeast of Ely, MN, 2267 Fernberg Rd.   Price includes: 24 hours of instruction and all painting supplies,after-class independent painting time if desired, discount code for take-home supplies.  Meals not included.  Northwind Lodge housekeeping cabin guests are on their own.  Non-registered (in cabins – see below for rates) class participants may want to bring lunch.

ALL for $395 per person.


Cabin Accommodations at discounted rates for art program participants  

Shared Accommodations Rates include –  one bedroom per person with all clean bed linens blankets included,  a shared kitchen/living space which included basic cooking/eating utensils, gas range, electric refrigerator, microwave,  shared bathroom with shower, toilet, lavatory.

Rate is $69.95  per person plus taxes.

Private Accommodations

Private cabins may be available and priced for up to two people minimum depending upon cabin availability at the following rates/dates below.  Individuals may stay alone in a private cabin if available but the pricing for that cabin reflects up to 2 people at the rates in the box below.  So, a husband, friend or partner may want to come up and stay with his wife, but go fishing instead of being enrolled in the art class programming. OR, one person may want to stay in the cabin alone while taking art class programming.  For a total price, simply take the workshop price from above and add it to the the private cabin rate below with regard to the corresponding dates.   Note that at least one person per private cabin must be enrolled in a Art Class to qualify for these rates:  If you have a group of three or more, at your request, we can try to house you in the same cabin for the shared accommodations rates.

Rate is $99.95 per person plus taxes.

Taxes are not included in any of the above pricing.  The above rate is for 1 person taking the program. Boat and motor rentals are available.  You may also bring a private boat for a launch fee of $25.  Please ask about details.

A cabin stay is not required to participate in class programming but it is very convenient.  If staying off property, please be prompt in getting to classes and artist observation trips.

Deposit

For Housing/Workshop Packages, we require an advance deposit of 50% of the combined accommodation and/or workshop rates OR if you are only attending the classes, payment for the scheduled program is required in full.   Deposits are non-refundable.  The balance of your stay is required upon arrival.  Applicable MN state sales tax is not included (6.875%).  A regional lodging tax  of 3% will be charged additionally to the lodging portion of your invoice.  A 2% discount for cash or check payments is available.



Disclaimers:   Into The Brush, Inc. reserves the right to adjust/change/modify Into The Brush program information when deemed necessary to correct for typographical errors or omissions should they occur.  We also reserve the right to make scheduling adjustments for weather or safety and comfort concerns.  There is no refund for participants missing or failing to attend any part of the scheduled programming, nor will there be refunds of any kind for weather-related or other unplanned, unforeseen, cancellations of activities.  While it is our goal to provide a top quality enjoyable experience every time, Into The Brush, Inc. reserves the right to adjust or cancel any scheduling order for any reason.

 

Into The Brush – Painting & Wilderness

Into The Brush - Saving the Future of Wilderness - One Stroke at a Time

Through close observation of the elements of the wilderness by a direct, get-your-hands-dirty, experience led by me, students will learn to appreciate what is here and spread the word, not to mention build a foundation for art application and appreciation.

Right now, with the constant push of environmental extremism, traveling and enjoying the wilderness is becoming more difficult and is resulting in turning people away who don’t understand all the incessant rules and boundaries put in place by environmental ideologues and government.    And then, there is also the pampered nature of today’s people.  Everybody is afraid of everything.

Instead of feeling the wind in their faces and witnessing the brilliance of the sun on their backs while sitting on a rock in silence, I find that people are turning to their artificial world of electronics and man-made experiences which involve the presence of lots of other people (cruise ships and Disneyland are two examples) instead of enjoying the peace, solitude and abject beauty of Minnesota’s northwoods.

As our wilderness exposure declines, silly uninformed notions like nonsensical rumors of bear/wolf/animal attacks rises.  (Watch out for Yeti’s- they steal children)  Stories of physical exertion on portages bloom into nightmarish tales of woe.  And even seeing a mosquito fly past is cause for major alarm.  (you might get a disease and never live to see another cruise) The thoughts of attacking animals, horrifying bugs, and grueling efforts over rough, rugged terrain, despite being complete and utter ignorant, exaggerated,  baloney,  moves more ignorant people away from wilderness.  In the last 5 years, we have witnessed a major falling off of customers. You can’t believe how many are SHOCKED that their iphones have no reception here at the lodge.  SHOCKED – I tell you!  Like they are gonna die a horrible death within seconds because they can’t check the weather or make a call.  They don’t want to drive out on our brand new road anymore because they have no or spotty phone reception.  That’s INSANE!   Ignorance  contributes to the vicious, and growing cycle of avoidance and these people turn out in droves to do things that are not rustic in nature but “safe” because they have cellphone signals.    They attend car shows, flea markets, flower shows, and the like.  (Oh, wow….like that is SO exciting.  I apologize for making fun, but the complete wussiness of it all makes me snort with derision.  What has happened to everybody in just 5 short years?)  This trend of digital defense and reliance simply MUST be changed!   You won’t become a Jeremiah Johnson by taking an Into The Brush course at Northwind Lodge, but hopefully you will develop a bit more self confidence and reliance of living without a constant digital safety net.  A little common sense applied, pay attention to the weather and have a GREAT time!

Big Buck in the swamp
Big Buck in the swamp

As a result of false fantasies of doom, our future wilderness visitors simply no longer go especially today with this whole, ridiculous “safe space” mentality.   And, as people forget all about wilderness, it will fade in the minds of future voting populations thereby turning it into merely “another usable resource” to be processed for its elements such as its vast clean water and minerals right at the surface as opposed to its beautiful aesthetics.  That would be a terrible shame especially since I grew up right here and consider the Boundary Waters Canoe Area my backyard.  Having guided day fishing trips for almost 25 years all over the place, the very thought of the future destruction of the Boundary Waters region by today’s disinterested kids and government restriction,  kind of makes me ill.    I blame people’s wussiness, unbending addiction to electronics, and environmental zealotry for the drop off in visitors to this great northern wilderness.   There’s more to life than looking at one’s cellphone and worrying about safe spaces, micro-aggressions and white privilege.  That’s all these kids talk about today while forgetting wilderness other than protesting everything outside of the wilderness boundaries to protect the wilderness.  By effect, they are doing the exact opposite and bringing about its demise in the more distant future.

I intend to change these ridiculous attitudes and save wilderness via observation and painting.  Get in a canoe and go for a paddle. Hop in a boat and go for a ride.  Take a walk in the brush and realize that you won’t die a horrible death by animals eating you.  Then come home and paint about it.  Stop whining about ridiculous, man-made-up problems and learn to do something spectacular.  Then show the world what they are missing as they stare down at their iPhones while walking off of cliffs.

So, in my effort to “save the wilderness through all people being welcomed to it for a new-found purpose of learning to paint”, I formed “Into The Brush”.   Sure, there are other ways to bring about wilderness awareness, but painting is in my wheelhouse and it actually has long lasting value as opposed to just coming up to take a canoe trip.  Tying the two together will have untold, long-lasting wonders for the one doing it.

Real wilderness brings something for everybody, including woodsmen, artists and city folk.   If we are going to “save wilderness” it will not be by having select groups controlling stringent, unbending guidelines and rules.  When the zealots have died off, there will be no one following their footsteps from the upcoming young crowd.  It will be up to an older, more dedicated group to re-sow the seeds for wilderness through observation and paint.   Wilderness travel and living is not a risk-free event like today’s college students now have to have for everything they do.   In wilderness, you can still drown if you don’t know what you are doing on water and don’t take simple precautions that you will learn in this experience.

Ultimately, saving wilderness will only occur by giving the common man a reason to enjoy and appreciate all the blessings of wilderness through real activity and participation.  Into The Brush is not an organization for zealots and pretenders.  It is here for ordinary people seeking to truly appreciate everything that wilderness brings to everybody.  It’s time we get “into the brush” in more ways than one.

This is my approach.  I hope you will join me.


 

Paint about it – Into the Brush

Into The Brush – How I Started Painting

Into The Brush – I believe you CAN!

Into The Brush – Painting & Wilderness

Into The Brush – Goals

Into The Brush Rates & Dates

Into The Brush – I believe you CAN!

Into The Brush - Saving the Future of Wilderness - One Stroke at a Time

Based on my own experiences I believe you can learn how to paint and have a great time doing it for many years.   All most people need is a foundation to build upon.  The problem is that if you were to head out to the big box art store and walk into the painting section with all those brushes, canvases, canvas boards, easels, paints, and etc., I think it is pretty overwhelming.  You can’t make up your mind.  You don’t want to buy a bunch of the wrong stuff.  You can’t really find someone to ask and you don’t know what to ask because the help is not always comprised of artists who use this stuff.  Their job is usually to find something for you and to put more product on the shelves.

Some of those places offer starting art courses which can be free or at nominal cost, but the problem I find is that you are in a larger metro area.  You find out how to begin.  You go home to your kitchen table with your new kit and what the heck do you start painting?  It’s probably a really nice kitchen in your home, but it is not conducive to painting scenes on canvas from memory.  You feel like chopping celery or beating up a poor, defenseless, egg.  I find it hard to draw inspiration from a beaten egg or celery.  That is why we are Into The Brush in northeastern Minnesota.

red canoe on shore

Out in the Wilderness – inspiring minds want to know how to capture it in paint

Into The Brush is a learn-the-basics painting program out in the northwoods of Minnesota at Northwind Lodge.  With every breath you take, every step you make,  I’ll be watching you you’ll be watching something new to lay down on canvas.  Now, I know you can get subject matter in the city as well, but  you really need to enjoy angular, linear, and round things.  There are many artists who paint architecture and do a really great job of it.  It also serves as a wonderful source for practice painting and study.  But, OMG, is it boring….    Pretty difficult to beat a beautiful lake, a creek and a waterfall white, bathed in lush green leaves and blue sky back drop.  That is our property right here.   Wake up to that every morning and tell me you don’t feel like painting something.   Take one of the lodge kayaks from our beach and paddle around Jasper Lake.  Tell me that you can’t find anything to paint after 2 hours on the water from a duck’s eye view.  Listen to Jasper Creek as it travels to Jasper Lake and see what the sound can inspire you to paint.  Pretty difficult to find  that in a metro area.  I mean, beauty exists everywhere, but it’s easier to find if it’s REALLY obvious.  Takes all the work out of finding inspiration and you can go home and paint a portrait of your pots and pans anytime thereafter.  My favorite was in one of the two art classes I took in college.  I got to stare at a huge pile of old shoes and boots and a smashed up tuba.  Try to draw garbage and find the will to keep on drawing.  I can’t believe I had to pay money for THAT!  I learned nothing of value for 10 weeks.  I didn’t pursue art in college as I would have had to smoke illegal substances to survive it.  How can anyone make something SO dull?  The wilderness out your cabin door here is anything but dull.  The most lowly blade of grass is beautiful here.  I believe painting and art should never be an exercise in tedium.

If you want to take the time and energy, I’ll help you get started with your own painted rock and other surfaces as well including canvases and glassware depending on which which package you select.  How about selling your work in the future.  Often, I hear that artists don’t sell their work because they only want to create it.  That’s great, but how does one buy more paint?  Plus, nothing says paint another one like applause AKA money.   Will you become a millionaire by selling your work?  Gosh, I really do hope so.  Nothing would make me happier!  Will you sell some of your works?  Maybe so, maybe not.  Is that your goal?  My recommendation is to “lightly” make it your goal.   Dream about it in the back of your mind and don’t get all dejected if you don’t sell one right away.  Actively selling your art is a whole ‘nother ball of wax, meaning a completely new and separate venture.  Let’s keep that goal because  a capitalistic spirit does wonders for learning but the “art part” tempers the entire personal experience with enjoying the path more than anything.  The path in painting remains the inspiration to paint.  One really can’t begin with “painting for dollars” in one’s mind.  It does not work because thinking about what will sell first limits your thinking to guessing what somebody else might be thinking.  It can be done, but you need to become one with the paint or at least get comfortable with it first.   It’s the blending of colors, following shapes, and observing, interpreting and emulating the details that has to be applied in order to paint well.  One also needs to draw inspiration and not forget that there will be moments of “blankness” just like writers (another artform) are so afflicted on occasion.

camping

The end result of your painting is the end of the path for that piece.  If you sell it – WOOHOO!  The best part is the affirmation that someone else values your work enough to take it home with them.   That is very inspiring in itself, but the competitive human spirit many times tells one to “beat” that last work.  People tend to strive for a “better” end result on the next piece.  And, if it doesn’t turn out, you can always repaint and try again!  Determination and practice always aid in the development of any skill.  Give it a good shot and see how it goes for you.

At Into The Brush at Northwind Lodge,  the goal is to learn key points that separates artists from people who believe they can’t paint.  Based on my own experiences, which I realize are different than everybody else, I still maintain that with proper attitude, a little bit of guidance, and exposure to wilderness, most people will be able to do something in a short amount of time.  Lay down the foundation and the house will go up.


Paint about it – Into the Brush

Into The Brush – How I Started Painting

Into The Brush – I believe you CAN!

Into The Brush – Painting & Wilderness

Into The Brush – Goals

Into The Brush Rates & Dates