Art Painting Workshops for Summer

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!

Plan #1:  One person attends the  Art Workshop and you either bring your spouse or a friend and they stay for free.  While you are at the classes they can go fishing, hiking, canoeing kayaking, or just sit and relax.

 $770 for a 4 night/5 day stay

*(3% lodging tax in not included with the price that would be extra)

Plan #2:  Two people attend the Art Workshop.  When not in class you can enjoy fishing, hiking, canoeing, kayaking or just sit and relax.

Regular $1265 for a 4 night/5 day stay

*(3% lodging tax in not included with the price that would be extra)

All materials and instruction provided.  Bring yourself and prepare to have fun learning something useful for your psyche!

Call 1-800-280-1078 to book your program!

Read more about our exciting programming at 

Ely’s 1st Boundary Waters Artfitter

You heard it right here,  folks!   Northwind Lodge is the first Boundary Waters Artfitter in the Ely, MN region.  Art lessons in the wilderness full of beautiful things waiting right here for you to enjoy?

You also get time to relax, fish, sit by the beach, and just be.  You and your friends can make a 6 day adventure an annual event.


Into The Brush Logo

Not only can you come up and stay at a really nice resort in housekeeping cabins near the Boundary Waters, you can enroll in the art program sponsored by Into The Brush right at Northwind Lodge!

When you take this “art vacation” at Northwind Lodge,  it is completely “artfitted” meaning that your art materials are all provided as well as a guide who takes you into the brush and helps you observe beautiful wild things artistically for a few hours.  Then, follow your guide back inside to the art studio where you learn to paint what you saw and get “into the brush”.  It’s tons of fun and when your adventure is complete, you will take home with you a new skill set and the confidence to get “into the brush” at home.  So, after being artfitted at Northwind Lodge, you can take home more than just some really great memories.  You take home exposure and skills.

How about this possibility?  You want to paint but your spouse is into fishing?  The way we structured our artfitting, you can take the program and the spouse can go out on this pretty lake we call Jasper in search of some really nice bass, bluegills, northern pike and walleyes.   It’s a win-win for you both!

Here’s are some of the things we paint:
Rock Paintings
Rock Paintings at Northwind Lodge
This is a moose on canvas.  We strive to
get you to this level but it may take a few tries.
Never give up!
Moose on canvas
You also will be painting on wood
and on glass:
Glass Painting at Ely's Artfitter Northwind Lodge
These are some examples of what you can expect to be doing with Into The Brush 6 day programs.  Don’t even think for a minute that you cannot do this and think of the fun you’ll have when you return home! Plenty of time to practice and perfect your technique!

So, why not give us a call and book your Art Vacation, right now?  1-800-280-1078.  You can also email us at

For reasonable rates that include all your gear and discounted cabin rates, Click Here


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 – Program Goal

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

Program Goal

Learn the basics of painting, and composition on canvas, glass, stone in a wilderness theme.   By the end of this experience, students should be able to walk into an art store and have a pretty good idea of what they like and want to do with confidence independently.    We want to hear “I can do that!”

All painting materials included.  You just need to show up.


Program Experiences – These vary with 4 or 7 day Program – weather dependent so this is a guideline and not set in stone.

  1.  Artistic Inspiration 1 – Wilderness Day Canoe Trip
    Experience wilderness in a nutshell as all 5 of your senses come alive in the unbelievable beauty that surrounds us here in northern Minnesota!   3- 4 hours on the water with the art instructor (me).   Includes all canoes, basic canoe handling instructions for water & land, pfd’s, paddles, transportation to BWCA entry point for gear.    Need to bring: Small day pack,  light rain gear,  lunch or snacks,  beverages, digital camera – smart phone works,too,  sunscreen and appropriate clothing for the temps.  Toe-covering footwear.  No flipflops or Teva sandal types.  Running shoes or light hiking boots OK.  Long pants recommended.  You’ll need to adapt clothing to current weather weather conditions.  If weather is bad prior to the trip, we will reschedule – flexibility is key.  Moderate exertion will be required and there could be bursts of greater exertion needed.  Wind can pick up on lakes at any time.
  2. Artistic Inspiration 2 – Wilderness Day Hike – Walk on land to experience wilderness on a more micro scale to develop a keener sense for that which makes every painting more intriguing and deeper in artistic input.  2.5 to 3 hours  View overlooks in deep woods.  Rugged terrain.  Moderate exertion.  Closed toe footwear required.   No flip-flops or sandals.   Long pants recommended, not shorts.  We will be in deep woods traveling on foot.  Gun for bears optional (Kidding.  No guns needed.  All we have to do figure out who is the slowest among us and outrun them.  Again, kidding!  There will be no running. We’ll just tie the slow one to a tree and walk away.)
  3. On non-travel days/activity days, painting will be in the morning and evening.   9:15 AM to 11:45 AM and  6:30 PM to 8:30 PM  Fridays mornings are independent study.
  4. Wednesday Night Campfire – Come sit around the campfire to watch flames dance in the dark while they light up the rocks and shadows that surround them.  Marshmallows optional.  Guess what we’ll be painting on Thursday morning.
  5. Live Bear Painting – We paint him blue and add stripes if he’s not too ornery.  This is for the advanced class.

Accommodations Available at Northwind Lodge.  Stay is not required to participate in Into The Brush program:
Housekeeping cabins with kitchens provided, running water (in pipes, not all over the floor).  Basic cooking and eating utensils provided along with Gas range, electric refrigerator, BBQ grill, microwave, coffeemaker, toaster.   FREE WIFI.  (Please check out the cabin videos to see what they look like inside.)    All bed linens, blankets, pillows & cases provided.  Must bring own bath towels, paper towel, food, personal effects.  If you need espresso, you’ll need to bring your own espresso maker.

For Painting Classes,  an old shirt as a cover up for painting is recommended but not required.

Fishing - Into The Brush

Non-Class Guest Activities –  If your husband or wife comes along but is not in the actual class this is what they (and you when not painting) can do.   Being that this is at Northwind Lodge, there’s that whole resort experience thing:

  • Self-guided kayaking and canoeing on Jasper lake with several kayaks available on first come basis at no charge.
  • Fishing on Jasper Lake with boat that comes with cabin.  Motor rentals are available by day or week.
  • Wednesday Evening Campfire.  Bring yourself and a bag of marshmallows to get sticky around the fire place.
  • Relaxing with a book at beach in adirondack chairs at the beach.
  • Swimming at the beach.
  • Shopping at our store Red Rock
  • Visiting Ely for the International Wolf Center, the Bear Center, dining, and shopping.


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