The Artwork of
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
The entries compiled here were originally recorded into yellow notebooks at the end of each day during my residency at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. For much of my stay, I lived in an isolated cabin along the shore of Lake Superior.
In preparing for this residency I sought out the notes and journals of other artists who had participated in this or similar programs. I found none. So, this is my attempt to leave a trail for others to follow - as well as to share this compelling experience.
For publication here, I have made minor corrections in grammer and word choice to improve readability.
Click each date for the complete entry.
My cabin was in a secluded spot. I had no idea the 35 miles from the park headquarters to my cabin would consume almost 2 hours of travel time.
Autumnal Equinox: After a few miles down the Chapel Basin road there was a bulldozer dozing and the road was a mess. I stopped the car and got out - so did bulldozer guy.
I found two primary books in my research for this residency. I read the biography of Thomas Moran. He painted here in 1860 - in July I believe - 145 years ago.
This morning's weather was perfect, crystal clear blue skies with bright sunshine. Slightly to the west were the cliffs of Pictured Rocks - all lit in full sun as I arrived at Chapel Beach.
Rain was a major opponent during the morning painting. The constant drizzle wasn't as bad as when the occasional breeze would unseat the water from the leaves of the trees. I was constantly moping water off the painting.
Sometimes a rainy day can produce wonderful color in the landscape. The warm rich tones in objects saturated by the water in much the same way as varnishing a painting brings out the intensity of the warm, dark colors.
The air was calm, no wind. There was an intense, outdoor quiet. Then, I could hear the birds - all manner of them going about all manner of things. It was a very serene morning and the resulting sense of wonder stayed with me throughout the day.
The gale continues to blow here; the wind has picked up, really roaring out of the north, delivering a powerful face-full of stinging rain at the shore.
The woods looked ripped up; I remembered the previous evening's storm. Maple leaves, still green, littered the ground. Many of the ferns covering the forest floor were broken in half, almost like someone had taken a weed whacker to them.
It must be "Fly" day - the day each fall when the flies sense the weather turning and make their attempt to move indoors. The house is full of flies, some half dead, some further.
While I painted a pair of otters snuck up behind me to watch. I've never seen otters before - but they seemed playful - just like on television.
Along the road just after Melstrand, I saw a little fox start out into the road. It saw me and darted back. in my rear-vew mirror, I saw it resume crossing as soon as I had passed - knowing I was no longer a threat - pretty smart.
I painted at Miners Falls; the weather was perfect for it - strong atmospheric effects under the cloudy sky - strong aerial perspective. It was still nice and warm too.
Today I met with two different classes and talked about painting. In each class, I set up a very simple still life - an apple - and painted while I talked about the characteristics of painting.
Reflections on my experience.
Notes for those who follow.