Friday, August 5, 2011

Back Blog

"The Tombolo" 8 x 10
Well, I've been off the trail sense July 4th. Primarily due to prior obligations: the Grand Marais Arts Festival and the Door County Plein Air Festival were back to back to back weekends.  But I've got some back log blogging to do, so lets get caught up.

Kadunce River to Judge C.R. Magney State Park to my house.
10 1/2 miles
     I've been keeping my hiking around the Grand Marais area only because it is convenient to find someone who can either pick me up at the end of my jaunt or discharge me at the beginning of the section. I chose this section because I could literally hike home, my house being only a half mile from Judge Magney State Park.  My good friends Amy and David agreed to drive my truck back to my house (and if you are not familiar with my truck and its age this is asking a lot). They lived to tell the tale.

"Lake Walk, Evening" 8 x 10
THE LAKE WALK.  This section has a beautiful stretch where you are hiking directly on the Lake Superior shoreline. It also holds one of my favorite painting locations: the tombolo. The tombolo is a deposition landform in which an island is attached to the mainland by a narrow piece of land such as a spit or bar. Once attached, the island is then known as a tied island.  This particular landmass, no matter what angle I look at it, has such an interesting shape that I keep returning to paint it.  Its especially strong when its in silhouette or has a raking light on it.  In winter it has wonderful sheets of ice that form carrying beautiful aquamarine colors.  It has also become an interesting measuring stick for lake levels with low water levels allowing easy, dry access to the top of the tombolo while higher water levels require some rolling up of the pant legs.

TECH NOTES.  I'm trying to keep my pack as light as possible to avoid hernia's, blown knees and a strained back, so before the first outing I weighed everything.  My pack, empty, weighs 6 pounds; sleeping bag: 2.5lbs; sleeping pad: 2lbs; sketch book: 14.5 oz; pencil: .5oz.; pochade box-empty: 2lbs.(early landscape painters would often paint rough, quick sketches, a pochade, on location as reference for larger studio paintings. My pochade box holds an 8" x 10" panel). 8" x 10" panel: 4 oz.; #2-#12 Raphael 359 paint brush: .5 oz. each; paint (most of the tubes I had were about half full but varied) 1 oz. to 2.5 oz.; 100ml of a 200ml tube of flake white: 12.5 oz.; 10 business cards: virtually weightless. I'll carry more.

My initial palette included black, white, cadmium yellow light, cad. yellow, cad. red, alizarin crimson, manganese blue and ultramarine blue. I've sense added cad. orange and cobalt blue with the rational that the convenience of these extra colors out weighed (no pun intended) the extra 3oz. of weight added to the pack.
Choosing Brushes and a Trail Section


  1. Tombolo may become a household word. Did you notice the red underscore, meaning spelling error, as you typed it? We give a Tombolo award at Sugarloaf Cove for those who have given exceptional, long-term service on the board or in the wider community. I learned the meaning of the word from Geologist John Green, who served Sugarloaf for years, and taught us about the tombolo at Little Two Harbors at Split Rock. The definition and painting you posted is a keeper. As for plein air, sketching, etc, I have a lot to learn from you. I take lots of photos. Some of my best efforts lately came directly from memory and imagination, after studying the photos and recalling what I really saw.

  2. Dave, Yes I did get the underscore. A friend of mine clued me into the geological term for that formation. Thanks for the "keeper" comment.

    Holly, Thanks! Could you read it ok?