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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 $150 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 $275 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 $375 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 plus tax.

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 plus tax

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.


 

Chickadee on Wineglass
Chickadee on Wineglass

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Nice Article by Hometown Focus about SOUL

Stones Of Uplifting Light was given some coverage today by Hometown Focus a regional paper read by many on the Iron Range!  We thank them for it!

Stones of Uplifting Light continue to be a work in progress


SOUL stone painted by Joe Baltich. Photo submitted.

SOUL stone painted by Joe Baltich. Photo submitted.ELY – In late April of 2017, Joe Baltich, CEO and head artist of Into The Brush, announced the formation of a new program within his educational non-profit, Into The Brush. This new program is a play on the kindness of strangers.

After hearing of a terminally ill mom who enjoyed a wilderness canoe trip near Ely, veteran wilderness artist Baltich, guided by empathy, decided that this complete stranger needed a pick-meup.

He sent her a finished work of art painted on a Lake Superior stone depicting a canoe in the Boundary Waters. It was both unannounced and free.

Later, he heard of little boy fighting leukemia and sent off another rock painting of  (read more here)

 

Ely Stone Stash! 

Find a fine art stone stashed somewhere in Ely.  Painted by Joe Baltich of Into The Brush and Connie Edwards, artist in residence at Northwind Lodge. Find one & you can keep it or re-hide it.   Either way is good!  

Find The Golden Moose and redeem it for a $25 Red Rock gift certificate and a FREE private art lesson with Joe -a $50 value!  

Please post pic’s or your find in What’s Up Ely MN and Ely MN Rocks in Facebook.  That way we’ll know if all the rocks were found.  Have a great time starting September 9, 2017 in the morning. 


Good Luck rock hunting !

Micro Art Classes are Producing Some Excellent Fine Art

Lots of new-artists trying their hands at putting color to stone.   Despite very little painting experience, these students had a great time and turned out some very impressive works!  I enjoy teaching these classes, too!

Micro Art Classes

Painted Canoe of Ely

Here’s a quick 51 second promotional ad describing The Painted Canoe of Ely.

 

Hometown Focus Article – Into The Brush

Into the Brush: Combining art and adventure in the wilderness
By Jody Anderson
HTF Columnist


Joe Baltich and his painted canoe. Photo by Jody Anderson.
Joe Baltich and his painted canoe. Photo by Jody Anderson.
ELY – Just five miles from Canada, and 15 miles northeast of Ely on the Fernberg Trail, stands Red Rock Wilderness Store and Northwind Lodge, formerly known as Jasper Lake Resort. It is a place that holds generations of memories like pitch-black nights with shimmering stars while gathered around a campfire, the dancing lights of the Aurora Borealis, and midnight wolf operas. The resort, now managed by Joe Baltich, Jr., has been in the Baltich family for three generations. Surrounded by the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW), and deep in the northwoods boreal forest, the resort offers something unique from others in the area. It is liking walking into the past with its rustic charm, while still offering today’s modern amenities such as wireless service. It just might be possible that Northwind Lodge is the oldest family-run business in the area. The resort, which is over 70 years old, dates back to 1944.

The Red Rock Wilderness store, which doubles today as Joe’s art studio, has the largest selection of fishing tackle in the area. Some of the locals callRed Rock the “Cabela’s of the North.” Today Joe’s store also has his artwork for sale – wine glasses, mugs and canvases displaying beautiful northwoods scenery. You could say that he has come full circle when it comes to his art. It was there at the resort on Jasper Lake, at the age of 13, that he discovered he was not only an outdoors enthusiast, but also an artist. The resort has seen and weathered a lot of changes over the years. Change within the resort industry is common, and calls for innovativeness at times. The resort was once known for skiing, and had its own Nordic ski trails. It was on one of those snow-covered trails that Joe met his wife Annette. Skiing under a canopy of pines however, is now a part of the resort’s past. But innovativeness and creativity is what Joe is all about, and it is his passion for painting that is the inspiration behind his most recent resort venture.


This past week I made the drive to Red Rock to see “The Painted Canoe of Ely,” Joe’s latest masterpiece. It is a symbol of both art and adventure in the wilderness. Joe spent over 400 hours last winter painting on the unique aluminum canvas! His original plan was to paint the animals of the BWCAW but instead, at someone’s suggestion, he painted the history of our region. He chose to depict the wilderness area in the 100 years prior to its federal wilderness designation in 1978 on one side, and the wilderness area how it exists today on the other. The canoe is a Grumman canoe which is symbolic in itself. Grumman originally was a leading producer of military aircraft. If you look close, Joe included a painting of a Grumman Hellcat F6F fighter aircraft used in 1943-1944 during the war. After World War II wound down in 1944, the company began to produce Grumman canoes which replaced wooden canoes that were mostly being used at that time. The Grumman canoes, being lighter and stronger, made portaging and canoeing in the wilderness easier. Grumman canoes are a significant part of our BWCAW history.

At age 13, Joe’s first experience with art began when he experimented with his father’s wood burning kit. Tiring of the kit’s designs, he began to draw his own – deer, moose, and squirrels. Soon he was selling the wood plaques to resort guests in the store. One day one of the guests, who happened to be an art teacher, told him he needed to learn to paint. He couldn’t even imagine that. The woman left and came back two hours later with a rock she had just painted. It had a wilderness scene with a deer and a sunset. He thought it was one of the most beautiful things he had ever seen. She sent him to town for the basic painting supplies he would need. He painted his first rock that night at the dining table while his family gathered around him. He sold his third rock. The money he made from his artwork allowed him to purchase his first art studio –a small 8×10 shed from Sears. Headded stools, an easel, and a fluorescent light. The resort kids would gather in there each night and watch him paint. He would take orders from guests. He sold many blue herons on canvas. While attending UMD in college he was often commissioned by students to paint gifts for their parents. His dorm room walls were like an art gallery.

After college in 1983, he returned home feeling discouraged by the present job market. He returned to guiding at the resort, which he had been doing since he was 14. He also became involved in politics and served as Ely’s mayor and on the city council for a time. It was upon returning to resort life after college that Joe discovered his studio had been damaged by the elements. He attempted to fix it, but it was never quite the same. Joe lost his mojo. For 32 years Joe took a sabbatical from art. That is until he decided to paint an Adirondack chair last year forIncredible Ely’s fundraiser – Chair-ish Ely. And guess what? Joe the artist was back! Joe describes this past winter painting the canoe as “an adventure into art.” Painting the canoe, Joe said, was something he needed to do for a couple of reasons. He needed a demonstration piece for his new program “Into the Brush,” and he needed something cathartic. It was a slow winter for his business, and he needed something to keep him busy and that was good for his psyche. “Into the Brush” once just an idea, is now a reality.

There’s a lot of conversation these days about saving our local wilderness. Many are concerned about preserving it for future generations. They are worried about the environment. Others are concerned about what may appear to be a bigger threat. It seems that with each passing year, the number of people traveling to Ely to spend time in the wilderness is declining. A decline in tourism means a decline in local business. Joe has seen the decline. He believes there are various reasons for the drop in numbers. One is that we have a large aging population that either is no longer able to venture out due to health issues, or they feel they have “been there, done that.” Digital distractions have also impacted interest in both the young and the old. Today’s generation is also more concerned about safety, and feel uncomfortable about being unplugged from civilization for any length of time. With this in mind, Joe came up with a new idea to introduce people to the wilderness. His idea combines wilderness adventure and art through his new endeavor “Into the Brush.”

“Into the Brush” (www.intothebrush.org) is in the process of becoming an independent 501(c) (3) nonprofit. Through “Into the Brush,” Joe is offering a new and adventurous program at Northwind Lodge. The program offers an “art camp like experience” where guests can learn the basics of painting by adventuring in the wilderness, and then coming back and putting it on canvas, wood, stone, or glass. At “art camp” you can stay in one of the resort’s housekeeping cabins with friends or family. Each day you will spend two hours in the morning, and two hours in the evening learning how to paint. Inspiration will come from the 2-3 hours spent hiking or canoeing each day independently, or under Joe’s guidance. The program offers 4- or 7-day classes. The classes are designed for the beginner with no experience necessary. Joe also offers 2-hour micro classes on occasion to anyone, not just resort guests. Joe has a lot of plans for the future of “Into the Brush.” He envisions an art gallery someday, and even internships and visiting artists. He is also thinking about expanding his art program to include photography and other mediums.

Through his new venture, Joe hopes to introduce a whole new group of people to the wilderness. Perhaps even those who would have never imagined themselves adventuring in the heart of Minnesota’s northwoods. The truth is, people are increasingly seeking out adventure. Many, though, want something just a little bit different than what has been the tradition.

If you are looking for something to do this fall, I encourage you to take a drive up the Fernberg Trail and see the canoe for yourself. It is breathtaking. Joe will give you the history behind each of the scenes on the canoe because Joe isn’t just an artist, he’s also a storyteller, and what some call a wordsmith. Perhaps you will find that one of the scenes is related to your family history. For me it was the panel with the logging camp scene, because my grandfather ran a logging camp on the Echo Trail. Don’t forget to ask Joe about the panel that contains his own family’s history. What an adventure that was!

“The Painted Canoe of Ely” is the canoe that tells a story. It’s worth the drive, and the drive up the Fernberg is beautiful in the fall. Take the time to visit Kawishiwi Falls along the way, and stop at the Rookie Lake overlook also. If you are lucky, you just may spot a moose!

Jody Anderson lives in Embarrass, MN.

Our Purpose with Into The Brush

The times, they are a-changin’ – and not always for the better
Actual wilderness usage is declining in Ely, Minnesota.  It is down from 250,000 visitors per year in the mid 90’s, to a mere 107,000 users in 2015 as per US Forest Service Boundary Waters Canoe Area permit records.  That’s over a million acres of land Wilderness Painting Class - Ely, MNand water with 5 major access areas dividing up 107,000 people.  It’s a substantial dropping off of people interested in Ely’s wilderness.   Wilderness usage is being usurped by digital distractions, unrealistic fears of bugs and animals driven by media and ignorance, and a general lack of knowledge about our fantastic wilderness right next to Ely, MN.   I feel the digital world has taken young people on a fantasy ride and many are now completely out of touch.

In 2014,  a consulting group of “city-folk” professionals came to town to consult and offer guidance to improve the economic health of Ely.  After considering the modern needs of today’s markets and declining economic activity in Ely, they recommended (among other things) that Ely build “pocket parks” around the downtown area to attract people to Ely.  Such little parks were to be with trees, groomed vegetation, benches, and free WIFI to give a warm, inviting, “wilderness-like feel” to downtown Ely for people to enjoy.

Sounds great, right?  Every pseudo-wilderness should have free WIFI.  That way you can watch Youtube videos about taking a canoe trip outside of town while you sit in a pocket park enjoying a premium coffee beverage.  It’s JUST like being there.

For the record, Ely has always been surrounded by millions of acres of wilderness and water only 5 minutes from town in any direction.  We have a gargantuan, fabulous “pocket park” right next to town!  It requires no landscape architect or construction firm.   That’s the REAL thing, not some professionally designed, mini park to allow one to escape the stresses of the concrete jungle of downtown Ely.   OMG- we’ve become so jaded in our digital distraction needs, that we are actually building “wilderness with WIFI” inside of a town that sits on the very edge of the most famous, canoe-only  wilderness in the world; the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.  The rise of  digitally distracted enthusiasts explains why the average age of Boundary Waters visitors is now 58 – up from 55 just a few years ago.

To me, that is really messed up… and sad.

With Into The Brush, we want to buck the trend instead of following it like the outside world is pressuring us to do.  That is why we built a new experience to get people “into the brush” once again.  We’re getting back to basics with a twist of sorts.

Unique Educational Experience
We are offering a unique, non-profit painting program where we take participants (who stay in housekeeping cabins in the real woods) “into the brush” via water and foot to guide them in artistic observation.   Such observation opens up a whole new world with a far deeper understanding than would be acquired by just taking a canoe-camping trip due to all the other required distractions associated with wilderness travel in such a trip.  There’s not enough time to effectively spend on artistic observation on a canoe camping trip, I feel.  But when staying in a cabin in the woods, it becomes easier and more effective to do, and then later, apply.

After a few hours outside, figuratively deconstructing rocks and sticks and water,  we then head back to the studio to get “into the brush” once again.  We reconstruct what we observed layer by layer, stroke by stroke, applying paint to canvas, stone, glass and wood depending on the program parameters.  Believe you can do it – painting is not like drawing or sculpting.  It is more achievable for more people.  You just have to take your time and give it a shot.  There is no wrong way to do it.

Into The Brush is designed to re-introduce wilderness – real, actual, tangible wilderness to real people in smaller, comfortable bursts through painting.  Because we will be in studio mornings and evenings, wilderness outings will be limited in duration usually to two or three hours at the most.  During the day and free times, participants come back to their cabins for their own meal prep and relaxation time.  They can enjoy self-guided kayaking, swimming, going into the concrete jungle of Ely, or relaxing in the Adirondack chairs at the beach.  They can even spend more time in the studio with independent study.   It’s far more comfortable than spending a 5 day canoe-camping trip in the woods and weather elements.  It is also quite necessary to stay in cabins because we do actually want to learn how to paint.  I love painting and you will, too – at least that is my hope.

At program’s end, our painters should have basic-to-intermediate painting skills exposure, and a sufficient knowledge of artist paints and accessories to allow them to go home and continuing painting with confidence.  They should also have a newfound appreciation for wilderness cabin living, as well as canoeing exposure and hiking in the woods.  Northwind Lodge is an unbelievably beautiful back drop for any artist and inspiration is everywhere.

As opposed to eating ice cream (which, don’t get me wrong, is always fun) in a manicured pocket park in downtown Ely,  it is our hope that our artists would find their real deep-woods adventure so positive that they would share it with family and friends back home both by their works and word of mouth!  The icing on this great-wilderness-experience cake is coming home knowing how to paint!

That is our purpose at Into The Brush.

Promoting wilderness appreciation and experience through art education
Big Buck in the swamp

 

 


 

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