Painted Forest

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Today (ETA: yesterday, at this point), I am taking part in an Edgewood College writing retreat at Painted Forest in Valton, WI. There is no internet here, but my plan is to prep a series of entries, to be posted later.

Our group drove over from Madison a little after 8. The drive through the Driftless Region was absolutely gorgeous. I am in love with the rolling hills and winding roads in this area. The "400" state bike trail runs near here, and I think I may wish to take a ride on it at some point this season.

Painted Forest is kind of a two-part location. The main activity of the retreat is taking place in the Art Studio and Study Center, which was built in 2004. I am tucked away in the sleeping loft, which is cozy and quiet and warm. Perfect!

Painted Forest proper is an old meeting hall for the Modern Woodmen of America from the 1890s. On the outside, it is just a plain, white wooden building. But on the inside, it is covered from floor to ceiling by murals painted by Ernst Hüpeden, a German immigrant who taught himself to paint while wrongfully imprisoned. The murals are weird and wonderful, full of symbolism and scenes of the organizations initiation rituals. My favorite parts were the areas were the murals move from wall to ceiling, with the tops of trees silhouetted against a blue sky, dotted with friendly white clouds.

It is a great location to do some work, without the distraction of the rest of the internet. (Though I was careful to make sure I opened a number of new tabs last night, so that I could make use of the internet in a slightly more static way.)

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This page contains a single entry by Kayjayoh published on May 20, 2011 1:58 AM.

Ephemeral Beauty was the previous entry in this blog.

Speaking of Painted Ceilings is the next entry in this blog.

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