Chesterton Tribune

Photo: Lost dune remembered in David Tutwiler painting

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Lost dune remembered: A print of a painting of “Howlin’ Hill,” a large turret dune destroyed 40-some years ago for the development of the Port of Indiana, has been donated to the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Artist David Tutwiler (at left) painted the dune scene based on a photograph taken by long-time dunes activist Herb Read (at right). Through a high-tech process known as Giclée, 150 reproductions of the original have been made, preserving the image of Howlin’ Hill in perpetuity. Shown in center is National Lakeshore Superintendent Dale Engquist.     (Tribune photo by Vicki Urbanik)




It was Herb Read’s favorite place in the Indiana Dunes.

Towering 150 feet above lake level, the huge mound of sand known as a turret dune was in a blowout the size of 68 football fields. It stood in a tree graveyard, where 5,000 or so years ago a white pine forest stood before it was buried in sand.

It was a dramatic place, with no other place in the Indiana Dunes -- then or now -- like this place, which was known as Howlin’ Hill.

“It was not the highest dune, but it was certainly the most spectacular,” Read said.

On January 28, 1961, Read was walking in the dunes with camera in hand, chronicling the dunes before the biggest and best of them were wiped off the face of the earth. Read looked at Howlin’ Hill and saw a perfect image as the late afternoon sun hit the snow-capped peak. He snapped a picture fast -- he had only 20 seconds before the clouds blocked the sun and the image was gone.

“It became my favorite slide,” Read said of this image, one of thousands of dune scenes in his “lost dune” archive.

Though Howlin’ Hills is long gone -- it was located about in the center of what is now the Port of Indiana -- its image has been preserved in perpetuity, thanks to Read’s camera and the artistry of Beverly Shores painter David Tutwiler.

On Thursday, Tutwiler’s rendering of Read’s photograph was unveiled at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore’s Visitor Center, which received a donated reproduction and which will be on public display. Reproductions are also for sale to the public.

“This is not just another pretty picture of the Indiana Dunes,” Read said, “but a very special place ... with a tragic history.”

Originally, Read said he wanted to make an enlargement of his photo, but “I had a cheapy lens,” and the slide didn’t lend itself to a large-scale enlargement.

So, Read and his son commissioned Tutwiler, whom Read called the “premiere painter of the dunes,” to paint the scene based on his photograph. Tutwiler’s original oil measures a massive 40 by 50 inches. Through an advanced process known as Giclée, 150 reproductions of the original have been made, all on canvas and stretched on a frame just like original oils. Tutwiler said it took five hours to make the color adjustments so that the pigments match the original.

It takes a close-up eye to realize that the work isn’t an actual painting. “This is definitely the closest thing to the original,” he said.

Tutwiler said the Giclée process is used by major art museums when they want to display important works that have been damaged or deteriorated with time. Museums often display the Giclée version and then bring out the original only for special exhibits.

Four sizes of the limited edition reproductions are available for sale, with the National Lakeshore retaining a portion of the proceeds. The largest is the original size at cost of $1,200, while the smallest is 16 by 20 inches at $480.

Each print is signed by both Tutwiler and Read, and each comes with a certificate of authenticity, a description of Howlin’ Hill’s history, and a number to show its sequence in the 150-print run. The reproductions are available at the Tutwiler Studio in Beverly Shores and at Read’s Lost Dunes Publishing. Information about the work, the Giclée process and Howlin’ Hill is available at the National Lakeshore’s Visitor Center.

Read said he wants people to think about three things when they see the work: First, to recognize that beautiful and unique dunes like Howlin’ Hill have been destroyed, representing a lesson of what can happen to natural lands; second, to have a greater appreciation for what has been saved in the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and Dunes State Park; and third, to resolve, as he has done, to extend protections to the dunes that still exist outside the parks.


Posted 5/24/2004