Ardell Nelson (Artist-in-Residence, 2008)

Artist's painting, series of four images
"Superior Impressions", pastel, 2008

NPS/Ardell Nelson


Isle Royale Reflection

"For 15 days I lived in a cabin situated at the end of a five mile peninsula of the 45 mile Isle Royale – two miles from any other living soul. From my outlook on the 30 foot cliff above Lake Superior I could view the eastern point of Isle Royale, the entrance to Tobin Harbor, and a multitude of islands. This SOLITUDE experience was a focused opportunity to create art. I felt privileged, humbled, inspired, joyous, challenged, lonely, happy, physically tired (the good way), rested, and an overwhelming gratefulness that this was a gift of time and place to be creative.

Initially the solitude was unnerving but as I grew accustomed to my environment I found writing became a way to communicate in my silence."

A photograph shows the end of a rocky peninsula surrounded by a bold blue lake with small islands in the far distance
Arrive at Scoville Point

Photo by Ardell Nelson, used with permission

Two full days of travel
to arrive at Scoville Point
Oh my
Oh God
those who live
at the ends of the world
stand in awe.


Nature rejoices
a constant
daily, seasonal, millennial


A woman smiles at the camera at close range with water and trees in the background against a sunny blue sky

About the Artist

Ardell Nelson was an Isle Royale Artist-in-Residence from July 25th to August 9th, 2008. She is an educated and experienced artist (BFA, Bethel University and MFA, Minneapolis College of Art & Design). She has worked as exhibition designer, graphic designer, productive artist (commissioned to create 350 original pastels for a hotel in Minneapolis), gallery artist, liturgical artist, art professor, and retail visual manager. “My entire career life has always involved art and design. My head, heart and hands know no other way."


Last updated: December 19, 2019

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