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)
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,”
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
“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
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
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.