I’ve had a love affair with the Wisconsin River since I can remember. The river’s source begins at Lac Vieux Desert in the Lake District of Northeastern Wisconsin and travels 430 miles to meet the confluence of the Mississippi River, near Prairie du Chien. A while back I’d heard rumors of a re construction project on my favorite stretch of river road, Highway Sixty West along the Wisconsin from Gotham to Muscoda. This eleven-mile Scenic Highway is to me, the most magical section of the road with its curves and rock outcroppings which never lose sight of the river. A trip back in time to relax and leave the world behind for a while.
I began an art project to document, photograph, and interview the locals to understand the history of this river road before it was gone. The oil painting entitled “The Wisconsin River from Sixty West near Muscoda” was part of the project. I liked the way the tree seemed to frame the very essence of the river.
This scene was captured near the base of the mysterious Bogus Bluff . As legends have it, this was a place of post-Civil War counterfeitors, hidden Spanish gold, and an intriguing lost cave where an ancient culture left behind artifacts and other treasures. Time still flows along the beautiful Wisconsin River through legend and history but one must always remember to be respectful of its powerful shifting sandbars, sudden drop offs, and strong currents.
—Jen Salt, Contributor
Jen Salt is an artist who lives in a place she calls “Crow’s Lair Cottage” – just outside of Spring Green where she’s lived for five and a half years. “The Wisconsin River was the draw to move here and I’ve never looked back, coming from a big city. This is home.”