Photos courtesy of Carlynne Welch Carlynne Welch, a local paint maker, dries earth for pigment making next to her wood stove. Welch moved to the Upper Peninsula in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, falling in love with the scenery and plethora of natural products that could be transformed into pigment and watercolor paint.

ESCANABA — For many, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan is seen as a hidden paradise — a refuge from the fast-paced nature of city life. With forests full of beautiful creatures, thousands of miles of coastline, and a wide-variety of foliage, the general allure of the U.P. attracts those seeking a nature-based lifestyle. Other times, however, travelers stumble across the Mackinac Bridge on a quest to explore as many remote areas as they can in their lifetime.

For Carlynne Welch, both of these scenarios are true.

“It has always been difficult to keep me at home,” Welch said. “If I have any time that is open, I want to go drive somewhere.”

Like many, the start of…

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