Janine Patten and Tom McDonald met while pursuing masters degrees in Fine Arts at The University of Illinois at Chicago. Along with sharing a passion for creating art; Tom and Janine both love camping, hiking, canoeing and fishing; especially in their favorite place, The Boundary Waters Canoe Area in Northern Minnesota.  Many art exhibitions and canoe trips later Janine and Tom were married. They began creating and exhibiting paintings, drawings and relief sculptures with a Northwoods theme. Eventually they moved to the Northwoods, to Bear Island Lake in Northern Minnesota. At Bear Island Lake they established an art studio and the Bear Island Art Factory began.