The canvas is stretched, the pallet is mixed, and brushes ready for action. I am starting what I feel to be a very important work entitled LEWIS and CLARK: The Departure of Lewis and Clark from the Wood River Encampment, May 14, 1804. For the next few years, I hope to be working with the theme of Lewis and Clark. These works will be a prominent part of my 2004 showing at the Old Courthouse in Downtown St. Louis. As the work developes, I will try to send updates on the progress of the painting. Above, the first day of drawing is complete. A few changes have been made from the preliminary study, however, that always happens. That is why it is called a study. Please follow along as I talk a little about the voyage of Lewis and Clark and the development of the study.
In 1803, the United States purchased, for 15 million dollars, a tract of land from France that extended from west of the Mississippi River to almost as far as the Pacific Ocean. In order to explore this new land, President Jefferson sent Merriweather Lewis and Lewis' choice of co-captain, William Clark, to explore and report their findings. The party would leave the eastern United States, travel down the Ohio River, and winter at Camp Wood located on the banks of Wood River which was located across from the mouth of the Missouri River. The Lewis and Clark party spent the winter of 1803-04 at this location preparing for the voyage up the Missouri River.
On May 14, 1804 the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery launched their boats, put their oars in the water, and crossed the Mississippi River to enter the mouth of the Missouri River. This day is a landmark in American history because it marks the official opening of the West. My next major work will depict this event. The work will portray the keelboat and red and white pirogues with all hands rowing across the Mississippi River and into the mouth of the Missouri River on a voyage that will record them as being the first official representatives of the American government to enter the West.
The above images represent the early stages of development of the study that I have completed for the larger work.
This is the final oil study for the work. The Lewis and Clark keelboat with all hands engaged in the activity of propelling the craft across the Mississippi River and against the current of the Missouri River is the main subject of the composition. The two other vessels of the Corps of Discovery are the red and white pirogues seen beside and following the keelboat. I hope you will enjoy following along as this work is completed.
|Click here to go to the second installment dealing with the progress of this work.|