I have finished another painting in my Lewis and Clark series: The Journey Begins. The painting will depict my interpretation of the departure of Lewis and Clark from St. Charles. A lot of research has gone into the painting. And, I think the image suggests a possible depiction the events of May 21, 1804.
On May 21, 1804, the Lewis
and Clark Expedition departed the settlement of St. Charles located
on the Missouri River. In my opinion, the exit is part of the
formal departure staged by Lewis for the citizens of St. Charles
and visiting associates from St. Louis. The lists have been checked
and rechecked, loads have been adjusted and reloaded, and good
byes said by all. The men have attended Mass and the crew now
feels what must be the true excitement felt by every maritime
crewmember in history as their vessel pulls away from its moorings
and into the current. They are free from the confines of the land
and free to wander fulfilling their desire to see around the next
bend. The men are under the formal command of Lewis, and, because
of the formal nature of this moment and Lewis' desire to impart
his will for discipline within the ranks of his men, the viewer
of this work sees all hands depicted wearing their best uniform.
The expedition will only travel but a mile or so around the first
bend and camp for the night.
The flags are waving on high only to be matched by the spirits of the men. This is the beginning of a true epic journey to open the West of the United States of America, and, to explore the newly acquired land of the Louisiana Purchase, the largest quantity of land in the history of the world to change hands from one country to another without bloodshed.
The men are poling and rowing the keelboat and pirogues into history. Thoughts of what lies beyond the horizon only serves to whet the appetite of the adventure hungry members of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.