July 27, 2002

       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.


The Departure from St. Charles, 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.

Gary R. Lucy


For more information about the Limited Edition Print made from this original

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Other works I have completed dealing with the Lewis and Clark

theme can be seen by clicking on the paintings below

The Departure from the Wood River Encampment, May 14, 1804

Foggy Morning, 1804