Lewis and Clark Portraits

Saturday, January 15, 2011

It’s always great to visit places you have never seen before. Thirst for discoveries seems to be present in every man’s heart. There is not a great deal of undiscovered spots on earth today. Not a lot of people are lucky to experience adventurous exploration voyages at present. I can imagine how people would be excited to discover lands that are totally unknown to any civilized nation. There is hardly a tiny little island which has not been discovered and described by earlier explorers. But some 200 years ago there were two lucky men who led the first expedition to undiscovered lands of the whole continent stretching before their eyes. These men were Meriwether Lewis and William Clark.

I had never heard about Lewis and Clark before I was commissioned to draw portraits of these explorers. I was amazed to discover fact about Lewis and Clark expedition. They were so lucky to be able to undertake this long voyage up the Missouri River and to be the first to get acquainted with Native American tribes and to discover new animal species and plants.

For those who know nothing about Lewis and Clark (mostly for non-Americans) here is a very short outline and a few facts about the expedition led by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. In 1803 president Thomas Jefferson managed to purchase Louisiana from France. This was a territory of 828,000 square miles (2,144,510 square km) of undiscovered land. On Jefferson’s request Congress approved $2,500 budget for the organization of an exploratory expedition to the west along the Missouri River. Thomas Jefferson chose Captain Meriwether Lewis to lead the expedition, and Lewis, in his turn, asked another Army officer, William Clark to be his helper and partner during the trip. The mission of the expedition was to discover new territories of purchased Louisiana, to establish diplomatic relations with Native American tribes living in the area and to find the possibility to reach the Pacific Ocean by water. Lewis and Clark's expedition began on May 21, 1804 and it took two years for explorers to get to the Ocean and to return to the place where the voyage had started (St. Louis, Missouri) on September 23, 1806. During the risky expedition the team of 33 men lost only one member who died of appendicitis. Lewis and Clark discovered a great deal of natural resources, documented more than 100 animals and 170 plants. Furthermore they managed to create a lot of extremely useful maps which later were indispensable while settling the Old West and further expanding the territory of the USA. The expedition established peaceful relations with most of American Indians living along the Missouri River and gathered knowledge about them.

Lewis and Clark were brave and extremely smart men and diplomats. It’s no wonder that Buffalo and Company wanted me to create their portraits for the famous men t-shirts series in order to immortalize the memory of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark for people who honor real men’s courage, style of life and other classic masculine values.

Here are my portraits of Lewis and Clark. You are also welcome to watch the drawing progress video below. In the video I used classic Native American music along with classic European compositions which, very probably, Meriwether Lewis, William Clark and President Jefferson himself loved to listen to.

Portraits of Lewis and Clark

Meriwether Lewis portrait
Meriwether Lewis

William Clark
William Clark

Lewis and Clark
Lewis and Clark

Related posts:
Portrait of Thomas Jefferson
John Muir portrait
Portrait of Ernest Shackleton


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