Island Landing; ...Close Under The Larboard Side

(Lewis & Clark on the Columbia River - 1805)

Original Art Canvas, 15 sq. ft. (36" x 60")by Artist Frank M. Thomas - Private Collection...Dallas, Texas

Historical Background:
    President Thomas Jefferson, in 1803, guided an ambitious piece of foreign diplomacy through our fledgling, resistant, U.S. Senate: the purchase of Louisiana territory from France. After the Louisiana Purchase Treaty was made, Jefferson initiated an exploration of the newly purchased land and the territory beyond the "great rock mountains" in the West, selecting his trusted assistant, Meriwether Lewis, as leader.

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The painting, "ISLAND LANDING;...Close Under the Larboard Side" (Lewis and Clark on the Columbia River, 19 October 1805), depicts a small segment of events found in William Clark's journal entries of the 19th as they journeyed down the Columbia River, vicinity of present day Umatilla Indian Reservation and Boardman Oregon. The people they encountered living on the many Columbia River islands were described in his journal. Would the Indians welcome or rebuff the expedition's landing? That was always the first question in the captains' minds as they rounded a bend in the river and saw smoke, or glimpsed suspicious natives watching from a hillside. This painting shows the party landing on Blalock Island (underwater today) between Irrigon and Boardman, Oregon.

    October 17th and October 19th, 1805, William Clark journal entries:    

October 17, 1805

William Clark

"The number of dead Salmon on the Shores & floating in the river is incredible to say - and at this Season they have only to collect the fish Split them open and dry them on their Scaffolds on which they have great numbers."    "The waters of this river is Clear, and a Salmon may be Seen at the death of 15 or 20 feet...I saw but few horses they appeared make but little use of those animals principally using Canoes for their uses of procuring food."    Captain Clark

October 19, 1805

William Clark

"This time Captain Lewis came down with the canoes in which the Indians were. As soon as they saw the squaw wife of the interpreter, they pointed to her and informed those who continued yet in the same position I first found them. They immediately all came out and appeared to assume new life. The sight of this Indian woman, wife to one of our interpreters, confirmed those people of our friendly intentions, as no woman ever accompanies a war party of Indians in this quarter...Passed a small rapid and 15 lodges below the five, and encamped below an island close under the larboard side, nearly opposite to 24 lodges on an island near the middle of the river, and the main starboard shore. Soon after we landed, which was at a few willow trees, about 100 Indians came from the different lodges, and a number of them brought wood, which they gave us. We smoked with all of them, and two of our party - Peter Cruzat and Gibson - played on the violin which pleased and astonished those reches who are badly clad, 3/4 with robes not half large enough to cover them, they are homely high cheeks, and but few ornaments. I supped on the crane which I killed today."    Captain Clark

At the start of their epic journey, in May, 1804, Captains Meriwether Lewis and William Clark set out from St Louis, Missouri, with their Corps of Discovery on an amazing expedition across the Louisiana Territory. It has been nearly 200 years since then, and the bicentennial of their historic journey has now arrived. These U.S. Army Officers, true American heroes, faced unknown people, harsh conditions and unexplored lands to secure a place in history as two of the world's greatest explorers.

When they launched their wooden boats, dipped their oars into the Missouri River and started rowing west through the wilderness of Indian country almost 200 years ago, the captains were looking for something they would never find ‹ because it just wasn't there. The fabled "Northwest Passage" existed only in the explorers' minds, but its image was enough to impel them forward into the unknown, the first to discover it...the first to chart and map it.

By the time President Jefferson sent the captains up that muddy, spring swollen Missouri our young American nation, already endowed with a new Constitution and a working government, was seeking an expansion of its power. Lewis and Clark saw themselves as U.S. Army officers, leaders of a military expedition. Their instructions from their Commander in Chief were clear, and the spirit behind them was practical: claim the West and its wealth for the U.S. Their adventuresome and daring journey, born of equal parts hope and ignorance, ended in an accomplishment that was unimaginable at the outset. Their crudely rendered maps, their journals, their stories epitomize vastly more than just a grand trip across the West, the "first American space race" had begun...forever firing the imaginations of future generations.

        Artist's observation: Take note of U.S. Army Captain William Clark's grammer, spelling and sentence structure...very descriptive, very interesting reading.    Artist Frank Thomas had been a U.S. Army Captain, but in 1968-1976.

Canvas Art Print Offerings:

18" x 30"" (signed by artist/rolled - ready to stretch).......................$194.40                                             

18" x 30" (signed by artist/stretched - ready to frame)...................$234.00 

30" x 50" (signed by artist/rolled - ready to stretch).......................$540.00                                              

36" x 60" (signed by artist/rolled - ready to stretch).......................$840.00                                              

NOTE: The rolled canvas print may be stretched in most frame shops before framing.      Also the art image (above) may be quite beautifully printed on heavy art paper (same price as canvas art...slightly different technique) and then shipped flat.