Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Artist Profile: John Buxton's Paddle Art

As a bit of a new diversion on the site, I thought I'd begin a series of posts profiling living artists who produce wonderful works of historical art featuring unique paddles designs.

John Buxton is a historical artist whose stunning works illustrate a time when birchbark canoes plied the waterways of North America. Three of John's pieces from his historical vignettes gallery feature some marvelous canoes and decorated paddles.

Below is piece entitled "New Canoe". He captures the eloquent lines and tumblehome of the bark canoe with a personalized bear claw decoration on the bow. The angular paddle being used features straight lines and a thick spine running the length of the blade.


"New Canoe"

Another piece entitled "The Agile Bark Canoe" shows a set of canoes being loaded with muskets and gear. The native in the foreground is paddling a similarly shaped paddle as the "New Canoe" but with chevron etchings at the throat and shoulders, echoing the chevron-theme decoration seen in many other historical paintings, especially that of Frederick Verner.


"The Agile Bark Canoe"

My favorite is "Dry Mocassins" which shows a solitary canoeist with his gear laid out on the rocky shoreline - very reminiscent of the Canadian Shield where I paddle. The two paddles in the foreground include another with a red chevron decoration and some curved, abstract patterns on one side of the blade. The 2nd non-decorated paddle looks very consistent with some of the Iroquois paddles on display at the Royal Ontario Museum - wide rounded tip, lengthy spine and short, flattened grip style.


"Dry Moccasins"

Many thanks to John for the permission to reproduce these stunning prints on the site. Be sure to visit his page BuxtonArt.com for more of these historical masterpieces.



8 comments:

Matthew said...

Thanks for posting this. I have been following your blog for a while and really appreciate all the great information. I'm slowly making my way back through the archives while I work on my first paddle.
Thanks Again!
--Matt Rogers
Western Michigan

Matthew said...

Thanks for putting this up. The artwork is great.
I really enjoy the blog, I am making my way through it while carving my first paddle, a 40" for my daughter.
Thanks again,
Matt Rogers
Western Michigan

Tim said...

What great paintings, the detail is incredible.

Escoce said...

I just found this blog today, within 10 minutes I am mesmerized. I am very happy to have found your blog and will be reading the archives tonight. I will be attempting my own paddle making this spring.

Murat said...

The first dozen or so posts from Dec '07 to January '08 document some of the steps I was taught in making a paddle. Hopefully it'll take a lot of the guesswork out for you. Good luck on your own paddle project!

Dave said...

Great find. I was wondering something. In the second painting, is that form of pictographs accurate? I just don't remember seeing that style anywhere before. Just wondering.

But, the way he paints water, I was mesmerized. I thought it was a photo for a second. I made me want to though the canoe in the lake right away.

Murat said...

Do you mean the pictographs on the rock face (by the dogs)? Never noticed them until now. When I spoke with John, he mentioned that historical artists are often pressured to reproduce items with extreme accuracy. But they are artists first, so I'm sure there is a bit a creative license in the work.

Badger Canoe Paddles said...

These paintings are incredible. I don't think I could pick a favourite... the detail is amazing. Excellent find!

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