The first company I came across with this trend (back in '11) was Contact Voyaging Company - a Toronto-based design company that launched a series of factory carved 56" basswood beavertail paddles with patterns based on the Naval Semaphore system of Code of Signals.
Sanborn Canoe Co. out of Winona, Minnesota also features a line of Artisan Paddles with painted decorations over the laminated cedar blades they are well known for.
Just recently found out about Norquay Canoe Company - another Canadian startup which is trying to put an artistic touch to utilitarian paddles. These ones are cherry paddles manufactured by Teal Canoe in New Liskeard, Ontario. Here are some of their paddle art patterns...
What also caught my eye was the simple yet effective leather harness strap used for hanging.
Clearly these painted paddles are being marketed as wall art but at least there are some creative folks out there trying to make beautiful works from the humble canoe paddle. For more pretty paddle imagery, check out Norquay's Instagram Feed