Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Rejean Roy Canoe Art

Last week I posted Réjean Roy's wonderful vimeo vid, "Le Peintre, le canot et la forêt" . It's a six minute video about his wilderness canoeing art and his traditional means of canoe tripping for inspiration.

After seeing all that wonderful canoeing equipment, I happened to get in touch with him hoping to get more info about his light blue canoe. I just found the colour such a lovely contrast in the deep green forested region of his journey. Turns out the canoe is "Al Gordon" model ( 14'6" ) built by McCurdy and Reed out in Nova Scotia. It just so happens there is a wonderful backstory to his canoe built for him in 2013 which  Réjean wrote about in an post HERE

Réjean  also sent me a few thumbnails of his canoe-specific paintings and with his permission, I've posted them below.

Réjean Roy

Réjean Roy

His vimeo channel has another older video featuring a familiar scene to many hardcore river trippers - dragging the canoe upstream... 

Turns out he replicated a scene from this vid into another pretty painting.

Réjean Roy

Also turns out  Réjean does some illustration work for books. Here is a cover for a tri-lingual pulblication  (Mi'kmaw, French, English) from 2012. Turns out my c1849 Passamquoddy replica featured on the header of my site served as a bit of artistic inspiration.

Very much looking forward to more tripping videos and artwork from  Réjean in the future.   

Friday, November 22, 2013

Algonquin Bark Canoe Pics

Some amazing vintage images from an article in Scribner's Magazine (September 1899) entitled "Where the Water Runs Both Ways"...

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Inspirational Wilderness Canoeing Artist

Just stumbled upon a fantastic video showcasing the wilderness art of French Canadian Rejean Roy, who travels by wood canvas canoe to gather inspiration for his artwork. What a treat this video is - a beautiful production with traditional gear, wanigans, canvas packs, a campfire baker tent. Enjoy!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Painted Paddle Trend

One of the trends I've noticed in the paddle making world is the move towards "artisan" style painted paddles with bold & simple patterns, not unlike the simple decorations found in historical paddle art.

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

Saturday, November 9, 2013

96" Single Blade Monster Paddle

From this Ebay Ad comes an interesting paddle. The seller claims it is a "very early old Indian made wooden paddle". It looks to have been finished with some sort of ochre-coloured paint with the exception of the end of the grip. It's a huge monster at 96" long (wow!) with a 6 - 3/4" wide blade. Normally this length is associated with rowing oars but the distinctive grip point to some sort of stand-up paddling usage.

Undated Canoe Paddle,  96" x 6 - 3/4" 

The length and shape remind me of this earlier post featuring an 1898 photo of Athian Lewey at West Grand Lake, Maine posing with 2 tall  paddles & a birchbark canoe. The paddle leaning on the inverted bark hull shows has a similar slender profile and some peeling paint on the blade.

Athian Lewey, West Grand Lake, 1898

I'm not totally familiar with this area in Maine, but have read about Grand Laker Canoes - large 20ft+, square back, cedar canvas freighter canoes used by locals & guides. When not using an outboard motor, these large canoes would often be maneuvered with likewise large paddles.

Another example of large paddles like this being used are for the Cree freight canoes in the far north. Doug Ingram of Red River Canoe documented large push paddles used up in Fort Severn that were 88" long - see  his photos of Fort Severn Freight canoes & paddles here). Don't think I'll ever have use for an 8ft long paddle but this Ebay item sure looks like pretty bit of history at any rate.

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