My Journey with Lewis and Clark: Watercolors by Helen Brown

West of the Great Divide. Watercolor by Helen Brown

September 15 – January 14, 2018

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The Lewis and Clark Expedition began in St. Louis in 1804. Following the Missouri River upstream into Montana, the Expedition moved up and over the Continental Divide, continuing along the Columbia River to the West Coast in the hopes of discovering a continuous water route to the Pacific Ocean. While that was not to be, the Expedition changed the course of history and helped facilitate trade and the re-settlement of the West.

Inspired by the discoveries Meriwether Lewis and William Clark made during their travels, Helen Brown, a watercolor artist from Sunriver, Oregon, began working on a series of paintings depicting the iconic Expedition. A former resident of Montana, Helen spent her childhood hiking and camping in the Rocky Mountains and developed a love of that country before migrating to Oregon in much the same way Lewis & Clark resettled out West.

My Journey with Lewis and Clark features a series of watercolor works that include scenes that the Corps of Discovery may have seen along the way, botanicals that they first reported for science, and animals that had yet to be documented. Some of the pieces are inspired by Brown's own experience hiking in the areas of their exploration. For others, she focuses more specifically on accurately depicting the birds, animals, or geography that is pertinent to this period of discovery. In several cases, she used actual statues as subjects, including that of Lewis & Clark in Seaside and of Sacajawea in Portland's Washington Park.

Helen Brown paints on rice paper with a technique similar to batik. She is a member of the Tumalo Art Company, an art gallery in Bend, Oregon as well as the Watercolor Society of Oregon and the High Desert Art League.