Where a painting begins

During the summer of 2011, we had the good fortune of traveling to a Minnesota trading post, Grand Portage.  A major re-enactment event was taking place.  We were invited to share in the excitement and observe the events that would have transpired during an actual rendezvous in the mid 1800’s.

Voyageurs launch canoe
Joe confers with voyageur Voyageurs land canoes

Landing the canoes

A  re-enactor shares with Joe the art of brain tanning hide.

Voyageur re-enactors launch their canoe

Joe in canoe

Joe pursues the voyaguer canoes in a canoe that is not quite big enough for the job.  They eventually get swamped and have to return to shore.  He had the ride of his life and did get some great photos.

Conferring with a historian and re-enactor.

GP encampment Feast

The re-enactors live in this encampment adhering to the traditions of the voyageurs of the 1800s.  The accuracy of the costuming along with the living and working accouterments of these history enthusiasts, gives Joe a visual treasure trove for the creation of paintings depicting this era.  The food - prepared according to actual historic recipes - was phenomenal.  The fish in the foreground was caught in Lake Superior that day and prepared on our behalf to thank the re-enactors for accomodating our cameras.
Below are pictures showing how the fish was prepared.  We’ve never tasted anything so delicious.

smoked fish

The smoking ”grill” was made from green branches cut from willows on the encampment site and laced together with tree bark.

Oven baked fish

This handmade adobe oven was typical for this time period.  Coals were built up during the day then emptied out when it was time to cook.  Amazing!

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