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Photo by Jean Ludeman.
Welches artist offers new look at Lewis and Clark posted on 04/29/2023

Welches resident Steve Ludeman has had an interest in the Lewis and Clark expedition his entire adult life and visits historical locations when he can. A few years ago, he read Steven Ambrose’s “Undaunted Courage,” which had a section about the expedition’s journey from Harpers Ferry, W. Va., to Pittsburgh, Pa., down the Ohio River and then up the Mississippi River to the mouth of the Missouri River, called the “Eastern Legacy.”


“I did not know of the eastern section of the expedition,” Ludeman said. “This is a story in itself.”

Around the same time, a new law was passed extending the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail to include the “Eastern Legacy.”

And as Ludeman was looking for a direction to head in his painting, this added section fit the bill.

Now more than two years into a project he expects to take up to four years, Ludeman’s eight finished pieces will be on display from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 13, at the Red Trillium Gallery, 373 E Historic Columbia River Hwy., in Troutdale, as part of the gallery’s Second Saturday Art Event.

Ludeman has read Lewis and Clark’s journals a couple times, while he and his wife also traveled back east last fall and spent two months visiting sites of the “Eastern Legacy.” He met with historians and would set up his easel at the locations to start his watercolor paintings.

“It’s a deep dive into history,” Ludeman said, noting that he’s aiming for up to 22 total pieces. “When I started out, I had no idea how much fun it would be. I’ve met so many interesting people.”

He added that he’s also working closely with the Lewis & Clark Trail Heritage Foundation, and that while some of the more complicated pieces can take months to complete, others are more straightforward and take a few weeks. Ludeman also noted that his experience has revealed to him that not all historians agree on the facts, offering a challenge for him to paint historically accurate art.

The pieces have already been exhibited in Pittsburgh, Pa., Nebraska City, Neb. And at Lewis & Clark College. After the Troutdale exhibit, the show will continue in Missoula, Mont.

Ludeman sees the “Eastern Legacy,” which occurred between July and December 1803 and covered approximately 1,400 miles, as an important aspect of the journey for Lewis and Clark.

“This is where they laid the foundation for the entire exploration,” Ludeman said. “They did their planning, they acquired their supplies and equipment, recruited crew members, they built the boats, they planned the route.”

Corbett artist Jim Kunz will also have art on display and the Saturday event will feature refreshments. For more information on Steve Ludeman’s art, visit www.steveludemanfineart.com.

The Red Trillium Gallery is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information on the gallery, visit https://www.redtrilliumgallery.com.

By Garth Guibord/MT





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