In the accompanying note to the Walters sketch, Miller writes of his intent to convey an idea of the appearance of the birch-bark canoe on the river. (Ross, 164) He achieves a sense of movement through the diagonal blowing clouds and the white caps of the turbulent river. By erasing almost any notation of land and using the sky as the sole backdrop in the image, Miller creates a convincing maritime painting. The painting’s sense of atmosphere and emotion is derived from the water, which is suffused with a rich mix of dark greens, browns, and blues, portending a rougher voyage for the crew.
Emily C. Wilson