Maple syrup time is one of my favorite times of the year. Once boiled down, roughly 40 gallons of sap yield one gallon of delicious syrup to be poured over pancakes and waffles, or anything else you might want to eat like sausage or yogurt or ice cream. Gathering sap, tending the fire to boil it down and then eating the syrup and sugar produced always makes me think of Seth Eastman’s watercolor of Native American sugar camp in the Great Lakes region and the engraving/etching of Eastman’s work made by engraver John C McRae.
Follow this link to read more about the unique life’s work of Seth Eastman.
Eastman was in a particularly good position as an artist to make a life’s study of Native American peoples not because he made lots of money selling his work to “arm chair travelers” back east (like the great painter of America’s westward expansion Albert Beirstadt). Rather, because of his position as an army officer, Eastman spent a long time living among native peoples while drawing and painting them. Other artists of his time, and before, simply took short art trips to the west. Eastman got to know native languages and cultures while developing his skills as an illustrator. In the mid 1800s Eastman was hired as illustrator for ethnologist Henry Rowe Schoolcraft’s six-volume Historical and Statistical Information respecting the History, Condition, and Prospects of the Indian Tribes of the United States, for which he made hundreds of illustrations.