The Canoe depicts a man traveling down a lake surrounded by a view of rolling hills, trees, and lush vegetation at sunset. The painting glows with moody shades of brown, red, green, and yellow which heighten the drama and tension of the scene. There is both a feeling of gentle solitude and a sense of overwhelming awe of the vast and majestic wilderness.
While most artists traveled to Europe to gain a wider and deeper appreciation of art in the nineteenth century, Blakelock traveled to the west in search of beauty, finding refuge in nature and among Native American encampments. Ralph Albert Blakelock’s unique, visionary landscapes captured the spiritual and psychological sides of nature. While he would have bursts of success—though never consistent—during his lifetime, Blakelock’s art would live on to be a source of inspiration for ambitious explorers traveling through the American frontier.