Americana- Canvasback Decoy
This print is from the original oil. It is available framed in a 10x10 limited signed edition of 950. It is also available framed in a 20x20 collage with the other 3 Americana decoy prints.
Today part of the lure of waterfowl hunting is the dedicated hunter’s concern about his “Rig”. This includes everything from the right gun, properly trained dog, boat, motor, ammunition, and location to hunt. Last but not least, watch how his eyes light up when he talks about the right decoys to put out. As the artist comments: “I remember countless hours spent in the basement of our home prior to duck hunting season painting and patching all our decoys. We must have had about 100 of them. My dad, brother and I would pick and choose the paints, mixed just to the right color. These were usually a very closely guarded secret kept in the special jars under dad’s workbench. Our paints were re-mixed year after year, using the same jars to match the colors perfectly. We would work on the decoys for several weeks painting first one color, and then another- assembly line style. The wet decoys sat on pieces of 2x4’s all in a row waiting to dry for the next batch of colors. The final colors were usually the head and bill. Once these were completed, we would secure all the anchor lines, checking each one to make sure they wouldn’t come loose during the rough, windy days they would be used. Finally, we would bag them and load them into the boat ready for use. All of our efforts were now ready to be tested for the new duck-hunting season. What a feeling that first morning, putting out those freshly painted decoys and waiting for that first flurry of ducks, just to prove to us that all was done properly, as it had been every year previously for as long as I could remember. The heritage and tradition continued in our home for still another generation.”
The golden age of American decoy making began in the second half of the nineteenth century. It reached its zenith during the market hunting years when thousands of decoys were produced by individual whittlers and factories across the nation. When the market hunting period ended about 1920, it seemed that the age of specialized decoy sculpture would also end and that decoys themselves would become disappearing historical curios. Fortunately they did not. Visible proof that the art of decoy making continues to flourish today abounds in the work of current craftsmen. Early decoys were produced for actual use on the bays, inlets, and waterways of the country. Pride of workmanship and desire for increased authenticity gradually lead to more realistic lines. But details of finished decoys remained relatively simple. Decoy collecting is a growing hobby and profession for many people, not only the outdoorsmen, but for the students of American art as well. The working decoy is one of the truly American art forms that are completely native to our country. It is considered by many to be the only true art form that we Americans can call our own.
“The Americana Series”, by Daniel F. Heuer is an artistic example and expression of the art of the working decoy. “Canvasbacks”, plate I; “Redhead”, plate II; “Green-Winged Teal”, plate III; and “Wood Duck” plate IV are total artistic creations of the artist. These paintings are based on the artist’s past experiences with old working decoys and countless hours of time spent in marshes and duck blinds, witnessing and experiencing an almost disappearing tradition. Drawing upon these experiences the artist comments: “I wanted to let my mind furnish me with the details through experience. The end paintings are not of one particular brand or style of decoy or from a photograph. They are true artistic expressions. The end results are original creations, with all that is necessary to represent our only true art form, that of the working decoy. Insomuch as I have personally hunted over each of the species shown in decoy form, I feel that the final artistic creation is truly representational of the working decoy. Each and every one of us can now share in a little “Americana”.” -Daniel F. Heuer