St. Lawrence University

North Country Folk Series

John Miller III

John Miller III

North Country river artist John Miller III carries on the tradition of late 19th-century souvenir paddle makers of the Thousand Islands region. These folk artists, the best known of whom was Alpheus E. Keech of Clayton, painted river scenes on paddles to serve as souvenirs of the Thousand Islands, the Adirondacks, the St. Lawrence River, and other North Country waterways. Miller crafts paddles out of the hard words used in boat building. In the tradition of the original souvenir paddles, he hand-paints them with oils and varnishes them. He paints from his own experiences of the waters and woods of the North Country and also creates custom scenes on commission. He has worked with organizations such as TAUNY and the Antique Boat Museum in Clayton to display and teach the techniques he uses to carry on the souvenir paddle painting tradition. His work can be seen at the TAUNY Center and has been featured at the White House.