March 2017


Sailing season is still at least two months away, but while we can’t sail, we can paint about it. This one was inspired by a shot taken at the 18 minute mark of the video of last year’s  camping/sailing expedition, the Elbow Run 2016. My brother was charging up behind me like he owned the lake, and it wasn’t long before he surged past me.

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20 X 16 Acrylic on stretched canvas

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12″ x 16″ Acrylic on stretched canvas

 

Enough time has passed that a generation have reached adulthood without seeing the six grain elevators once situated beside the CNR tracks running through Maidstone, Saskatchewan. Like the majority of elevators on the Canadian prairies, they were decommissioned and demolished years ago.

As a youngster, I often accompanied my Dad when he was hauling grain from our farm located fourteen and a half miles north of the town. Dad had built a wooden box on the back of a  two ton Ford truck and in that, we made the trip. This was a big improvement over the days before my time when my Grandfather and his neighbours used horses and wagons to do the job. Riding in the truck with Dad was always a good time. Occasionally if I was very lucky, Dad would take the time to buy us ice cream cones as a special treat.

Years later, when I had a go at farming, I hauled my own grain from my place five miles further north,  past my Dad’s farm, down through the Big Gully and back up, and on into the town. If I began early in the morning and if everything went well, I could sometimes make three round trips in one day with two hundred bushels of wheat or canola on each load. However, if there was a snag, like a loader that wouldn’t start, or a truck that got stuck, or a line-up causing delays, or a side trip to get machinery repairs, or groceries that needed to be bought, that meant two trips with perhaps enough time at the end of the day to load the truck for an early start the next morning.

With the elevators now gone, grain is hauled by semi-trailer to high through-put elevators located much further away. It has become “big business” – no time for ice cream cone treats for youngsters anymore.

When painting this, I referenced a numbered print drawn by friend and very well respected local artist, Velma Foster. The print hangs in my Mom’s home in Maidstone and brings back memories for me every time  I see it.

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With two people painting in the same house, one consequence that we did not anticipate was an accumulation of painted canvases. What to do with them? The answer when one has bare walls – hang them up! But then what happens if you decide you don’t like them hanging up anymore? or, if one is very fortunate, a painting is sold? The down side of hanging pictures is the hooks that leave holes in the wall when displays are changed.

There is a modern solution – a picture rail like that used in art galleries where paintings are always in a state of change. The system is easy to use and looks good. However, the price is a deterrent if one is operating on a starving artist’s income, or as it happens in my case, one is too cheap to put out that kind of money. Fortunately there is also the traditional solution which has been all but forgotten and that is the route that I took.

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  • At the local Co-op lumber yard, I picked up 5 eight foot lengths of picture moulding that was traditionally used for just this purpose – 5 x CDN$10
  • Online I discovered I could order from the UK picture moulding hooks – 25 for $20 postage included.
  • From my bicycle wholesale supplier (or your local bike shop if you don’t happen to repair bicycles like I do) derailleur cables – about a buck per cable, long enough to cut into 2 pieces
  • From an electrical wholesaler terminal lugs – $28 for 25 lugs

Total outlay to do three walls on a 12′ x 15′ room, with lugs and hooks and cables left over for another room – $120

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A hole was drilled through the hook, just large enough to slide the bike cable through. The cable was  then slipped through the terminal lug and the lug screwed to the back of the picture frame. To protect the wall, I also added small felt pads to the bottom corners of the frame.

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Voila – 15 canvas’s on display, with room for a few more. We are pleased with the results and will likely do the same in another room.

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