Honouring the research

In a thought-provoking essay about his prototypical waybills, Tony Thompson asks, “is it merely visual?” He likens the typical approach to model railroad paperwork to operating our railroads with freight cars made of blocks of wood decorated with post-it note reporting marks. If we are happy with representational paperwork, we should also be happy with […]

Read More Honouring the research

Inspiration from Tommy Douglas

Last Thursday seems a lifetime ago in this world gone mad. That was the day that we said goodbye to my friend Sharlene Hertz. Sharlene was the spark that kept the Delbrook Community Association – one of my distractions – going. She was a lifelong New Democrat and political advocate. At her service, her family […]

Read More Inspiration from Tommy Douglas

The Century of Canada…

As I wrote before, Pembroke could tell two very different stories. On the one hand, it could represent the sleepy end of a branch line, a second entrant into a market barely big enough for one. On the other, it could demonstrate the unbridled optimism of the age of progress and of small towns like […]

Read More The Century of Canada…

Pembroke Compositions

Mike Cougill’s excellent post about story influencing layout design brought back some thoughts I jotted down about composition, and that take on new significance as I think about the layout’s role in the room.  Mike’s layout tells a completely different story from Pembroke, but perhaps we can both take some lessons from the art world […]

Read More Pembroke Compositions

Art Nouveau

“What’s with the sudden interest in Art Nouveau?” my wife asked when she saw me balancing on my knee the huge tome I’d liberated from the oversize stacks at the Capilano Library. Art Nouveau was a dominant style in the arts from 1890-1910 and so it is part of the context for my 1905 rendition […]

Read More Art Nouveau

Pilgrimage to Pendon

It’s easily more than a decade since I was last in England, and so, on this summer’s holiday, I left the eye-rolling family at home for a trip out to see the Pendon museum. We were staying in Henley on Thames, and the museum was a morning’s excursion when the rest of the family wanted […]

Read More Pilgrimage to Pendon

Ted Rose’s lessons

The arrival of Lance Mindheim’s book on my doorstep this week almost makes me want to stop talking about applying lessons from art to railway modelling. But, well, it’s kind of fun, and Dave Eggleston reminded me that we were going to look at a couple of Ted Rose’s wonderful watercolours to see what we […]

Read More Ted Rose’s lessons

Lessons from art school

Earlier this week, Dave Eggleston posted some of his notes from his classes with Charles Emerson.  It’s a super list of attributes that make a painting good, and I wondered if we can apply any of these same lessons to elevate our model railways and railway models. A good painting is logical and consistent across […]

Read More Lessons from art school

What’s the big idea?

Mike Cougill posted one of his thought provoking missives this week.  Then this morning, Lance Mindheim announced his new book.  Both encourage us to think of model railroading as art.   Now, I’m absolutely looking forward to the day when Canada Post drops Lance’s book on my doorstep.  He has done far more research and education about art […]

Read More What’s the big idea?

Backdrop epiphany

In response to my hack-job about composition, Neil Erickson sent over an in-progress photo of his layout that he likes.  It is a simple, entirely railroady scene, quite similar to the painting of a train I showed in that post.  I quite like the oil painting varnish on the photo; I’m not sure if that’s […]

Read More Backdrop epiphany