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 canvas and convincing (statisfying/moving). Model railways certainly benefit from consistency … Continue reading 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 theory than I am ever likely to do, and I … Continue reading What’s the big idea?

Challenging composition

Some of the comments in Friday’s post lead the way to thinking about model railways as art, and it’s worth getting a book out of the library to refresh ourselves on the elements of composition. My favourite art book is Jeanne Dobie’s Making Color Sing. It changed my dabbling with watercolour dramatically. One of the things I’ve learned is if you want to make a … Continue reading Challenging composition

Of Accuracy and Realism

Lance Mindheim’s piece last week about prototype modelling strikes a chord for me. You should read it yourself, but to précis, it is an argument for flexibility in prototype modelling to augment appearance. Embedded in the essay, Lance says, Its taken me decades to realize this but the two, appearance and accuracy are, in fact, often mutually exclusive. This realization echoes a theory I’ve been … Continue reading Of Accuracy and Realism

Conformity and the NMRA

From the first time I entered an NMRA model contest, back in 1994, I have had a challenge with the Conformity section.  How did a freelanced model earn full points while my prototype model did not?  It didn’t take long at that first convention to fall in with Richard Hendrickson and the Prototype Modeller crowd. The judging guidelines (you may have to log in to view … Continue reading Conformity and the NMRA