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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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, […]

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I didn’t realize it at the time, but the worst thing about the great flood of 2018 was that it completely destroyed my momentum.  At the end of January, I had finally arrived at a place where I thought I might be able to cut Proto:87 wheels for #622.  I had even cleaned the lathe […]

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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. […]

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Lance Mindheim on Time

A great post on Lance Mindheim’s site caught my attention at lunch today.  Here is the critical idea, but you should read the whole post:  The hallmark of a good design?  It’s pretty basic when you step back and think about it.  A “successful design” is one that results in a model railroad that produces […]

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