Emily Carr was born in Victoria in 1871. She was a painter first, but it was her books that made her famous before her art was widely appreciated. She had a hard time making a living and so in 1913 she had a boarding house constructed for herself, built on a corner of the family acreage. There she passed the next 20 years or so, eking out a meagre living as a landlady, and painting in her top floor studio. Eventually she became too ill to be a landlady, so she traded the house for a smaller one and rented it out for the income. She rented a small cottage for herself elsewhere in town. A number of years ago I designed the top floor renovation of the house Emily traded her boarding house for.
Railroads were once common in my life. My mother was a secretary at the Canadian Pacific Railroad HQ in Montreal. Close by our house were two double track railway lines where trains moved constantly every day – huge trains pulled by chains of locomotives. One was the CPR, the other was the CNR. Both went from coast to coast and everywhere in between. I took the CPR Canadian across Canada and back, on vacation with my parents. I once took the CNR Super Continental out to Edmonton. Then I switched to flying, like everybody else. The train got too expensive here, but not in Europe. The last train ride I took was from Geneva to Dusseldorf a few years ago. That cost 100 Euro! I never see trains on Vancouver Island now; there are none. All we have is an abandoned railway line that some people are forever trying vainly to resurrect, which will in all likelihood never happen in my lifetime. Freight still moves by train, although I never see a freight train. One of the first songs I learned to play was Freight Train. I met some hobos in Thunder Bay once, at the rail-yards, when I was attempting to hitch a ride across Ontario. They said they were going to jump a freight train, but since I had no food and no idea where that train was going, I declined to join them, so I took the train to Montreal, sitting in coach overnight and all of several days for $60.
Yamaki guitars were well made, and many had solid tops. The bracing is a copy of a Martin D28, as is the body size. The scale is a bit shorter than Martin, 640mm vs 645mm. The interior bridge plate is rosewood, indicative of high quality. Cheap guitars have spruce. One thing I don’t like is the thick lacquer on the top. I might strip it off, which should improve the tone. A poor man’s D28 for about $50 after I buy tuners and strings.
Nathanguitars is pleased to announce that we caved in and paid to block those pesky ads that were despoiling the beauty of this blog.
Sometimes my brain rearranges words in a form of temporary dyslexia. This is not unlike the unintentional spelling mistakes my fingers create on the keyboard. Like form, instead of from. I type these all the time, and typewriters have no auto-correction. But my word processing catches it later, sometimes.
I saw a sign recently that was supposed to say HUGE SAVINGS! NO TAX! but of course I saw the opposite. It reminded me of when someone says “don’t worry,” which of course always makes me even more worried.
I typed my weekly letter to #1 son this morning on a 1940 Remington Model 5 Deluxe. Complete with alternate spellings, x outs, and skipped words even, but I think it’s better than an email that is perfect. I like imperfection. Perfection is an insult to the universe. I would never insult the Universe. God forbid. Speaking of which I have just completed my latest novel, which is a charming tale of a pair of intrepid gastropods who set off to explore the world, find a duck, and also the universe, none of which they comprehend or even recognize. It was typed, like all the stuff I write, except this stuff here, on a variety of old and older typewriters. I leave you with an excerpt from the first draft.
Last May, I went out with my portable paint set to do some plein air painting. I did a small painting from a cliff down at the ocean and took a photograph of the scene. Later I sketched it on a large board, planning to do a full size painting. It sat on my easel in the basement for a year, until today. I realized recently that I was avoiding painting large works because I didn’t like spending hours in the basement, where there is no daylight. So I thought about getting a strong but portable easel so I could paint upstairs and move around easily. I looked at one at my art shop but it was about $100. I then had a look at my heavy easel in the basement and realized that I could take it apart and get rid of the heavy bits, like the base on wheels, the heavy bottom tray, the counterweights and the sliding centre rail. So I ripped it all apart and was left with a much lighter easel. I set it up in the living room and spent all day painting. I should have figured this out long ago, but it took me a long time to come to the realization I didn’t like painting in a windowless room. Part of what finally got me moving was seeing the movie Mr. Turner, about JMW Turner. In Turner’s day of course, there was no artificial light. Seeing Turner portrayed at work in his studio with light from the large windows must have made something click, because ever since then I’ve had this idea in the back of my head that I should get going again with my easel painting. Whatever the reasons, I now have no excuse and hope to continue where I left off. Here are a few more sketches and paintings; one small, one medium and one large. It pays to work at various sizes, and especially at small scale, where you really can’t fuss with too much details.