midway through

I haven't been on any rides in far too long, but I do remember how excited I would get as a kid and a teenager, if rides were involved. In Red Deer, the fair was called 'Westerner Days' because it was held at the Westerner Grounds (so clever!). When you purchased a pass to go, it was like a ski pass; wire to go through your jacket zipper and a big sticker joined to front and back, so you wouldn't lose it. Then there was the plastic wrist band you got when you went to the gate. My stomach used to go into exciting knots, my heart pounding as the the attendant fastened it around my wrist. It was all I could do to not run full tilt through those gates and into whatever line up was closest. My favorite ride was the tall swing that spun you around in a circle. At some fairs it was called 'The Swing of The Century'. I would stand in line, get on the ride and sail through the air in giant circles, wind in my hair, feet kicking into the blue sky, arms usually out airplane style from my little body; I was flying! The ride would end, sometimes you would have to find your shoes again (if you kicked them off before the ride started) and then I would get right back into the line again, eagerly awaiting my next 'flight'. I also really loved the boat that either went completely upside down, or just in a wide ark. That point before you start the descent again, and your stomach is fully suspended in your body, your bum is not quite on the seat and you are weightless, if only for a split second before the drop. PHWUUM! Down you go and up the other side and then all you can see is the limitless sky (and perhaps the frightened faces of the other passengers facing you that got talked into getting on this silly thing) and then PHWUUM! The wind catches your hair and cradles your head and suddenly you are facing the ground. Back and forth, in smaller arcs, until it stops and the safety bar unlocks and suddenly you have feet again.

Such fun. It's been too long.

In honor of such fun memories, I've been working on some midway themed pieces that will be heading out to the Red Art Gallery in Victoria next week:

 get yer tickets!, mixed media on canvas, 14x14 (in)

get yer tickets!, mixed media on canvas, 14x14 (in)

This is a lovely ticket booth from the vintage midway at Fort Edmonton Park. I loved the colors, and as luck would have it, a few staff members dressed in period costume had just walked up to it when I was getting ready to snap a photo.

 blitzer!, mixed media on canvas, 30x30 (in)

blitzer!, mixed media on canvas, 30x30 (in)

The midway has the boldest, best and most dreadful color combinations. But it's vibrant and eye-catching and certainly memorable. I would love to know when some of these rides were first built. Some of the old signs like this one are just the best! This year I should try and go to the fair at night to get some shots of these beauties all lit up. That would make for a colorful and interesting little series. Working on these pieces also got me thinking about fair food, and gave me ideas for my animal series now that I've completed the 'holy idioms'. The next part will be 'I'm only here for the food'. Cotton candy. Ice cream. Corn dogs. And badly dressed animals awkwardly snacking.

I'm determined to keep my complaining about the heat to a minimum. Summer is not my favorite season, but I do appreciate the things that can only really happen during the summer months, like enjoying the quiet of the back step, listening to birds and the chatter of neighbors gathered in their own yards around dinner or fire pits, delicious smells wafting over the trees, and snippets of loud music from the vehicles that tear down 109th street not to far from our house. There are the midways, and outdoor concerts under the dwindling daylight, food trucks and late night dog walks. Patio beers. Front porch beers. Bike rides to the farm for dinner with my family, or to the liquor store to get wine. Evening thunderstorms. Road trips with all the windows rolled down and the sunroof of the car open. Garden fresh veggies. Pilfering raspberries from the alleyway on our walks. There is a lot I do enjoy about the summer. Besides, we're now past the longest day. Fall is on the way. We're midway through the year already.