Odd Thoughts: Art lesson hammered home

Close your eyes for a moment and think of an artist at work.

What do you see?

Chances are you pictured Da Vinci capturing Mona Lisa, or Rembraandt sketching the start of his Night Watch.

Perhaps your tastes run more to Picasso or Dali.

Or your mind’s eye may have focused on your youngster’s Grade 2 project stuck to the fridge door for the past seven years.

If you’re a bit out of the ordinary, you may have zeroed in on Michelangelo releasing the contents of a block of marble.

Did you envision Beethoven banging away at his harpsichord with one hand, quill pen in the other?

If you didn’t automatically identify with a favourite novel, at least you probably don’t have any difficulty recognizing that writing can be art, given the right pen – or typewriter – guided by the right hand.

I’ll bet your first thought wasn’t a guy in a ball cap and suspenders sitting on a backhoe.

It’s not what comes to your mind’s eye, I’ll warrant. But in real life…

The way some of those guys make those machines move is nothing, if not art.

There are some renovations going on next door, and I found myself mesmerized by a fellow pounding away on a thick slab of concrete with a jackhammer attached to the front of his tractor.

Just inches from the front door of the house, the giant steel chisel etched and crumbled the slab as cleanly as Michelangelo discovering a lock of David’s hair.

It brought to mind yet another artist, who dug a new water well for us last year.

Working in tight quarters, he lifted sand and gravel out of an ever-deepening hole, sometimes coming within a hair’s breadth of obstructions, working quickly to maintain the opening while nimblyplacing tons of concrete sleeves 15 feet below the wheels of his tractor.

I recall our first backhoe on the farm.

It was a rickety piece of second hand (probably third or fourth hand) equipment.

One of my brothers, still in his teens, got on the tractor, wiggled the levers about for a couple of minutes… and operated that machine like it was a natural extension of his own arms.

That’s art, too.

The result might not be suitable for hanging in the Louvre, but watching it happen is more fun than a grizzled nerd tap-tapping on his keyboard.

 

Just Posted

COMMUTER ALERT: Serious pedestrian crash closes Pacific Highway

Traffic along 176th Street, 4th to 8th Avenue, is blocked while Mounties continue to investigate.

Giants owner Ron Toigo to get BC Sports Hall of Fame W.A.C. Bennett Award

Head of Langley-based hockey team to be honoured at May induction gala

UPDATED: Touching note left on Langley veteran’s windshield

A veteran hopes the writers of a note know how much he was touched by their kind words. They do.

VIDEO: Young Langley boy uses his grief to help other kids suffering loss

Thursday Langley Hospice hosts its Paint the Town Blue campaign to spotlight child bereavement.

LETTER: Canada should not be selling weapons abroad

A Langley man is critical of Canada for selling arms that are being used to kill civilians.

People flocking to Vancouver Island city to see hundreds of sea lions

Each year the combination of Steller and California sea lions take over Cowichan Bay

Protesters confront Environment Minister in B.C.

Protesters wanting more for killer whales confront Catherine McKenna

Humans reshaping evolutionary history of species around the globe: paper

University of British Columbia researcher had the paper published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society

Toronto ‘carding’ activist Desmond Cole stopped by police in Vancouver

Cole says his experience reveals what daily life is like for black and Indigenous residents

Tubing, skating, light display part of new winter festival in Vancouver

Set to open Nov. 23, the six-week festival will take over Vancouver’s Concord Pacific Centre

Commercial trucks banned from left lane of Coquihalla

B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation has introduced a new program that hopes to prevent accidents and closures on the Coquihalla Highway.

B.C. on track to record same number of overdose deaths as last year

128 people died of overdoses in September, bringing the total to more than 1,100 so far in 2018

B.C. firefighters rescue horse stuck in mud

‘It happens more often than you’d think,’ says deputy chief

Regulatory confusion over ‘toxic’ stink near Abbotsford school

Officials sniffing out which regulators responsible for enforcing compliance at neighbouring property

Most Read