The Sign Invitational is still seven and a half months away. It seems like a long time until you take into account that my entry will be up against some very stiff competition. I’ve seen some of the other artist’s concept art. Because I am a defending champion (three times over) I absolutely know there will be some who are determined to take away my title. And that is as it should be. But it doesn’t mean they will get it without a great deal of effort. I too am pulling out all of the stops this year (as always). I’ve even recruited some serious help. The sound effects for my little truck are being created by one of the world’s leading experts at miniature sound, Jim Wells, from Fantasonics. Jim recently sent me ‘rough, preliminary’ samples of the sound tracks he is creating. They are best described as EXACTLY what an antique cartoon truck would sound like. Even though I loved the sound tracks as they were, Jim assured me that what I was hearing was only the first rough sound, much like my first pen sketch. He still had to refine, tweak and tune them to make it right. Today, he sent along a picture of the quick mockup he had built to make sure it sounds right when I install the sound rig into the truck. As he describes it, the top two speaker boxes are live, the one on the left is pointing out of the radiator, while the one one the right is pointing downwards as it will be when mounted in the truck cab. The bottom two boxes stand in for the wheels of my truck. The frame of the truck are the two strips of wood. I’m sure looking forward to hearing the results of his efforts! I appreciate having a friend who is as passionate about what he does and is just as crazy as me to take this fun little project on!
The Pumpkin Creek Railroad sign is one of my favourite pieces in the Vala collection. Our crew did an awesome job sculpting the tree while Alyssa did the bulk of the painting under Becke’s watchful eye. The sign was definitely a challenging piece with far more detail and time invested than one might think at first glance. I can hardly wait to see it set in its final home in front of the train station. In about a month the first guests of this year’s season will get to see it for themselves.
The last piece to be readied for Vala’s Pumpkin Patch and Apple Orchard is the giant main sign. Becke and Alyssa have a few little touchups to do on Monday morning and then it will join the rest of the signs and features in the semi trailer when we load it up early next week. This was a challenging and very fun project from beginning to end! I look forward to swinging open the transport trailer doors when the load gets to the other end of its journey and then helping our client hook up and place the pieces around the farm. I’ll return to the farm at the end of September to watch guests interact with the signs we’ve created. You can bet we’ll be busy dreaming up new projects for the farm then too! We have no shortage of ideas.