Leighton Art Centre 2012 Clothesline Festival and Art Sale

The last time Mrs. GeoK tried to visit the Leighton Art Centre was about 5 years ago, in the middle of winter, as a volunteer parent chaperone / driver for a class trip. With snow falling, our small caravan of cars departed the school and headed south. The sharp corners, rolling hills and accumulated snowfall on the country roads combined to make for a very difficult drive. In the interest of everyone’s safety, we decided to turn back.

Fortunately, we had bare and dry roads this time around and had no trouble reaching the Leighton Art Centre, in the rolling foothills south of Calgary and west of the Canadian Rockies, and which boasts some 400 artist members. Arriving about 9:50 Saturday morning, we found a couple of dozen cars in the parking lot for the 10 am opening for the annual Clothesline Festival and Art Sale. Featuring a children’s art activity tent and live music, the main attraction for us was the opportunity to browse the art sale which included about two thousand works by sixty artists.

Leighton Art Centre Clothesline Sale

A steady stream of cars on the back-country roads through the rolling hills south of Calgary transported early morning art enthusiasts to the Leighton Art Centre for the annual clothesline event and art sale. It was a privilege and pleasure to browse through the 2000 pieces from 60 local artists and to select a favoured few to add to our small collection of original art.

The sale featured oil paintings, acrylics, watercolours, photography, sculpture and more, all relatively small in scale. At one point we were browsing the tents with 7 or 8 paintings in hand. After going through twice – to be sure we didn’t miss anything – we narrowed our selections down and purchased three new pieces for our small collection of original art by (mostly) Alberta artists. We came away with one oil, one acrylic and one watercolour.

Before leaving, we walked through the old Leighton house to view the current exhibit, making note of a couple of artists we really liked. The parking lot was quite full when we left. People were starting to line up at the two Calgary-area food trucks to order crepes or BBQ. A local accordian player provided some lively background music. And several pieces of children’s art were hanging to dry. We saw a continuous stream of cars heading south as we drove north back to the city and hope the latecomers were all able to find a piece or two to their liking.

Our first stop on the way home was at a small roadside pull-out near the Five Red Sheds…

Five Red Sheds

I liked the muted colour palette of the grey sky, red sheds and last year’s golden stalks. And I also like the way the barbed wire, shrub and swaying grass reflect the barriers between me and my desire to explore the old sheds more closely.

Five red sheds

The south face of the Five Red Sheds show signs of temporary repairs. A couple dozen bee hive boxes are strewn somewhat haphardly on the ground at the far end of the row. The barbed-wire fence, recently reinforced, kept us from exploring up close.

Our next stop was just a few hundred meters down the road, where we found a safe parking spot and then walked about 500 meters to search for GC3F5FH – 500 Photos Challenge. The rules for this “unknown” cache say that you can sign the physical logbook anytime, but you may not claim your find on geocaching.com until you’ve accumulated at least 500 photos in your geocaching photo gallery. The cache owner set this one up to encourage geocachers to tell more of a story in their online logs, enhanced with a photo or two. It’s much more enjoyable as a cache hider to read a paragraph or two and view a photo from someone who’s found your cache than to simply read TFTC (thanks for the cache) accompanied by a smiley face! Since we have well over 600 photos in our geocaching photo gallery, we signed the physical logbook and recorded our find online all on the same day.

Farmer's field

Remnants of last fall’s harvest provided good cover to a red fox as it bounded away from us through this farm field south of Calgary.

The bonus at this cache was spotting a fox in the adjacent farmer’s field. Although Mrs. GeoK got one photo, it was only good enough to allow for identification as a red fox – not a swift fox, as we originally thought.

The road to GC3F5FH Photos Challenge

We walked about 500 m along this rutted country road to find GC3F5FH – 500 Photos Challenge geocache. In addition to finding unique geocache container in a picturesque setting, we had the privilege of watching a red fox for a minute or two before it bounded away across the adjacent farm field.

Fence post

In addition to serving its original purpose, this old fence post triggers the imagination…does the slowly decaying top look like the Empire State Building? or some other landmark? Mr. GeoK turned on the in camera, key line art filter to take this picture.

After shooting a few more photos, we made the short walk back to our vehicle and headed for home, where the GeoKids approved of our new paintings and we made some decisions about where to hang them all once the framing is done.

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