The road to the completion of this illustration has been full of twists and turns and it truly does not look anything like the very first thumbnail sketch that I first did four years ago. The enormity of this project did not hit me until I was well into it – what a task Pat Wheeler takes on every year!
I wanted to create an illustration that would appeal to all ages, but keeping in mind that people will want to display the plate in their homes. I also wanted to stay true to the spirit of the fair. After many starts and stops this is the final product of hours of research, hilarious photo sessions with Phil and Scott that produced the focal points of the illustration and some very humbling moments when things did not go as planned!
To start, the Faircrow made the decision to be the focal point of the drawing as it the symbol of the fair that all ages recognize, from 2 to 82 everyone knows the Faircrow!
The bushel of apples represents the bet that Phil and my mom had more than 22 years ago – could Phil bake an apple pie worthy of the fair and win? None of us remember if Phil won, but we do know that he made one heck of a pie that year!
The two quilts were included for Phil’s mom. Phil has spent his entire life watching (and sometimes adding a stitch or two) his mom and aunts quilt, I could not do this drawing without one or two.
The animals were included as they have their own story to tell in our life. The calf is for Jamie, he was really involved with Old Macs at a very young age and always seemed to be with them. The pig is for both Kristy and Scott – for different reasons. Kristy has collected pigs for what seems like her entire life, and to this day we always seem to be adding to her collection. When Scott was growing up, his favourite movie was “Babe”. We watched that movie so many times we lost count. To this day Phil and I can recite most of the movie without it even being on!
The sunflowers represent each one of us. From left to right: Phil, Jamie, Robin, Alyssa, Kristy, Evan, Scott and me. Why did I choose sunflowers? Well, Scott and Phil spent many years growing sunflowers for the fair. The pumpkin is actually a white pumpkin; Scott grew them in his grandparent’s garden to enter in the fair as well.
Sadly there are two items that I really wanted to include in the picture, but simply could not work into the illustration. The first one being a loaf of bread for Phil’s aunt Ev, who spent endless hours coaching Phil on his bread baking skills. This helped him in acquiring countless first place ribbons for bread over the years. Ev passed away more than ten years ago and we miss her laughter and camaraderie every year at fair time. The other item is a pipe for Phil’s Dad who sadly passed away in January 2010 before he was able to see Phil’s accomplishments with the fair. I know both will be with us in spirit this year.