Trains and artists - the perfect mix

What can an artist gain from an interest in trains?

Well, you can sketch them - at any level from my first attempt here to the amazing detailed paintings that show every rivet in the correct place.
I recently bought a second-hand copy of a book of sketches by Kenneth G. Bowen, called 'Sketches from Beside the Line'. It contains beautiful, detailed pencil and charcoal drawings, and a few watercolours, of trains, railway stations, machinery, sheds and the other bits and pieces you find beside railway lines. Mr Bowen is a railway modeller and many of his sketches are especially useful for people who are building an Australian model train layout. They show the detail you can't see in most photos, and much of what they show no longer exists.

Sketching at Kingston railway museum

If you visit an old, neglected railway yard or museum, you will find some beautiful textures and patterns that you can use in design and abstract work.

Old carriages at Echuca railway - great textures

If you take up modelling, you will find plenty of scope for creating scenery, painting engines and carriages, buildings and tiny people, and painting backdrops. You can use traditional diorama techniques to bring a three-dimensional aspect to the backdrop.

Model trains - combine art, craft, and engineering

Model carriages - lots of minute details

Lastly, you will appreciate the beauty of trains, railways and all the paraphernalia that surrounds them.

Carriage in a 48 class at Goulburn railway station

Wangaratta station

Bringing out the Garrett at Kingston railway museum