The Show Ring – Wallacetown Fair
Wallacetown Fair is a real country gem. This fair held the last weekend in September is what country fairs are all about. The Four H livestock shows encourage youth, teach them skills and confidence that will assist them in their journey through life. I love the fair!
Read what John Kenneth Galbraith and J.R. Gow had to say about our fair back in 1925.
"I surely do believe that the small or local fair still has a place in the life of rural Ontario," J. R. Gow, a retired farmer, now living in Dutton, informed the Times-Journal. Mr. Gow is a veteran farmer. . . "
"What was the original object of the fair?" (asked young John Kenneth Galbraith, cub reporter.)
"The object was to encourage agriculture and all that pertained to the farmer's home life. We were anxious to encourage one another in all that had to do with our business and our welfare generally."
"I certainly believe that this fair has served the purpose for which it was set going. In the early days it meant a great deal to us to meet together on Fair day and to talk over our affairs. We learned a great deal from one another and from the judges. One judge in particular was of special value in judging live stock. He would get all the animals before him, select the prize winners and give the crowd his reasons for placing the animals first, second and third. He simply gave us the basis of his judgment and left the spectators to draw their own conclusions." . . .
Like everything else that depends on human nature, the fairs have their weaknesses and their defects, but they at least serve the purpose of giving scope to the desire for excelling that belongs to every red-blooded man woman or child. It will be a dark day for Ontario agriculture when its exponents cease to relish competition and fail to value the rewards that come from excellence. Elgin farmers have a way of not making known the high class of stock of their fields and their byres. Successful competitions in provincial fairs are a partial remedy for this failure." . . . – a quote in three parts from "Does It Pay?" by John Kenneth Galbraith and Jenny Phillips
Completion Date: late spring of 2011
Media: original acrylic painting on stretched canvas
Size: 20" x 30"
Jenny Phillips is best known throughout Ontario as an artist who delights in recording the vanishing rural landscape of southwestern Ontario and capturing the essence and history of rural life. She has no formal art education but learns from trial and error and observing the world around her. Jenny's influences as an artist would be Ross Butler, Peter Etril Snyder and Clark McDougal.
For many years Jenny could be seen painting and exhibiting at plowing matches, steam shows and historical events to bring her art to the country folk.
Later her lighthearted cartoons of life on the farm were a feature of 'Farming Today,' until the demise of the paper.
Her column "Her' story n. – history" © was a popular, regular feature in the local Dutton-Dunwich Horizon until that paper also folded.
Jenny was the feature artist for the 2010 International Plowing Match held in Elgin County. Her painting "Honouring Elgin County's Past Provincial Ploughing Matches" graced the 2010 IPM promotional posters.
Her clients list among them the rich and famous and the regular hard working country folk.
Jenny recently published her first book, "Does It Pay?" The book is a compilation of 214 interviews written by a young John Kenneth Galbraith and features Jenny's pen & ink sketches as well as antique advertisements.
Today Jenny still paints everyday and tries to bring a balance to her life. She no longer travels around with her paintings but rather allows the public to view her works in the comfort of her gallery/frame shop or on her website gallery.
Her personal mission is to capture scenes and essence of our ever changing rural Ontario; to preserve the images she so loves, for future generations to learn from and to enjoy.