Railplane’s a big draw at arts festival

'The George Bennie Railplane?, LNER poster, 1930s.
'The George Bennie Railplane?, LNER poster, 1930s.

WITH just over two weeks before the start of Milngavie’s Book and Arts festival things are shaping up nicely.

This year’s event kicks off on Tuesday, September 6 with an exciting art line up for all to enjoy where members of the public will have the chance to pick up a paintbrush and help re-create the Bennie Railplane poster for a community art project.

Many locals will remember or have heard of the railplane invented by George Bennie who ran a prototype over a 130-yard line in Milngavie in the 1930s. Unfortunately this futuristic mode of transport flopped but it put Milngavie on the map and its memory is being rekindled at this year’s festival.

The poster will be blown up and divided into squares. Then, on Saturday September 10 people are being invited along to the Station Road marquee to recreate one of these squares onto a small canvas.

Finished canvases will be remounted and the completed artwork will be gifted by the festival committee to the Milngavie History and Heritage Group for its planned heritage centre. All contributors will be credited.

No special artistic skills are required because there will be a team of skilled volunteers on hand. Squares cost £4 and a limited number are available for pre-booking at Art Forum, Station Road Milngavie - call 956 6765.

To coincide with the festival opening, Art Forum will also launch its Scottish Fine Art Exhibition on September 6. With prices ranging from £10 to £1000, there’s affordable art for all in the exhibition which runs until October 1. The many artists featured include Gordon Wilson, James Orr, John Damari, Bill Lees and Sandie Gardner.

Artist demonstrations have always been a popular element of the festival and the committee is delighted that this year the Lillie Art Gallery has agreed to host three artists on Saturday September 10 from 10am till 1pm and 2pm till 5pm.

This will be a perfect backdrop to watch three artists at work: Maggie Downer, a self-trained artist and children’s book illustrator, produces work full or wonderful colours, textures and light. Maggie will be joined by Stanley Bird who creates landscapes, trees and farm animals in acrylics and mixed media on board and canvas. The third artist demonstrating, John Damari, is influenced by the ruggedness of the Scottish west coast and islands.

Visit www.milngaviefestival.org.uk for more news on what Milngavie Book & Arts Festival has in store for you from September 6-10.