WE HOPE our cover for this issue appeals to you as much as it did to us when we received Artist Franklin Arbuckle’s original canvas. Christmas was still well over the horizon then, but his painting brought it for the moment very near. While the village of the picture has no actual counterpart, we think you’ll agree with us that Mr. Arbuckle has captured with remarkable success the Christmas Eve atmosphere of a typical small Canadian community.
“In my studio,” Mr. Arbuckle tells us, “I found that the idea of a small town seen from above could be made more dramatic if the town street were seen through a church steeple or bell tower.”
So he knocked off a thumbnail sketch (see top cut), and after Maclean’s art department had approved it he Arbuckled down to work. The first step was to find out about towers and steeples and belfries.
“I climbed in and around quite a few steeples in the next couple of days,” he says. “It was a tiresome business, as I always had to get permission from various people. The sexton of one church, who was holding a ladder for me, left me in the air for a short while, and I quickly thought of one of Boccaccio’s heroines, and the Hunchback of Notre Dame, and other people who have been observed hanging around towers. But he didn’t forget me. and I descended in uneventful safety.
“If you are looking for a belfry for a particular purpose, my experience proves that they are all much too large, much too small, or, if just right, they are perched out on the end of an inaccessible gable. I had hoped to get a photograph inside one, and did take several, but found that they were much worse than useless as material.
“Painting the village part of the cover was fairly simple. It was just a matter of painting one house and then putting another beside it, and so on till I had enough for a village—always trying to condense what I remembered of the many little towns which I know.”
As to the artist himself, Mr. Arbuckle is a Montrealer by adoption only. He was born in Toronto 36 years ago, has a talented wife, who paints still lifes, and an 8-year-old daughter who does her brushwork on any exposed surface.
Mr. Arbuckle is an artist of the short-haired variety, and a pretty rugged fellow, as witness the photograph of him (lower cut) taken as he worked on a groundlevel job near Quebec’s Laurentide Park recently.
0Bjarne Schieldrop, whose article, “It’s a Whale!” appears on page 19, first began his hobnobbing with leviathan as a very young man in Norway.
During these last few years he has renewed his acquaintance with the whale by taking over the direction of a London firm of consulting engineers who specialize in designing and building whaling machinery and stations. His work brought him to Canada, and he was consulting with another veteran whaler, in Montreal, when Maclean’s harpooned him for a piece.
Both British and Norwegian Governments have employed Mr. Schieldrop as a whaling expert. Much of his working life has been spent as head of huge “floating factories” from which the smaller whalers operate in this modern day of harpoon guns, and ships that yawn open to engulf old Moby Dick entire.
#To all our readers, contributors and advertisers ... to our friends abroad as well as at home, in uniform or out... to our colleagues in other departments who work with us to make Maclean’s ... may this first postwar Christmas be happy beyond your fondest expectations!
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