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Bonniebrook Road winds its way along the ocean waters of Georgia Straight close to Gibsons here on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia. The road is used as a local walking area 365 days a year. As we walk and enjoy the scenery, we can see Vancouver Island in the distance. There are old summer homes along the road that have been there for perhaps 80 years or more. New, huge homes also line the road. All have the road between the ocean and their home.

Some homeowners leave the ocean side of the road just wild, perhaps cutting a trail through the blackberries and shoreline vegetation for access to the beach. Others cut and groom their access and use the area as their own personal yard extension. That's what these people have done. They've taken the time to clear the area, allow the natural grasses to grow and add a few wild flowers. They've also put in this fence, actually two fences to create a pathway to the beach. The fence posts, called "boomsticks", are old logs used in the logging industry. Each log has holes drilled at either end. Chains would have linked the logs together during their working days on the ocean waters and they'd have been used to corral logs for hauling up and down the coast. Often these log booms break apart and the "boomsticks" drift to shore. These folks had used those abandoned logs as fence posts. They'd then put driftwood into the chain holes to use as fence rails. It is a really effective little feature, and I'd seen it often in the past. On this particular night though, my wife Joy and I were out for a sunset walk. The sun was only seconds away from disappearing in the west and the "boomsticks" lit with the last glows of the day's sun. I'd have missed the drama and beauty if I'd been a minute earlier or later. I took the photograph that became this painting and over the next month I completed it.

Early in July of 2007 I was down to that beach again, this time for a sunset bar-b-que with friends. I took the painting with me and found the owners of that fence sitting watching the ocean and enjoying the evening sun. I went down to the beach and introduced myself, showing them the painting I'd done of their fence. They were thrilled and of course they loved the fact that a painting had been done of their very special fence.

As I was leaving I asked them their last name, explaining that I'm still searching for a title for the piece. They told me their name but it didn't bring forth any title ideas. Then, she told me that they'd already named this walkway themselves. "We call it 'Boomstick Alley'". Of course it stuck. What a great name for this little painting. BOOMSTICK ALLEY. That was it, I had my title. Whenever I walk the meandering road of Bonnybrook from this day on, I'll always smile as I walk by this attractive yard feature. From now on, I'll know it as BOOMSTICK ALLEY.



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