Eastside Plating Works, Plant 5 (The Paintings)

More than a month ago, I said I was almost finished with Plant 5. Well, time is as relative as other attributes of our world, so “almost” is tallied as a month’s further tweaking.

Below are images of the final work. The titles and comments are meant to please all: Jan shouldn’t read them or the comments below the paintings. Those who want factual info may read the pre-colon material but avoid the final comments. Those who crave more info may go for the post-colon text as well as my maunderings about the process and the place.

All the paintings are 30 x 40″, and while they are not strictly meant as a panorama, I have included one view of the five of them together.

JOU, Eastside Plating Works Plant 5, number 1: Monday elevenish, 40 x 30″, oil on canvas, 2012


JOU, Eastside Plating Works Plant 5 number 2: Tuesday 5PM , 30 x 40″, oil on canvas, 2012


JOU, Eastside Plating Works Plant 5, number 3: Wednesday, noon, 40 x 30″, oil on canvas, 2012


JOU, Eastside Plating Works Plant 5, number 4: Sunday Morning, 30 x 40″, oil on canvas, 2012


JOU, Eastside Plating Works Plant 5, number 5: Friday 3:30PM, 40 x 30″, oil on canvas, 2012


JOU, Eastside Plating Works, Plant 5, various sizes, oil on canvas, 2012

These paintings were part of a 3-month stint sponsored by Portland Store Fixtures, (110 SE Main Street). Plant 5 occupies the northern half of the 200 block, just east of the Store Fixtures warehouses on SE Main. It consists of 5-7 buildings, arranged in a deep semi-circle, the interior shape partly dictated by a former railroad siding that once ran diagonally through the space. Now, trucks enter into the semi-circle to deliver and pick up materials; workers park their cars there. The interior of the semi-circle has mysterious industrial artifacts, like the prominent funnel in Number 3.

I painted on-site studies of these scenes during a warm spell in January and February, took innumerable reference photos, and did the large paintings in the studio for the remainder of the winter and spring, returning to Plant 5 when I needed more information.

I like to paint my surrounds, over time, providing the viewer with what normally busy people don’t have time to observe. Jer says I make things more beautiful than they are; I say, he just wasn’t there when I was. –June

And Ran Ortner, a painter of huge seascapes, says in an interview in The Sun, June 2012, “I did not want the distance or the conceit that devices like irony evoke. I decided I would attempt a kind of tightrope act. I would paint straight — in a realistic manner — but I would attempt to be inventive with my perspective and the quality of immersion. I hoped to build…emotional density.”¬† He says it better than I’ve ever¬† been able to.

7 thoughts on “Eastside Plating Works, Plant 5 (The Paintings)

  1. Pat — it’s a mutual admiration society, I fear, since I always want to do what you do so well with iPat. #4 was my favorite to paint, partly because I did the studies on a Sunday morning, when the area was totally quiet and free of traffic. A few lost tourists wandered by, but there were not humongous trunks and not even any curious workers, who were fun to chat with but distracting. I found it a peaceful oasis in what I had previously been experiencing as a busy noisy bumptious place.

  2. Particularly like number 4. I think it may be its orderliness. You know how I like order. vbg And the variety of colors pleases too. #5 is likable too because of your signature trees, or should I say, what I think of as your signature treatment of trees. Just a nice composition with a perspective that works well, drawing the eye down the street and into the picture.

    • Thanks to you, too, Sheila. #4 appealed to one of my crit group members for the same reason. As for the trees — well, it was winter and the light industrial area has the strangest trees — who would think of trees in an industrial area, anyway? They contrasted completely with the old blue metal building and the tall building (which is really across the river on the more affluent west side of the city). I wondered if the contrast was too violent, but after shading them with a variety of colors (probably not visible in the web image) I decided they were too delicious to delete:-)

  3. Oh. Thank you for showing these. They are perfect, especially 3 & 4 -I think I’m smitten with the funnel. And the graffiti! You caught just what I wish I could do.

    • Thanks, Del. The funnel was what first caught my eye. The area is pretty “light industrial” — ie faceless flat-roofed buildings, but if you look more closely, you can see artifacts from other eras of industry and building. That funnel definitely has character!

      And the person in #3 is not a mannikin. The workers came out into that space on their breaks (or I assume it was on breaks — they would be there about 5 –10 minutes). This one seemed to be checking her messages — I made up stories about her seeing where her kids were.

  4. Very impressive! The color is especially nice And the funnel has so much character – if a funnel is able to have character. Congratulations! Love, Del

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