PSF Residency: Post #3

I didn’t get back to the Portland Store Fixtures studio until Friday of the second week of this residency. I have excuses, not real good ones, but hey — it’s January and the street-ponds have risen.

However, I did work in my warm studio at home, continuing with the painting that started me searching for a residency.

JOU, Under the Hawthorne Bridge, work in progress, 40 x 30″, oil on canvas, January 2012

This is the street outside the res studio window, with the overhead roadway which leads to the Hawthorne Bridge shading the street, the sleeping transient, and the railroad tracks.¬† Portland’s center city, on the west bank, is shrouded in fog across the river, but even in its misty space, it looks down at this eastside passage.¬† The painting is almost finished, but of course, it’s the last bits that are most important.

The other city-scape that I’m working on is more difficult to get a handle on. It’s a block-long grouping of old industrial buildings, the Eastside Plating Plant #5. Six countable buildings are jumbled together in something of a semi-circle, facing Main Street, with a paved “courtyard.”

I was first mesmerized by the over-sized funnel, fed by the large pipe coming out of the innermost building, that sits in the innermost area of the semi-circle. The more I look at the complex, however, the more I want to find a way to express its complexity as a whole.

I have begun an oil-painted study of the entire block, but it’s just a study (and I didn’t take a photo of it). What I did take were photos of the buildings themselves.

This is Plant 5 of the Eastside Plating Plant, photographed in sections. These photos are of the city block of jumbled and heavily trafficked working quarters.

SE 3rd and Main St, Portland Oregon. The Eastside Plating Plant #5

The other side of the windowed “wall” at SE 3rd and Main in the first photo. The low concrete building at the left juts into the space at an odd angle.

The entrancing funnel, along with an oversized trash bin and the inevitable wooden palettes.


This building, at the far side of the semi-circle, toward SE 2nd Ave, also intrigues me because it’s of a different era, or had a different rationale for existence. Its sloped roof and siding, windows and doors mostly boarded up and painted over, make it resemble a barn or trolley space more¬† than the industrial plant look of the concrete block buildings with flat roofs and big windows.


A view of the SW corner of the plant, with its tangle of shapes and lines.

Obviously, dealing with this will take some time. Just sorting out the shapes and planes and lines and figuring out how to turn those elements into a pigmented painting should keep me out of trouble. –June