Monday, April 21, 2014

Pasco paintings

 Last Fall, I drove down to Pasco, Washington.  Pasco is where my father's family lives, and it is situated near the confluence of three major rivers: the Columbia, Snake, and Yakima.  It is also downwind of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, and surrounded by many agricultural fields.    I've always been intrigued with the old downtown core, a mix of shady businesses, warehouses, Mexican tiendas, and places for rent.  I went out early on a Sunday morning, taking photos and exploring vacant lots until later that evening.  These paintings are from the photos I took on that trip. Pasco and the Columbia Basin has magnificent skies on clear days, which is great for painting and photography.
Northern Pacific Railroad Bridge Watercolor, Gouache on watercolor ground cotton rag board.  This bridge crosses the Columbia River and joins Pasco to Kennewick. This bridge and others like it helped drive the regional development of the Tri Cities.  

Northern Pacific Railroad Bridge,  detail

The Blue Bridge, Acrylic on cradled gesso board  10"x 30"   

The Blue Bridge is main bridge crossing over the Columbia River linking Pasco and Kennewick. 
Blue Bridge (detail)   

Blue Bridge (detail).  This is the view from Clover Island on the Columbia River looking North.  
I was never formally trained in painting.  I started painting at a young age though, when my mother bought me an easel and some watercolors, and the last 15 years or so, I've developed my skills solely from practice.   Though I am aware of the paintings of my peers, I am trying to find my own style.  Many years ago, I worked primarily in an abstracted highly stylized style, but lately I've found it more challenging and satisfying to paint from something I've seen.  Some of these paintings will continue to evolve before I show them.  I find that it is good to put a painting away for a little while and then come back to it later with a fresh perspective. 

Depot Lunch gouache on paper
At One time Depot Lunch was the longest continually operating tavern in the state.  Sadly it no longer exists, it was torn down many years ago, as was the old Northern Pacific Railroad Depot, across the street.  The white building on the left sits next to the former depot lunch site.
Depot Lunch Detail

Depot Lunch detail
Homes for Sale gouache on paper

Detail, This building had a lot of textures, I tried to capture some of the variations using different washes of paint.

Underpass,  Acrylic on rag board.  I did two versions of this painting, the other one is below.  I believe that this underpass ( it goes under the railroad tracks and this street) is due to be demolished soon

This version has less detail.   

Icehouse, oil pastel on canvas

Gravel Loader,   acrylic on rag board 6" x 3 7/8"

Pond Generator, acrylic on paper

Pond Generator, acrylic on paper 9x 12 inches

Daily Donuts acrylic on cotton rag board.  This painting was a rough draft for a  larger, more detailed painting

Daily Donuts, Acrylic on wood. 
Detail of Daily Donuts
ACME Machine &  Welding  Acrylic on cotton rag board.  This was the first of three paintings about an abandoned machine shop.  ACM is my initials so the subject is interesting for me based on that alone.  I am also drawn to the decay of manmade structures, attempts at covering up graffiti, weathered paint, etc.  

ACME Detail

ACME Detail of doors.  

ACME Machine & Welding, Acrylic on Cradled Gessoboard.  This is the 2nd version of ACME.  8"x 16"

ACME Detail

Detail view of ACME
Thunderbird Motel, acrylic on cotton rag board. 2013 

Thunderbird detail,  The Thunderbird Motel in Pasco is probably one of the scariest motels in the state. Seriously.  In one of my photos, I captured  a bicyclist and I couldn't resist adding him to the painting. On the left is a Dead End sign, which actually exists and is telling of what lies beyond the Thunderbird.
Stefanie's Boutique, Acrylic on cotton rag board.  

detail, El Primo Western Wear
Detail Stefanie's.  Stefanie's is really called Stephanie's.
More details, Taqueria La Esperanza
Supermex , acrylic on wood  7 3/4 x 4 inches

Detail Supermex .

Warehouse, acrylic on wood
Warehouse, Detail
Metropolis acrylic on wood

Alleyway, acrylic on wood, 

Chinese Gardens, Acrylic on Cradled Gessoboard, 8" x 16"

Pasco, Washington is where I was born and these paintings are a reflection of local history. The buildings in the old downtown core offer a unique opportunity to document local architecture as many of the original buildings still stand.  Other buildings are particularly attractive to me because of personal significance or because of their dilapidated state.  Though East Pasco tends to get a bad rap because of its generally poor and transient population I find some comfort in visiting from time to time and exploring different places.

Municipal Lot, Detail  
Municipal Lot, Acrylic on wood