SE 6th and Alder: Some Oils

I’m finally close to finishing most of the small SE 6th and Alder intersection paintings. “Close to finishing” because I keep seeing other things I need to tend to. But these finally have the staffage that I’d been thinking about.

Volunteers of America Building, SE 6th and Alder, 12 x 16″, Oil on board.

“Staffage” is a term I’ve heard used only by Robert Genn, on his bi-weekly blog. I think of it as the living equivalent of street furniture — those bits that show a living breathing place rather than an architectural rendering. I did the building in this painting first, but I did the staffage last.

The building itself was the originally the art deco Eastside Funeral Director’s Building; it has served various functions since they left, the latest seeming to be a part of the Volunteers of America’s youth outreach and administrative offices. The “youths” take smoke breaks on the corner and are puzzled but polite to plein air painters. But they always seem just on the edge of slipping away.

Odd Fellows Building, SE 6th and Alder, 12 x 16″, Oil on Board

The IOOF Orient Lodge Building, on another of this SE 6th and Alder corners, was an odd one to paint. It’s the building that Sheila admired, and perhaps I made it too bright in the painting. It’s a gloomy old thing, with its askew utility pool and north facing side that never gets any sun. The Office Supply Store is going out of business, so the pink and green signs add a somewhat discordant element that I rather liked.  The blue car was part of the scene — someone pulled up almost to the corner, barely parked, and got out and ran into the store. She returned quickly, jumped into the car, and squealed her tires as she sped away.

U S Bank Parking Lot, 6th and Alder, 12 x 16″, Oil on board

I think I showed this in slightly different form on an earlier post — at one point the pedestrian was going out of the picture. Having an exiting figure right at the edge of the painting defies lots of rules, and I thought it perhaps didn’t need to be so blatant about the defiance. I also darkened the street and sidewalk so they didn’t look so much like snow. I think it needs another touch or two of paint.

The fourth building at that intersection of 6th and Alder, the Melody Ballroom and Rivers of Life Church, is sort of finished, but sort of needs something, so I’m not yet read to expose it to the world. I have an idea of what I’d like to do with it, but am not sure I can carry it off. But I’ll probably try.

I’m becoming more and more fascinated with what happens to paintings when they are presented on the web. I would have said that quilted and textile art would suffer most from the dummying down of color and flattening effect of the computer screen. But now I think that the textiles, because they have more clarity and are often more photographic to begin with, actually look better on the computer screen than do the small paintings. Much of the nuance of brush stroke and color is lost on the computer screen, but unless one is painting cartoons, photo-realism, or hard-edged abstraction, there’s no compensating factors. Or at least that’s my notion tonight.

It could also have something to do with the painter…… –June

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3 Responses to SE 6th and Alder: Some Oils

  1. June says:

    Thanks, Gerrie and Del,

    Del, I haven’t a place to exhibit the 6th and Alder pieces yet, although I just carted 4 paintings to Corvallis, for a small spot in a large exhibit hall. They were ones of Portland and of eastern Oregon and mostly were about color. I also have a bunch of Portland scenes on view at the 100th Monkey this month. I am going to be selling at the Da Vinci middle school art show and sale in early December — this is the first time I’ve done that kind of thing in years. And never at DaVinci, but rather at its feeder elementary school, Buckman. Which is where I was painting on Tuesday (see blog above this one).

    I think the local scenes require a local exhibit, so I’m waiting for the right one. It’s nice that these are small — makes them easier to carry, frame, and exhibit. Cheaper, too……..


  2. Del says:

    The people add a lot to the paintings – energy, motion, color – I like them. And I like your skies, they seem to me to be real Portland skies, different shades of blue, different cloud formations. Kool – if you will forgive my lack of another appropriate word! These pictures would look good as a group, I think, three high or three wide – or add the fourth and make it a square. Do you have another show or exhibit coming up?


  3. Gerrie says:

    I think the changes in the US Bank painting are working. I love Odd Fellows piece – great color.


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