#2 Power House

#2 Power House

For as long as I can remember I have been fascinated by the chemical plants in Nitro. You can drive by and it is like an entire jungle of pipes and other manmade industrial equipment and buildings.  Both my grandfather and my father have worked at the plant in Institute, West Virginia and I suppose that has just added to the intrigue for me.  The building in this painting is called the #2 Powerhouse, hence the title, and is the building my father is stationed in.  It is a coal burning power plant that provides electricity for the chemical plant.  On a side note, this painting made it into the 2009 West Virginia Juried Exhibition which took place at the Huntington Museum of Art in Huntington, WV.

The idea behind these paintings is that I wanted to do West Virginia landscapes that were anything but what a person would expect. People paint mountains and trees and stuff like that all the time, but how often do you see a chemical plant immortalized on canvas?  So I took it even further by painting it in portrait format as opposed to the traditional landscape layout.  I also used the vertical composition to convey another aspect.  I wanted to show how big these buildings are, but at the same time show how much more powerful nature is over them.  That is why the sky is so dominant in size and expressed with foreboding weather patterns.  I used pastel colors because I wanted to portray the composition in a way that would be unexpected, but I still believe I got across a sense of eeriness at the same time.  Everything I did in the painting was to make it pretty, for exactly the point of making the viewer realize that this thing is not supposed to be pretty.  Hopefully that makes sense, because I don’t know how else to explain it.  I went a step further by adding a piece of reality to the paint.  For this one, I mixed coal dust and fly ash with the oil taken directly from the site itself.