Usually when people are thinking about the unique beauty to be enjoyed in and around the city of Hamilton (Ontario), the most prevalent thoughts immediately go to the escarpment, which lovingly looms over lower Hamilton. While I greatly appreciate this natural beauty, what has recently captivated my eye is actually man-made.
Since moving to Hamilton and living in the east side of the city, I’ve been enamoured by the sky. What really sticks out are the vertical plumes emanating from the industrial pipes throughout the industrial areas along the bay. These vertical plumes are exciting! Perhaps because vertical sky formations tend to be indicators of danger: both tornados and smoke plumes from fires are sky formations that can indicate a fair amount of danger!
The plumes, though ever-present, always manage to look different every day – depending on the atmospheric conditions. Sometimes the plumes dissipate almost immediately, and sometimes they linger until you’re not sure whether you’re seeing plume trails or actual clouds… when does one become the other? I do love how they animate the sky! It brings a certain dynamic quality to the beloved tradition of cloud watching…. You’ve got to be quick to see that elephant or that fluffy bunny wafting by!
As I’ve travelled around the industrial areas to try to get a better grip on what is going on in these steam-spewing industrial complexes, I’m captivated yet again by these pipe-laden cathedrals of industry. These structures are metal monuments to complexity with perplexing organizational purpose. It’s all so wonderfully mysterious! Where do those pipes go? What’s going on in those shiny tanks? And why? I don’t really wish to know, as it’s much more fun to wonder and imagine.
The captivation factor of the industrial buildings is further enhanced by the architecture of the buildings, which is often rather brutal in scale with strange angles and catwalk-like structures strewn all around. And the colors….!!! Nowhere else do you see such brilliant colors in the environment! Oh! the blues, aquas, and greens! The yellows in the ladders, steps, and guardrails winding through and around the structures! And the reds and oranges from the rusting smokestacks! And the flames! It’s such a spectacle that there are open flames coming from some of the stacks!
As dusk falls, the situation takes on an even more animated appearance, as the lights become an exciting visual factor, and the flames really steal the show! In the low light, the plumes take on an even more ominous appearance, especially as the lower plumes intertwine with the pipes and obliterate large chunks of the structure.
I have indeed been captivated by all of these industrial sites, and thus decided to create a (still growing) collection of paintings portraying some of my favourite sites in the industrial area of Hamilton transformed by imagination. Now, I’d like to share my vision of “Industrial Captivation” and hope to inspire a new appreciation for these crazy structures.
Engaged, But Blue 30 x 40 Acrylic on Canvas 2020
This structure is the same as in “Gage Street Steelway”.
I can’t help being enthralled by this blue monolithic monstrosity!
The Obleakly Netherlasting Grace 36 x 24 Acrylic on Canvas 2020
This image is from Beach Road. I love the way these dreary yet colourful buildings seem to be striking a pose as they diminish into the distance.
Facets of Dofasco 48 x 24 Acrylic on Canvas 2019
This image is from atop the escarpment. The Dofasco factory is in the foreground, and Lake Ontario is in the background.
The Bungee Busy-ness 20 x 20 Acrylic on Canvas 2019
The Bungee building on Burlington Street has always fascinated be with all the pipes going everywhere and the wonderful yellow/blue color combination. But my favorite aspect of this particular building is the X-mas tree form looming above everything.
Bountiful Busby Above the Blue 36 x 12 Acrylic on Canvas 2019
This building on Burlington Street is such an inexplicable expanse of bright blue! But what really fascinated me was all the linear hair-like structures on top of the building!
Contrails From The Trellis 40 x 30 Acrylic on Canvas 2019
This amazing trellis-like structure is located near the north end of Parkdale. It is one of the most prolific steam makers in town! The pipe complexity is so fantastic that it almost appears as stained glass in some areas. The two larger stacks on the left have two very faint steam trails drifting out… at least I hope that it’s steam.
Gilded Haze at Hamilton Bay 24 x 12 Acrylic on Canvas 2019
This is my rendition of one of the more iconic Hamilton Bay views as seen from the QEW. In this scene, the sun is going down and the lights are beginning to become pronounced.
Rainbow Crown at Kenilworth 48 x 24 Acrylic on Canvas 2019
The building is viewed from the Nikola Tesla near the Kenilworth exit. This particular view always appealed to me due to the rainbow colors of the stacks. What really confounds me is why the aqua and green stacks are in the wrong order, with all the other colors being in perfect rainbow order.
Skyward Deco Dance 48 x 36 Acrylic on Canvas 2019
This is one of my favorite complexes and is viewed from the Nicola Tesla. The volume of steam is usually quite proficient, and the buildings with angles remind me of an art deco theme.
The Dofasco Experience 36 x 36 Acrylic on Canvas 2019
This site is on Ottawa Street, and is perhaps as close to any of the structure that I been able to access. I just really wonder what is going on with the large pipes that seem to go nowhere.
Parkdale Pipe Palace 48 x 36 Acrylic on Canvas 2019
This is the complex at the north end of Parkdale. Besides the drama of the steam trails in the sky, the aspect that most fascinated me about this scene is the yellow ladders and rails.
Gage Street Steelway 30 x 24 Acrylic on Panel 2018
This site occurs near the intersection of Gage and Burlington Street. With so many interesting forms, I think of this painting as a study in blue.