Monday, July 30, 2012

Sweet Domino Sugars

Sweet Domino” 2012
oil on board (20” x 24”)
Standing on the piers near the Baltimore Museum of Industry we can ogle the massive Domino Sugars Plant -- one of the last vestiges of Baltimore’s industrial heritage. Hardly a day passes by that a jumbo, hulking freighter is not tied-up to its docks as raw-sugar cargo is unloaded from the ship’s bowels.  The factory was opened for business in 1921 and has been refining sugar to deposit into the bright yellow Domino packages ever since . What grabs everyone’s attention is of course the over-sized, glowing neon sign that lights up our harbor every night. As neon signs continue to disappear, this one gets treated like the royal relic that it is. We all feel that this set of vintage neon tubes somehow belongs to us and that we must protect it.  As our cars zoom by on I 95 its radiant red flush across the horizon is a reassuring image that all is well in Crabtown for another night.

Some people have already asked me why I painted this building since I paint mostly things that no longer exist. Well my simple answer is that I had so many requests for it that I finally just did it. I  tried referring other artists' images since there are so many. However that did not seem to suit the collectors of my work. So I say thank you for your positive response to this one and please know that it was an enjoyable project. Now I want to tour the inside of the refinery.

Sunday, July 8, 2012


"Dry Tug on Canton Pier" oil on canvas (8" x 10") 2012
When I saw this tiny tug boat named the Aqua I sitting there  atop the fractured Canton Pier in East Baltimore, she called out to be painted on my canvas right away. I don't know anything about her only that she seemed forlorn but not forgotten on that sunny spring day. She appears to have some repairs in progress but not recent ones. Aqua I has a mammoth companion nearby named the Savannah who gets a lot of attention from those who desire to tour a de-fueled, nuclear-powered freighter. Savannah was commissioned during the Eisenhower administration's "Atoms for Peace" campaign. Her 1950's mess hall is one of my favorite rooms on the big white ship. (More on her to come so return to this blog later).  Where Aqua I waits, old rubber truck-tires protect her concrete dock from being pounded by stray debris and runaway boats. I hope to return one day soon and see that Aqua I has received some further courtesy and repairs. Otherwise, I might have to fix her myself and chug across the bay while merrily singing "Sailing Down the Chesapeake" to her.
"Savannah" sits on the Canton Pier without her nuclear power. But she keeps Aqua I good company.