Industrial Cathedral

Industrial Cathedral
"Industrial Cathedral" charcoal drawing on paper 131 x 131 cm Jane Bennett. This drawing was a finalist in the 1998 Dobell Prize for Drawing (Art Gallery of N.S.W.) ; Finalist in 1998 Blake Prize for Religious Art ; Winner of 1998 Hunter's Hill Open Art Prize

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Terminus Indeterminate

plein air oil painting of the Terminus Hotel, Pyrmont by industrial heritage artist Jane Bennett
Starting a new  canvas of the 'Terminus Hotel', 2017 oil on canvas 61 x 91cm  
$6,600
 
The Terminus Hotel, corner of John & Harris St, Pyrmont is being renovated after over 20 years of not so benign neglect as part of the Wakil's collection of derelict inner city buildings.
The former poster child of urban decay has fallen to the inexorable tide of gentrification. It won't be totally obliterated as so many unfortunate heritage icons all over Sydney have been.
plein air oil painting of the Terminus Hotel, Pyrmont by industrial heritage artist Jane Bennett
Starting a new  canvas of the 'Terminus Hotel', 2017 oil on canvas 61 x 91cm  
$6,600
 Hopefully as much as possible of its quirky heritage will be retained, but at this stage it is difficult to predict the outcome, as so much depends on the personal taste of the developers, architects and designers.
plein air oil painting of the Terminus Hotel, Pyrmont by industrial heritage artist Jane Bennett
Starting a new  canvas of the 'Terminus Hotel', 2017 oil on canvas 61 x 91cm  
$6,600
The cantilevered rusty steel awning has just been stripped down to a skeletal framework. It matches the bare branches of the tree on the corner of John & Harris St opposite the old bakery.
I don't know if the awning will be removed or restored. 
Usually I paint the Terminus from the other side of Harris St, to pair it with its rival pub, the Pyrmont Point (aka 'the Royal Pacific). However, one of its most distinctive characteristics, the distinctive parapet skyline, a key feature of Federation Free Style architecture is best displayed from the John st vantage point.
plein air oil painting of the Terminus Hotel, Pyrmont by industrial heritage artist Jane Bennett
Starting a new  canvas of the 'Terminus Hotel', 2017 oil on canvas 61 x 91cm  
$6,600
 Some tendrils of the Virginia creeper that once covered most of its facade still cling to the top. It was possibly the only thing binding all the bricks together.
plein air oil painting of the Terminus Hotel, Pyrmont by industrial heritage artist Jane Bennett
Starting a new  canvas of the 'Terminus Hotel', 2017 oil on canvas 61 x 91cm  
$6,600
 The creeper is usually & wrongly known as 'ivy', however ivy doesn't change to russet tones in autumn, or drop its leaves for winter.
plein air oil painting of the Terminus Hotel, Pyrmont by industrial heritage artist Jane Bennett
Starting a new  canvas of the 'Terminus Hotel', 2017 oil on canvas 61 x 91cm  
$6,600
 The same creeper also covers much of the facade of the CSR manager's house further south down Harris St. An entire courtyard in the CSR refinery used to resemble a jungle.
plein air oil painting of the Terminus Hotel, Pyrmont by industrial heritage artist Jane Bennett
Starting a new  canvas of the 'Terminus Hotel', 2017 oil on canvas 61 x 91cm  
$6,600
 Long before 'green walls' became fashionable decor, the south facade of the building now rather bizarrely known as the 'Rum Store' was entirely covered in Virginia creeper from floor to ceiling.
plein air oil painting of the Terminus Hotel, Pyrmont by industrial heritage artist Jane Bennett
Starting a new  canvas of the 'Terminus Hotel', 2017 oil on canvas 61 x 91cm  
$6,600
 I've always wondered whether the Virginia creeper so prevalent in the Pyrmont of the last part of the 20th century had been planted by the same shade craving person.
plein air oil painting of the Terminus Hotel, Pyrmont by industrial heritage artist Jane Bennett
Starting a new  canvas of the 'Terminus Hotel', 2017 oil on canvas 61 x 91cm  
$6,600
 I'm glad that I took the opportunity to capture this moment. This is possibly the last time the Terminus will be in anything resembling its original state & composed of its original materials.
plein air oil painting of the Terminus Hotel, Pyrmont by industrial heritage artist Jane Bennett
Starting a new  canvas of the 'Terminus Hotel', 2017 oil on canvas 61 x 91cm  
$6,600
 It won't be very long before the Terminus is boarded up to undergo the sort of serious structural alterations that will be required for its reinvention.
plein air oil painting of the Terminus Hotel, Pyrmont by industrial heritage artist Jane Bennett
Starting a new  canvas of the 'Terminus Hotel', 2017 oil on canvas 61 x 91cm  
$6,600
It's doubtful whether the famous ghost sign on Harris St will be retained, as it is painted on the original brickwork.
plein air oil painting of the Terminus Hotel, Pyrmont by industrial heritage artist Jane Bennett
Starting a new  canvas of the 'Terminus Hotel', 2017 oil on canvas 61 x 91cm  
$6,600

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Steady rest

I've been painting the machinery in the William Wallbank and Sons ex- foundry in Auburn, before it is all stripped out and sent to a scrap metal yard.
plein air oil painting of heritage industrial machinery in an old foundry, William Wallbank & Sons, Auburn by industrial heritage artist Jane Bennett
Work in progress - AWW8 'Boys toys -Steady rest 1' oil on steel press plate tondo 16 x 16cm 2017
Enquiries : janecooperbennett@gmail.com
I've been painting a series of still life studies on salvaged "press plates". 
These leftover circles of mild steel were found lying on the machine shop floor, and were being gathered up to be thrown away. 
plein air oil painting of heritage industrial machinery in an old foundry, William Wallbank & Sons, Auburn by industrial heritage artist Jane Bennett
AWW8 'Boys toys -Steady rest 1' oil on steel press plate tondo 16 x 16cm 2017

It was fascinating painting the relics of industry on salvaged objects that were part of the waste product from that industry.
The lustre of the smooth metallic surface shows through every brushstroke, reproducing every sparkle, shine and glimmer of the knobs and finials. 

plein air oil painting of heritage industrial machinery in an old foundry, William Wallbank & Sons, Auburn by industrial heritage artist Jane Bennett
Work in progress - AWW11 'Boys toys -Steady rest 2' oil on steel press plate tondo 16 x 16cm 2017
Enquiries : janecooperbennett@gmail.com
Although the William Wallbank foundry dated from 1932, some of the machinery was much older. I found a nameplate on one from "Russia", which meant that it must have dated from before the Soviet era, and probably from before World War I.

plein air oil painting of heritage industrial machinery in an old foundry, William Wallbank & Sons, Auburn by industrial heritage artist Jane Bennett
AWW11 'Boys toys -Steady rest 2' oil on steel press plate tondo 16 x 16cm 2017
The steady rest on a lathe, has a frame and 3 adjustable jaws to support a workpiece such as an axle or a shaft while it is being turned, milled or drilled. 
It prevents slender, flexible pieces springing back and forth, and also allows deep cuts, drilling, boring, or internal threading. 
plein air oil painting of heritage industrial machinery in an old foundry, William Wallbank & Sons, Auburn by industrial heritage artist Jane Bennett
Work in progress on the easel -AWW10 'Boys toys -Boring machine' oil on steel press plate tondo 16 x 16cm 2017
The over arm with the top jaw can be unfastened and swung out of the way so that pieces can be removed and replaced without needing to adjust the jaws. 
There should be 0.001 inch clearance between the jaws and the workpiece.
The bearing surface is usually machined directly on the work.
plein air oil painting of heritage industrial machinery in an old foundry, William Wallbank & Sons, Auburn by industrial heritage artist Jane Bennett
AWW10 'Boys toys -Boring machine' oil on steel press plate tondo 16 x 16cm 2017
When the work is too small or awkwardly shaped to machine the bearing surface, a 'cathead' can provide the bearing surface. 
The cathead has a bearing that is surfaced, a hole through which the work extends, and adjusting screws to fasten the cathead to the work.
plein air oil painting of heritage industrial machinery in an old foundry, William Wallbank & Sons, Auburn by industrial heritage artist Jane Bennett
Work in progress on the easel -AWW9 'Boys toys -Control' oil on steel press plate tondo 16 x 16cm 2017
Enquiries : janecooperbennett@gmail.com
When it is not possible to hold the work in the chuck, one end can be supported by the headstock centre and the other by the steady rest. 
A leather strap or rawhide thong is used to tie the work to the driveplate and to prevent it from moving off the headstock centre.
 plein air oil painting of heritage industrial machinery in an old foundry, William Wallbank & Sons, Auburn by industrial heritage artist Jane Bennett
Work in progress on the easel -AWW9 'Boys toys -Control' oil on steel press plate tondo 16 x 16cm 2017
After the locking screws on the adjustable jaws are tightened, the bearing surface needs lubrication with  heavy oil before turning on the lathe.
plein air oil painting of heritage industrial machinery in an old foundry, William Wallbank & Sons, Auburn by industrial heritage artist Jane Bennett
Work in progress on the easel -AWW9 'Boys toys -Control' oil on steel press plate tondo 16 x 16cm 2017
Enquiries : janecooperbennett@gmail.com
The bearing surface and adjustable jaws should always have a heavy oil film between them, as when the workpiece heats up it will expand, closing the distance between it and the jaws.
plein air oil painting of heritage industrial machinery in an old foundry, William Wallbank & Sons, Auburn by industrial heritage artist Jane Bennett
AWW9 'Boys toys -Control' oil on steel press plate tondo 16 x 16cm 2017
Enquiries : janecooperbennett@gmail.com



Thursday, May 18, 2017

Scar Tissue


Exploring disused manufacturing can sometimes be a bit depressing – all that decay, all those jobs that no longer exist, all that busy industry that has gone.
I have been painting in the increasingly empty Large Erecting Shop of the Eveleigh Railway Workshops, as they are being slowly stripped of all but the barest essentials,
leaving desolate floors and abandoned walkways.
Echos follow your every move, mimicking and daring you to make your presence known.
plein air oil painting in the Large Erecting Shop, Eveleigh Railway Workshops by industrial heritage artist Jane Bennett
'Release' 2017 oil on canvas 41 x 31cm
 
Painting is less documentary, more subjective and definitely slower and more labour intensive than photography. However these qualities can be assets as well.
The painter has to select one image showing a definitive moment and yet implying others, to reveal layers of meaning that reward further viewing.
I value the quality of authenticity, of being a witness.
This practice of painting on site produces a more genuinely felt memory of my experience and an understanding of the location’s properties and mood, providing me with a truer record of the colour palette than photography.
plein air oil painting in the Large Erecting Shop, Eveleigh Railway Workshops by industrial heritage artist Jane Bennett
'Release' 2017 oil on canvas 41 x 31cm
With the removal of so many items, I focus intensely on what remains. Instead of panoramas of the interior, I am working on a series of close ups of details I have previously overlooked, attempting to preserve what is left of the once chaotic jumble of relics of over 100 years of railway history.

The paint itself can give a feeling of the volume and presence of the scene being painted.
Texture such as rust, stains or water damage can be scraped back with a palette knife or engraved into the surface. The term for this is “sgraffito” .

plein air oil painting in the Large Erecting Shop, Eveleigh Railway Workshops by industrial heritage artist Jane Bennett
'Release' 2017 oil on canvas 41 x 31cm
The colours and textures, crumbling render, faded pigments, verdigris, scrapes and scratches –  the  scar tissue that stand witness to moments in time and history, may be lost in the rush towards the future.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

City larrikins, past and present


I took advantage of a public holiday  and an almost deserted CBD, to try to record some of the buildings in Castlereagh St that will soon be demolished to make way for new metro stations around Martin Place.

plein air oil Painting  of Panorama of Castlereagh st, from Hunter st to Martin Place' by industrial heritage artist Jane Bennett
Painting 'Panorama of Castlereagh st, from Hunter st to Martin Place' 2017 oil on canvas 31 x 103cm
Enquiries : janecooperbennett@gmail.com
 
I took a panoramic canvas to try to squeeze in as much of the streetscape as possible.
On this canvas I've managed to get the lovely Art Deco building on the north corner of Hunter and Castlereagh St, 55 Hunter St, 10 - 12 Castlereagh st and a doorway of the lovely old Commonwealth Bank building that now houses Macquarie Bank.
plein air oil Painting  of Panorama of Castlereagh st, from Hunter st to Martin Place' by industrial heritage artist Jane Bennett
Painting 'Panorama of Castlereagh st, from Hunter st to Martin Place' 2017 oil on canvas 31 x 103cm
Enquiries : janecooperbennett@gmail.com
 
Ironically there is a keystone in the Macquarie Bank building that was placed there by the controversial NSW premier Jack Lang, who once attempted to nationalize the banks and cancel Australia's war debts to the UK. I can't help wondering what Jack Lang would have thought of Macquarie Bank!
plein air oil Painting  of Panorama of Castlereagh st, from Hunter st to Martin Place' by industrial heritage artist Jane Bennett
Painting 'Panorama of Castlereagh st, from Hunter st to Martin Place' 2017 oil on canvas 31 x 103cm
Enquiries : janecooperbennett@gmail.com
Several skateboarders and parkour experts can just be seen in the distance, grouped on the stairs of the soon to be demolished 17 storey building at 55 Hunter street.
Unfortunately I had to break the news to them that their favourite ramps and railings at 55 Hunter St that they practise their jumps and turns on will soon be demolished. They will make the most of their unofficial skate park until it is knocked down next month, and entertained me with over 2 hours of death defying jumps, twists and somersaults.
plein air oil Painting  of Panorama of Castlereagh st, from Hunter st to Martin Place' by industrial heritage artist Jane Bennett
Painting 'Panorama of Castlereagh st, from Hunter st to Martin Place' 2017 oil on canvas 31 x 103cm
Enquiries : janecooperbennett@gmail.com

There seems to be something about this street corner that attracts larrikins, past and present.
A trio of slightly less acrobatic larrikins of the past, also used this unassuming corner of the CBD to rattle the cage of conservative society over 50 years ago.
A famous copper sculpture by Tom Bass, bites into the Hunter street facade of this office block. It had been commissioned by P&O as a wall fountain  in 1961, and was intended to be seen as a purely abstract design. 
However, when this work was unveiled, its indirect resemblance to a Parisian pissoir and its position opposite the French Airline Office, led to a notorious lampoon in the 6th edition of Oz magazine. The editors of Oz magazine, Richard Neville, Richard Walsh and Martin Sharp, were charged, tried and sentenced to jail with hard labour for "obscenity and encouraging public urination", although the defendants subsequently appealed against the sentences, which were revoked.

plein air oil Painting  of Panorama of Castlereagh st, from Hunter st to Martin Place' by industrial heritage artist Jane Bennett
Painting 'Panorama of Castlereagh st, from Hunter st to Martin Place' 2017 oil on canvas 31 x 103cm
Enquiries : janecooperbennett@gmail.com

Tom Bass wasn't offended by the Oz magazine send up of his sculpture, and actually appeared in the trial for the defendants.
plein air oil Painting  of Panorama of Castlereagh st, from Hunter st to Martin Place' by industrial heritage artist Jane Bennett
Painting 'Panorama of Castlereagh st, from Hunter st to Martin Place' 2017 oil on canvas 31 x 103cm
Enquiries : janecooperbennett@gmail.com
 
Through the Chifley arcade are a couple of other buildings due for demolition, 5-7 Elizabeth street. 7 Elizabeth street is an elegant art-deco apartment block, recently vacated by its reluctant ex-residents.