Friday, February 26, 2010

Tilcon Rock Crusher

Last year, I went on a tour of the Tilcon facility in Northford and got an eye opener view of what has been one of the town’s largest industries for many years. Tilcon Connecticut Inc. is a leading supplier of crushed stone, hot mix asphalt, and ready mix concrete in Connecticut.

Giant rock slicers pierce big slabs of rock in the nearby quarry. Using monster front loaders, workers load the rock into huge dump trucks. The dump trucks deposit their loads into the rock crushers at the top and collect it at the bottom. I have long wanted to paint this enormous rock crusher, one of two in this location. It is a huge iron green machine, able to crush very large blocks of rock into various sizes of stone, depending on the order. Workers are able to enter and climb the rock crusher through a system of doors and stairways.

I was unable to get access to paint en plein air, so I was restricted to photos that I took from the bus and from across the street. I made up a couple of drawings before I started to paint just to get a feeling for the composition. I tinted the background with a mix of thalo green, ultra marine blue, and transparent oxide brown. I began by blocking in shapes starting with the darks. The overcast sky and serenity of the scene belied the powerful force of the rock crushing jaws, and heightened the strength of the greens and shadows of the structure. The American flag, the only spot of bright color, is a tribute to patriotism probably put there just after 9/11.

Painting: Rock Crusher, 12x20, Oil on Canvas, $350.