Restore Oregon: Wong Laundry Building, Portland, Oregon

uzk6v4sfkmgmknnf-t5eyedspf2m2-i8tbcg-7psoo*600NOTE: For those that might be visiting from Restore Oregon,
I am speaking largely to other painters and student painters in my blog.)

 Wong’s Chinese Laundry resided in the Wong Laundry Building on NW 3d  St,
an area currently under constant demolition for high rises, many of poor design quality.
It was designed by Alexander Ewart in 1908, and has had many businesses in it,
the last being Wong’s Chinese Laundry (more history below).
It was chosen as one of Seven Endangered Places in 2014 by Restore Oregon.

I support Restore Oregon because they gift monies
each year toward projects to restore our historical places.

I had few good images to work with, and visited the site to gain perspective on the area.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I started with the two most obvious images —
the black and white image of the neon sign, and the street view.
The images of the building and the state of the disrepair at this time are not
compelling and my task is to create a watercolor a donor might purchase.
I tried my own rough urban sketches onsite but for a donor to want to
buy the image, it needed much more spirit and visual kick!

I added the Chinese Dragon
as if it were a New Year’s festival!

W16 8 RO Wong Laundry 07Beginning with an inked sketch, I added masking to preserve the white and highlight various areas, like the neon.  Overtime, I found other areas I wanted to highlight, so you see blue (that is the masking fluid) added to teeth, eyes, dragon’s ridge and flames.

W16 8 RO Wong Laundry 14Under painting and grisaille using inks.  I added black slowly as I went,
seeing where I wanted that inky darkness just as I saw the highlights.

W16 8 RO Wong Laundry 25Quite a bit of color is added all at once, trying to be patient between colors.
Patience is not my strength, and so, greens ran into the sky and into the gold of the building.  Thankfully perfection is not my goal, but a lively rendition of the energy
of the area when Wong Laundry Building was at its peak.

W16 8 RO Wong Laundry 29I thought the piece was finished, and removed most of the masking fluid so the whites could pop.  Standing back and looking, however, the ending of the building and the tree and the tail in the upper left-hand corner were not working.  This is an issue with a collage-type sketch, because you start in one spot and begin moving and adding details.
I wanted it to appear almost as if the dragon was circling around the block in the distance.  Instead the tail was simply floating in space at the upper left edge.

W16 8 RO Wong Laundry 35 Two things changed the feel completely:
pulling the sky across the top, even pushing it into the building and the tree,
and finally, defining edges with a heavier black line —
an old architectural presentation trick.


W16 8 RO Wong Laundry 35 SQThese images are donated to raise money
for Restore Oregon
at the Restoration Celebration, November 11th, 2016.

MayOkasMom_editedI found several interesting
articles on this building besides the Restore Oregon article:
The Changing Face of Chinatown
in Portland Oregon
Longtime home, business of
Chinese matriarch for sale
Portland New Chinatown /
Japantown Historic District

The Chinese dragon doing its dance in front of the Wong Laundry Building is a made up entity from several images!  May it bring this building good luck!

Previous Buildings:
Upper Sandy Guard Station
W16 8 RO Upper Sandy Guard Station 008

Strathmore 0r Fluid Cold Press papers, with a Pentalic 2B woodless pencil,
Lamy Al-Star with De Atramentis Document black ink
and Platinum Carbon pen with Platinum Carbon ink;
White Uniball Signo pen, Fineline Masking;
Sennelier, Holbein, QoR, M.Graham, and Daniel Smith watercolors.

W15 11 26 RO Peggy Plate 024 BANNER 300 W15 11 26 RO Peggy Plate 024 BANNER 300 W15 11 26 RO Peggy Plate 024 BANNER 300 W15 11 26 RO Peggy Plate 024 BANNER 300

 ©D. Katie Powell.
My images/blog posts may be reposted; please link back  to dkatiepowellart.

About dkatiepowellart

hollywood baby turned beach gurl turned steel&glass city gurl turned cowgurl turned herb gurl turned green city gurl. . . artist writer photographer. . . cat lover but misses our big dogs, gone to heaven. . . buddhist and interested in the study of spiritual traditions. . . foodie, organic, lover of all things mik, partner in conservation business mpfconservation, consummate blogger, making a dream happen, insomniac who is either reading buddhist teachings or not-so-bloody mysteries or autobio journal thangs early in the morning when i can't sleep
This entry was posted in architecture, art, creativity, history, landscape, painting, pen & ink, urban sketchers, virtual sketching, watercolor and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to Restore Oregon: Wong Laundry Building, Portland, Oregon

  1. Faye says:

    Wonderful Chinese dragon painting! thanks for letting us in on the secret of making it more like you intended. These remarks help us who don’t know as much about painting.


  2. gillena says:

    Some really nice sketches here, thanks for sharing
    happy PPF

    much love…


  3. It looks wonderful! I love it.


  4. I loved seeing this painting from ink-work to finished painting! I love seeing the Dragons on Chinese New Year. This dragon is so vibrant and full of energy. I too hope it brings the building good luck!


  5. Linda K says:

    this turned out so beautifully and cheerful! Thanks for sharing the history on the laundry and for being active in the preservation of historic buildings such as this. Great work all around Kate!


  6. loisajay says:

    This is beautiful! I so loved watching the painting grow before my eyes. The final finish is gorgeous. I hope someone snaps this one up quickly–it is a beauty.


  7. bikerchick57 says:

    Katie, the Chinese dragon is spectacular…so colorful! It’s a shame that this modern world has to tear down beautiful architectural buildings in favor of glass and steel and poor design. This happened in a local city here when they tore down a landmark hotel and built this massive bank building. I think it’s an eyesore and has taken away from what could have been a very quaint downtown. Oh well, what do I know…


    • People know that they are uncomfortable. They might not realize why. In NW Portland people are going to feel overwhelmed by humongous towering and close-to-the-sidewalk buildings with no trees or human amenities, but they won’t know how to say it. Architects can say, “Damn, setbacks, trees, human spaces should have been incorporated into the planning of this city!” But by then it is too late — and developers pay planners off too….

      Liked by 1 person

  8. giggles says:

    Beautiful work as always!! Love how cheerful and vibrant the one is!

    Hugs Giggles


  9. Pingback: Restore Oregon: Uppertown Net Loft, Astoria, Oregon | D.Katie Powell Art

  10. Pingback: Restore Oregon: Rivoli Theater | D.Katie Powell Art

  11. Pingback: Restore Oregon: Fort Rock | D.Katie Powell Art

  12. Pingback: Restore Oregon: Janzten Beach Carousel 1, Chinese Water Serpent | D.Katie Powell Art

  13. Pingback: Restore Oregon: Janzten Beach Carousel 2, Grapes | D.Katie Powell Art

  14. Pingback: Restore Oregon: Janzten Beach Carousel 3, Floral | D.Katie Powell Art

  15. Pingback: Restore Oregon: Jantzen Beach Carousel 3, Floral | D.Katie Powell Art

  16. Pingback: Restore Oregon: Jantzen Beach Carousel 4, Pinto Fishing | D.Katie Powell Art

  17. Pingback: Restore Oregon: Jantzen Beach Carousel 5, Eagle | D.Katie Powell Art

  18. Pingback: Restore Oregon: Jantzen Beach Carousel 6, Roman | D.Katie Powell Art

  19. Pingback: Restore Oregon: EOU Inlow Hall’s Grand Staircase, La Grande, Oregon | D.Katie Powell Art

  20. Pingback: Restore Oregon: Lindberg House | D.Katie Powell Art

  21. Pingback: Restore Oregon: The Oregon Caves Historic District | D.Katie Powell Art

I love hearing from visitors!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.