The Working Waterfront

A visit to Prock Marine with Lois Dodd, Jeff Epstein

Two painters engage with Rockland waterfront

Carl Little
Posted 2022-05-13
Last Modified 2022-05-16

The Rockland waterfront is a busy place, with all manner of marine activities happening all the time. Among its most venerable businesses is the Prock Marine Company on the northern end of the harbor.

Founded in 1938 and incorporated in 1963, Prock Marine provides construction engineering services ranging from dredging to shoreline stabilization.

As it turns out, the company also provides subject matter for painters.

In their painting expeditions along the coast, Lois Dodd and Jeff Epstein, seasonal residents of Cushing, sometimes find themselves in Rockland looking for a motif. On more than one occasion, they have ended up parking on the shoulder of Route 1 near Prock Marine.

Lois Dodd's Prock Marine, 1999. Oil on panel, 14 3/4 inches by 16 1/2 inches.
Lois Dodd’s Prock Marine, 1999. Oil on panel, 14 3/4 inches by 16 1/2 inches.

They set up their easels on the paths running through the narrow woods above the facility. On hot days, Epstein notes, they appreciate working in the shade “and whatever breeze is available coming off the water.”

The elevated view gives the two painter friends ample options. While Epstein has focused on the assortment of shapes and colors in the view, Dodd, he says, is “always happy to see people using their time constructively” and so is apt to turn her attention to elements of the busy work site.

Dodd’s Prock Marine is the most detailed of the oil-on-panel paintings she has made there. Todd Prock, the company’s president, helped identify some of the objects. The containers in the foreground are 40-by-10-foot sectional barges while the pipes lying on one of them are “spuds” which are placed into a pipe pocket pinned to the side of the sectional barges to hold them in position. He noted that the crane boom on the left is “unpinned and folded back” while in storage. Finally, he pointed out Owls Head in the distance.

In Epstein’s painting Crane, a section of the gangly apparatus cuts diagonally across a view of the harbor. The energy of the brushstrokes gives the illusion of movement, as if we were watching the crane in mid-lift. The industrial latticed boom contrasts with the sailboats anchored in the background.

Jeff Epstein’s “Crane”(2002,-oil-on-canvas,-10-x-12-inches).gif

The two painters have known each other since the early 1990s when Epstein was a graduate student at Brooklyn College and took a drawing class with Dodd. In an interview conducted at the time of “The Mentors Show” at the Falcon Foundation in Damariscotta in 2011, Epstein credited Dodd with helping him learn how to go about painting on-site as well as the value of “stopping sooner than later” when working on a painting.

Their special comradery resulted in these fresh impressions of a bustling section of Rockland’s harborside infrastructure.

“God Gives a Reward to Industry” reads the city’s motto. In turn, these painters of that commerce provide a kind of visual gift to our approving eyes.



Paintings by Epstein and Dodd will be featured in, respectively, the June and August 2022 shows at the Caldbeck Gallery in Rockland. A show of Dodd’s work is now on view at the Hall Art Foundation in Reading, Vermont, through Nov. 27.