Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Radical Departure and Calla Lilies.

Maybe "radical" is too strong a word to describe this oil sketch.  Before today, it was "Wild Man", but I just couldn't leave it alone.  There's little else to say, other than it was fun to do, trying to create a likeness with (by my standards) minimum information.  Who knows whether or not this will be left, "as is".

I began this 40 x 30-inch painting just before Thanksgiving and did some work on it today.  This was going to be a landscape to be entered in the Fall Show at the Rental/Sales Gallery, but it didn't work out.  My next idea was a somber painting of a figure sitting under a lamp, head in hands, presenting a sad, broken demeanor.  It was going to be titled, "2011".  I got a little depressed just thinking about it and after doing nothing for a month, I changed my mind.  It was time to do something a bit more lighthearted.  I'd taken a photo of some Calla lilies I'd seen in the Shakespeare Room at the Rose Garden a couple of years ago and thought they might just do the trick.  On the day I began work on it, my neighbor from the office next to my studio came by.  Tim Bogza, had just gotten engaged and was telling me the flowers for the Spring wedding will be Calla lilies!  What a coincidence!  I told him he and his fiance could have it if they like the finished work.  There is much work still ahead for this painting and I hope I can turn it into my vision of the finished piece.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Chinatown and Old Town Traveljog.

Today was just too nice to miss.  The camera battery was charged up and so was I.  The route today:  Starting from the Portland Plaza front entrance, heading about four blocks west for a quick photo tour of The Old Church.  From here I meandered northward toward "Portland's Living Room", Pioneer Courthouse Square.  Along the way I snapped some photos of a few restaurants and shops we enjoy.
 Some nice person living in the building regularly puts flowers on the front desk and seeing these tulips in late November really boosted my spirits.  Between these flowers and the sunshine, I was eager to get underway.
The Old Church, located on 11th-Street and Clay, is only six blocks from our building.  It is no longer affiliated with any religious group and now used as an event site.  Concerts, weddings and all manner of activities are held here.  One of our favorites, the Sack Lunch Concert series, occurs during summer months and features a wide variety of local musicians performing an equally wide variety of music.  The concerts only last about an hour and visitors are encouraged to bring their lunches and enjoy the music.  Best of all--they're free!  In the final Old Church photo, which shows the portico, if you look through the canopy, you can see our building, just to the right of another church.  I didn't notice this when taking the photograph, but will accept full credit for the accidental, but clearly exceptional creativity.
 On our way toward Pioneer Courthouse Square, I just had to show you this iconic Portland building, known, for obvious reasons as, "The Ban Roll-On" building.  Does anyone out there remember Ban Roll-On Deodorant? 
You can see the "Ban Roll-On" building behind, but this billboard is the star here.  I just thought this was a really great message.
Here we have a beautiful building without any nickname, Director Park, and Pastini Pasteria Restaurant.  Mainly pasta, of every shape and sauce, affordable vino and we like it.  Unfortunately, our Italian family taught us how to make a pretty good bowl of pasta, so we don't visit this fine establishment very often.  I do, however, begin to salivate whenever I pass this sign.
Benessere is a delightful shop with nothing but olive oils and vinegars, just like their sign says.  They are always eager to let customers sample the incredible variety of these two gourmet kitchen staples.
"Dragonfish" is a popular and excellent restaurant on the ground floor of the Paramount Hotel, just across from Director Park.  We've eaten here several times and have always been pleased with the fare.

At Pioneer Courthouse Square, you'll see the giant Christmas tree, scheduled to be lit-up at a huge ceremony this evening, with music by "Pink Martini", the Oregon Symphony, a choir and many thousands of excited children and their families.  Other photos taken around the square include a few shots of the surrounding buildings and a really fun signpost "tree", festooned with the names of places all over the globe, with arrows pointing in their directions and the miles from the square noted.  You may be wondering if we will attend the tree-lighting event.  Short answer is no.  Michele is preparing a fabulous dinner this evening, so we'll stay warm, enjoy dinner and watch the festivities on TV.
We're just kitty-corner from Pioneer Courthouse Square now and I thought you might enjoy seeing a beautiful old building.  I don't know about you, but this type of stonework is so impressive and sadly, rarely seen in "modern" buildings.
 We're still very close the square and this is the famous Columbia Sportswear Company on SW Broadway.  Great all-weather clothing.
Finally made it to Pioneer Courthouse Square, also lovingly known as, "Portland's Living Room".  You can see the recently restored courthouse, the Christmas tree and the stage and sound equipment tents ready for the tree-lighting ceremony tonight.
Buildings surrounding the square and the stage spotlights set up for the show tonight.
One of several food carts lining the perimeter of the square.  Don't cha love the name!
A MAX (Metropolitan Area Express) light rail train heads east after a stop at the square.  Most all public transportation stops directly adjacent to, or within a couple of blocks of the square.
A favorite item on the edge of the square, this signpost features the direction and distance to a world-wide variety of places.

So, now we've left the square and we're headed north on 6th-Avenue.  We pass "The Beaver Store", it's the University of Oregon clothing and school merchandise outlet.  To keep everyone happy, there is also a "Duck Store" a few blocks away.  For you non-football fans, I had to get this in, since tomorrow these two state universities football teams meet for the 115th-year in what is jokingly referred to as, "The Civil War".
The Beaver Store features all-things related to the University of Oregon.
You'd almost mistake this bicycle rack for real bikes.  I love the design.

Okay, back to the tour.  We cross west Burnside, going from southwest into northwest Portland and through the Chinatown Gate, with two gigantic Foo Dogs on guard.  I apologize for not featuring every restaurant and shop, but my old legs might have given out, as well as, the camera battery.  You will see a sample of what can be found in this area.  I did not feature the Lan Su Classical Chinese Garden as it has been posted before.
Gateway to Portland's Chinatown.  It's just off west Burnside.
These signs are all over the city and are a great help to tourists and occasional visitors, too.
A better shot of the Chinatown Gate, this time looking south.  Burnside Street, downtown and Pioneer Courthouse Square are all located in this direction.
One of the many fine Chinese restaurants in Chinatown.
An import shop I passed along the route.  Some of their offerings are shown in the next two photos.
 This is an historical disc implanted in the sidewalk in Chinatown.  It's a little difficult to read due to the wet leaves, but the story of the first two female Chinese-American pilots was particularly interesting to me.

Old Town is one of the city's main entertainment districts, with many clubs catering to nearly every taste.  It's in the general area east of Chinatown running down to Naito Parkway. 
  Darcelle's has been around Portland for a very long time.  It's a "must see" show here, but we haven't seen it yet.  Hope we get around to it before moving to the islands!
Huge wall-sized mural on the side of the Old Town building home of "Barracuda".
"Street Roots" is a local newspaper with it's home in Old Town.  It's dedicated to issues facing the homeless and sold on the streets around Portland by ambitious homeless men and women.  It's a great way for them to earn some money and I must say, the vendors are always respectful and never aggressive.  At least one individual, who sold the paper outside of "Trader Joe's" on NW Glisan was known for helping customers with grocery carts.  When he passed away a year or two ago, there was quite an outpouring of feeling for this kind soul.
 We've departed Old Town, crossing Naito Parkway into Waterfront Park.  Here, we're crossing the Steel Bridge, heading toward the Eastbank Esplanade.  I stopped about mid-span to take a photo of the ship in the distance, looking beneath a moving freight car.  It's always a bit nerve-wracking being so close to a moving train, especially on an old bridge.  On the other hand, I thought this would make an interesting photo, as well as, a nice advertisement for an Oregon lumber company, Seneca Sawmills!
 Taken on the Eastbank Esplanade, this photo is simply to share with you the glorious sunshine.  It makes me both happy and sad.  Happy because it shows that even in late November, Portland can still be blessed with a sunny day.  Sad, because I'd like to be in a aloha shirt, shorts and flip-flops, sitting at a beach bar sipping a Mai Tai, listening to the sweet sounds of a Ukulele in the islands of Aloha.  A-h-h-h.
Without a doubt, this little charmer was the highlight of my run.  The Eastbank was completely bathed in today's wonderful sunshine and it was, in a word; WARM!  So, I was about three-quarters of the way to the Hawthorne Bridge when directly in front of me, about thirty feet away I saw this little girl, arm outstretched with something in her hand.  She asked me if I wanted something, so I stopped to see what she was offering.  With a big smile on her face, she opened her clenched hand to reveal three tiny golden-yellow leaves.  I replied that I'd love one and she proudly handed me one of her precious treasures.  Her family looked on with smiles and I asked if I might take her picture.  They agreed without hesitation and the here's the shot. 
Lest we forget.  As I wound my way back under the Hawthorne Bridge to jog the final five blocks home, I couldn't help noticing some homeless folks camped here.  It made me think again, about how lucky we are and how sad that our fellow humans, countless millions across the planet, are forced, no matter the circumstances, to live like this.
The final stop, just outside our building, is a golden tree, illuminated by the fading rays of the sun.  It was a great day and a great run.  As always, I hope you enjoyed seeing a little more of this great city.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Harry Kent, Today.

Poor Harry Kent!  When I look at the first post, I can only imagine what must have been going through his mind--and it wasn't pretty.  But then, neither was the painting.  I was so enamored by the colors, the rest didn't bother me.  Looking at it today, it does...BIG TIME.  I really should have waited until I'd gotten closer to a decent likeness, but enthusiasm triumphed over patience.

So, my apologies to Harry and a promise to work harder to get it looking something like him.  Without
further whining or excuses, here he is today.  Work will continue tomorrow and for as long as it takes.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

South Waterfront Jog, Update.

Once again, I took the southerly route for my jog and thanks to "falling back" to Pacific Standard Time, had the opportunity to see the sights in a different light.  Morning fog and a chill in the air kept me at home working on the self-portrait until nearly three PM. 

By the time I got into the run, the sun had burned off the fog and bathed Portland is a beautiful late afternoon light.  I took the camera along in the hopes of getting some views you haven't seen before.  Enjoy the run!
 The I-5 "spaghetti" described in the earlier post.  I admit to being fascinated by the engineering it takes to build all of this.  Though I'm jogging south, I stopped to catch the sunlight illuminating the scene.  PS:  I'd be much happier if we could come up with a more efficient transportation system.  I haven't driven since my retinal surgery a couple of years ago and seldom even ride in cars anymore as Portland is so convenient for walking and jogging.  That, and the abundant light rail lines, street cars and buses.
A landscape company worker waves hello.  Portland loves trees and they didn't waste any time planting lots of them to green-up this new concrete and steel.  It reminds me of a joke navy folks tell about the air force;  It was said that the air force builds an officer's club and luxurious quarters before they even think about building a runway!  This may apply to Portland and it's love of trees, too.
Looking south, the flame-red foliage leads the eye to the South Waterfront condo towers.  It was really something to see this afternoon.  Tree specialists are telling us the leaves are hanging around a few weeks longer this year, due to the wet, cool spring. 
An aerial tram car about to touch down.  I've shown this before, but not from this vantage point and with this lighting.  That's the OHSU South Waterfront Health and Wellness Center directly behind the car.  Most of our medical care happens in that building.
This is what that strange tower is part of.  I haven't gone to the website yet to get a better idea of where the bridge starts.  A photo of the tower (staircase/elevators) follows.
I can't imagine they'd make us fat and lazy Americans actually walk down all those flights of stairs, so my guess is the tower will also house a couple of elevators.  The tram tower above the staircase tower appears to be connected, but it is just an illusion.
Here's a trolley heading north, though both "ends" look alike.  The rectangular opening is the aerial tram landing spot.
This tree couldn't have been more beautiful today, with the fading sunlight adding even more gold to the leaves.  In the distance, those two tall buildings are a block from our home.
The final shot on this run is an electric car charging station, located at the World Trade Center building downtown.  I was on the way to my studio and saw this.  The future is NOW!

So, that's probably the last time I'll subject you to this route, at least until spring!

Self-Portrait, Update.

Here I am again, suggesting a painting is finished.  I'll let it do the talking.  Mainly, I tried to complete the background, but even now, I still see some areas which need attention, darn it all!