Sunday, April 29, 2012

Henry, Sunday, 29 April 2012

After letting Henry dry yesterday, I took another crack at it today.  Working with cadmium yellow, in this case, for yellow hibiscus blossoms (Hawaii's state flower) drying takes forever, but the painting was workable today.

I've got to take care of the background and let it dry completely before replacing his wispy hair on top as I will let it partially cover the name of his shop.  Some additional questions and possibilities are still under consideration, but I plan on adding a bit of sky in, and or, around the letters and though I don't think it will work, a tiny slice of the ocean might be nice.  Much more paint will probably be used in the attempt to get it right.

I had a nice jog today, but no camera.  My run took me over to NW 21st. Street to "Trader Joe's" to pick up three of their "pound plus" chocolate bars.  If you've never tried one of the varieties, I strongly recommend doing so.  Great price for fabulous Belgian chocolate.  The weight of each bar is 500-grams or a "pound plus" at 17.6 ounces and sells for just $4.99.  If there is any drawback to these massive chocolate bars, it would be the amount of effort required to break them into bite-size pieces.  A hammer works well as long as you put the bar inside a plastic bag.  The wrapper tends to rip open after the repeated blows and the plastic bag ensures you don't lose a single morsel.  It's also possible to break them up by hand, but don't try this if you're afflicted with arthritis.  I guess it's a small price to pay for such wonderful chocolate and since doing so gives you some exercise, there's no guilt indulging.

So, that's my shopping tip for the day.  Have a good week everybody!    

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Henry And An Old Self-Portrait.

It was all studio today, well, almost.  I spent a fair amount of the day at home, working on an old self-portrait, the paint so thick, the impasto so heavy, it's making the building lean.  If you've followed this blog for very long you may remember it.


I made it to the studio by about 3 PM and worked exclusively on Henry's portrait.  Here's a News Flash:  Working with stencils can drive one crazy.  I sort of planned out how "Henry's Place" was supposed to look at the top of the canvas.  But, here's the thing;  Canvas is flexible.  It's also rather coarse.  And did I mention that the corners are almost never true?  Worst of all, you either need a bit of measuring and math or a good eye to have any chance of getting it right.  Being a painter who likes living on the edge, I used a bit of all three methods.  As you probably expect, it's far from perfect, but hey, isn't that the "charm" of alla prima?  I'll tweak it and try to get it right another day.  I also experimented with bolder colors for the background, kind of going for the palm frond look.  Stay tuned as it will, no doubt, continue to morph.  Hope you all had a good day.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Another Great Day, Another Travel-Jog.

Since it was another great day, there was no way I was going to spend too much of it indoors.  I did eventually make it to the studio, but only after a travel-jog through our old neighborhood and a supply stop at the Dick Blick superstore in the Pearl District.
Here's Henry today.  I picked up some letter stencils at the art supply store today and plan on adding, "Henry's Place" to the top of the canvas.  When the lettering is finished and dry, I'll put in Henry's tousled hair to partially cover some of the letters.  I also decided that the colors of Hawaii must be in the background.  It seemed like a "no-brainer".  How could I allow grays and neutrals to ruin this happy painting?  I mixed my best version of "papaya" for the first couple of letters, then threw on some happy yellows, pinks to cover the ugly background and the back of his chair, too.  So much for the Zorn palette!  Maybe I'm channeling Paul Gauguin already!

Today, you'll be having a look at a few of the many fine business in what's called, "The Alphabet District" of Northwest Portland.  It's called that because the City Fathers had the brilliant idea to name each east/west running street in alphabetical order.  After Burnside, which bisects the city, we have Couch, Davis, Everett, Flanders, Glisan and so on.  It's a great system which makes it pretty easy to navigate around this part of the city.  On a previous jaunt, I focused on NW 21st Street and the shops and restaurants there, including the now famous barbershop I go to.  Today, we'll see NW 23rd Street, also known as, "Trendy-Third".  It's about fifteen blocks of shops and restaurants for trend-setters, wannabes, young folks looking to be "cool", mature folks looking for nice stuff and local residents who live in the neighborhood.  The entire area is a warren of century old apartment buildings, Victorian homes and lots of housing in-between.  When all is said and done, it's a neighborhood and that's what makes it so appealing to those who visit, as well as, those who call it home.  So...here we go. 
The Commodore Bar and Grill is on the way and I couldn't resist this sign.  Lots of local pubs cater to the young crowd and this will draw them in.
I ran by this fine steak house, considered by many to be Portland's best.  It's on W. Burnside, sort of between NW 21st and NW 23rd.  They have a great "Happy Hour" and, of course, great steaks.
Elephant's Deli is just across from Ringside on NW 22nd.  We love this place for the great food, including fresh-baked breads, wood-fired pizzas and all the cheeses and wines.  We'd hit this place early mornings when we were having dinner guests and pick up the still warm-from-the-oven breads.

 This gentleman, I believe his name was Jim or Joe Schmidt, was out front of his apartment building, thoroughly enjoying the sunshine and entertaining passers-by.  I had a nice chat with him before heading on to NW 23rd.
This rhododendron is about my favorite one in the whole neighborhood.  It's so full of electric color, it's impossible to ignore.
I'm looking across NW 23rd now, at a most beautiful neighborhood flowering cherry tree showing off.
This is a local company and where Michele usually gets my Christmas and birthday gifts!  Lucky me!
Got fortune?  Twenty-third also features many unique establishments which help keep Portland weird.
This fine steed stands in full regalia outside a cigar/magazine store and a lady's wear shop.  It always seems to be wearing something different, but I don't know who dresses it.  It must be an urban legend.
This place is fun to visit, but tough to get out of without denting your credit card.  I do believe Turks are some of the world's best business people.  Great stuff in here, for sure.
A kinder, gentler shop on NW 23rd.  Beautiful goods from exotic locations.
Yuki was our favorite Japanese restaurant when we lived over here.  Great food and it reminded us of our experiences in Japan.
Hey!  You can see the photographer!  This is a new resident of the 23rd neighborhood since last I was here.  I snapped some photos of the plastic examples of their fare on exhibit in their window.
Tempting, yes?!
Another new addition to the many fine restaurants along NW 23rd.
And still another new dining establishment.  I really liked the cherry tree reflected in their window.  NW 23rd, being a former residential street, is lined with flowering trees and shrubs.  Even if you don't care to spend a dime, the walk is well worth the time.
Lela's Bistro is new to me, too.  Great food, no doubt.

This concludes our tour of NW 23rd Street.  It only begins to showcase the many business lining this neighborly avenue.  The Portland Streetcar brings folks here from all the way down on the South Waterfront, about five miles away, maybe a bit more.  It's one of Portland's most enjoyable places to visit.
So, now we're working our way east, toward the Pearl District and the Dick Blick Art Supply store.  On the way, I stopped by the Sultan Cafe, owned and operated by an old friend.  When I had a studio in the Active Space building on Raleigh and 18th, I first met Mike, who had just opened a small cafe in a part of the same complex.  He is Palestinian via New York, with a lovely wife and, if memory serves, two children.  His business has thrived since last I saw him and it was fun to stop by to say hello.  Unfortunately, he wasn't there, but his two staffers allowed me to leave him a note.  I hope he has a chance to see this post.  Because of him, I actually purchased a book on the Arabic language so we could converse in his native language.  He humored my pathetic attempts, but I believe he appreciated my efforts.

The Sultan Cafe, Bar and Grill.

My legs are worn out and the weather tomorrow is supposed to be a little cooler, so no travel-jog.  It will be a day in the studio for a change.  Frankly, I could use the rest!  Have a great day tomorrow.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A Perfect Day.

No doubt about it.  It was indeed, a perfect day.  We broke a record, hitting 82-degrees and the sky could not have been more stunningly blue.  With all that going for us, the only thing to do was grab the camera and take a "travel-jog" to share this glorious afternoon with you.
Kiel and Owen put up their sign.  Behind them is where the aerial tram arrives and departs for the hospital complex up on Marquam Hill.  The Zidell Marine barge building facility is on the left.
Kiel is pretending to tend to the snap peas he's growing.  How 'bout that--a business and a garden!
This is Owen.  He said he's the brains behind the business, but Kiel might disagree.  Kidding Kiel!
Almost forgot...the Zidell Marine folks built this structure for a pair of ospreys to build their nest.  That's the Ross Island Bridge in the background and a chain-link fence just beyond my lens.  I never said I was a great photographer.  I'll leave that for Jeremy Hodes of Australia!
Unfortunately, the osprey pair weren't at home when I was there.  I have seen them on other days and they are magnificent birds.

One of the most interesting stops came early in the run.  A couple of young men were busy setting up their bicycle business at the base of the aerial tram, just beside the Oregon Health and Sciences University's Health and Wellness Center at the South Waterfront.  What a perfect place.  Lots of bicycle-riding employees, as well as, patients and visitors.  Kiel and Owen were kind enough to stop their work and chat with me for awhile.  I also got them in a couple of photos, telling them they'd be Internet stars by tonight.  They're young and too savy to believe much of my story, but smart enough to know that any publicity is good for business.  The boys do it all there--rentals, repairs and even valet service.  One other thing caught my eye...they're growing snap peas in a mini-garden just outside the little trailer which holds most of their tools and other stuff.  Pure Portland!  My hat's off to them and their business!
This is one crazy tulip in the South Waterfront Community Garden.  It's a large area of raised beds with individual residents "owning" their own bed.
More spectacular tulips
Just watered.
The artichoke.
Here it is...yummmm!

Next stop today, was the South Waterfront Community Garden, located just south of The Atwater condo building.  Lots of beautiful flowers were showing off, so I got some photos, including one of a very healthy artichoke plant.  It was all I could do to leave it alone.  On my way north from the garden, I noticed the aerial tram was stopped at the huge support column.  Might've done it to allow passengers to take photos or perhaps it was performing an emergency drill.  I also couldn't resist another photo of the new pedestrian/bicycle bridge.  It should be opening fairly soon and I'm looking forward to taking it over Interstate-5 to see where exactly it goes.
The aerial tram stopped for...well, frankly, I'm not sure.  On second thought...if you blow this image up, you can see two people on the support's right side.  Maybe they're doing some maintenance or safety checks.
The new pedestrian/bicycle bridge.
Azaleas and stairs.
A close-up.  Such color!
A flower bed in front of the 200-Market Building.
Murata Japanese restaurant.  Considered by Japanese visitors to be one of the best, if not "the" best Japanese restaurant in town.  It's at the base of the 200-Market Building.
More tulips with our building in the background.
One of the parks "Occupy Portland" took over last fall.  Looks like it has made a full recovery.
A massive and truly lovely rhododendron blossom.
Teddy Roosevelt guarding the South Park Blocks, with the Oregon Historical Society in the background.  The Portland Art Museum is behind me.
I had some fun re-working this old self-portrait before I headed out for the "travel-jog".  Needs some work on the eyes!
Here's Henry, as of today.  Yeah, he need lots more work, too.  What appears to be black drapery behind him is actually the fifties-style lounge chair he's seated in.  I might end-up taking artistic license and changing the background several times before this is finished.  The actual background was unremarkable and what I've got here, so far, is similarly unremarkable, even boring.  Stay tuned for changes.

I detoured a little bit on the way to the studio and took some more flower shots.  It seems that the pent-up energy of all the flowers and trees exploded today.  When I got to the studio I worked on Henry's portrait for a few hours then departed for home, via Safeway grocery store.  Close to the store, I was on the Park Blocks and couldn't help noticing the Historical Society's bright, blue banners.  A shot was demanded and I was able to get a statue of Teddy Roosevelt in it, too.

So, we're about to enjoy a nice dinner and as we dine, Mount Hood is putting on quite a show as the setting sun turns it from pink to orange on it's way to purple and fade out.  I sincerely hope your day was as great as mine.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

More Rain and Those Who Work In It.

What a surprise...more rain today.  Nothing much unusual with that, but what was different today were the workers hanging off the side of the building replacing the panels of what's called, the curtain wall.  This job was long-overdue according to long time residents.  The crews doing this dangerous job are removing the old panels and the insulation behind them and putting in new stuff. 
Here they are, hard at it, the wind and rain making their platform even more of a thrill ride.
 
The crew just made it down to the 15th-floor today, which gave us the opportunity to see them at work and snap a couple of photos to give you a sense of what it's like working in the rain, on a platform suspended by cables, high above the ground.  I salute their courage and dedication to the job.  I hope  the company pays their (probably) hefty life and medical insurance premiums! 

                               
Clothed in rain gear, this intrepid soul didn't waste any time looking down and I can only commend her good sense!

What a surprise!  Yet another image of the never-finished self-portrait.  My only excuse for this is the drenching rains.  I have no problem jogging in showers, but downpours are a whole 'nother matter.  I stayed home and painted and photographed the curtain wall workers.  I hope you stayed dry today...and had sunshine, too!