Thursday, 3 October 2013

Quick trip to Portland

We made a quick trip to Portland last weekend, with stops at the new Chihuly Gardens in Seattle, overnight in Olympia Washington and two nights in Portland.  My drawing was a bit sparse - I realized that you have to actively schedule time for drawing when there is so much else to do.  That, and the fact that it was pretty much a hurricane the whole time we were in Portland...
     Chihuly gardens in Seattle is a great place, with large rooms filled with Chihuly's exuberant glass and an outdoor garden with various glass installations.  The exhibits are so extravagant that you feel you are immersed in them, not just viewing them.  The two yellow tree-like things in the quick sketch are constructions of hundreds of separate blown glass pieces, each an amazing object in its own right.  It's worth the trip from Vancouver on its own (even if you then spend almost an hour driving 1km to get out of the city on Seattle's deteriorating and nearly non-functional infrastructure).

We stayed in the Swantown B&B in a lovely Victorian mansion in Olympia as we continued south and the typhoon arrived.  It had that good balance of being maintained but also showing its age, complete with a spooky dark roped-off stairway heading to the attic.  Clearly dark deeds had been done there (even if the B&B's brochure claimed that it was a day spa with things like aromatherapy massages.)

Portland has the highest per capita number of micro-breweries, food trucks, and people concerned about gluten anywhere in the world.  It also has a huge farmer's market, a thriving bicycle and green culture, entire neighbourhoods of old houses painted funky colours (and not torn down for taupe maximum-envelop boxes like North Vancouver), and great mixes of heavy industry, ports and bridges.  All excellent subjects for drawing - except that it was so wet we risked drowning just walking down the street, so I was limited to a quick sketch of the entranceway to a cafe in an old house.

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