Portland, Oregon has been an amazing time so far. Holy crap.
I took the train down on Friday. It was a long ride - almost nine hours hours - but it was very pretty along the coast, and taking the train is such a great way to travel. I don't mind that it takes longer if it means being comfortable and being able to see some of the country.
I arrived mid-afternoon Friday. The train station in Portland is SO COOL. An historic building if ever I saw one. Beautiful place.
Chase Padgett picked me up and we ran some errands including a trip to the nearby Art Supply shop to get some canvass and then head back to the house. His partner, Stacey Hallal has a beautiful place in the "hip" part of town just off Alberta Street. Yup - the "artsy area" is off Alberta Street, if you can believe that. Not a lot of rednecks to be seen around here...
The house is amazing. I feel really, really lucky. I've got a room of my own, a super-comfy bed, and full run of the MASSIVE garage on the first floor, which is set up more like a suite than a garage.
So, while Chase and Stacey went off to the Curious Comedy Theatre to do a show, I spent Friday evening getting unpacked.... which is the one thing I do when I land in a place to make it feel like "home".
It's a simple thing, really, but it does make a difference. I take my clothes out of Big Red (my backpack) and put them in drawers. Put Big Red in the closet.
Chase and Stacey came home and we watched a movie which I'm quite certain has changed my life. Seriously.
I think I missed half of the movie because I was laughing so hard. It's definitely worth a second and third viewing.
Saturday morning was spent over coffee with the inimitable Sean Bowie, Mary Rose, and the ever-growing and evolving Phoenix. Always a joy to see that fine family. I met Phoenix when he was about ten days old... holy doodle. We met Chase and Stacey for brunch, and then it was back to the house to start painting.
I set up the Garage as a studio and got to work.
Chase left for LA on Saturday (and he's already kicking ass, of course).
Stacey was off on Sunday to return in a few days - and I've been huddled in the studio working away. I couldn't be happier, really. I've go a killer sound-system, great light, lots of paint and canvass, and a dog who comes and nuzzles me every couple of hours to remind me to take breaks.
Stacey informed me that her room-mate, Greg would be in and out of the place - and I finally met him on Monday. He seems an amiable chap, who is designing a course in "Tantric Eating" which he describes as total bullshit. Something about holding the food in your mouth for longer... I think Sting could get behind it in a big way.
I've gotten into a good rhythm here: getting up early, going for a big walk to get the ya-ya's out, and then spending a good eight or ten hours in the studio working away.
Wednesday my walk took me over the bridge into downtown to visit the art supply store. It took over an hour to walk there, but I got to see some of the neighborhood and walk across one of the many bridges which are scattered throughout the city. Of course, my phone died just as I was getting to the centre of the bridge to take a photo - so there's nothing to show for it .
Here's a picture from the web of what the bridge can do:
I explored a bit of the downtown before heading back to the house. I popped into a coffee shop and got a free piece of pie from the owner who said, "you look like you need some pie."
Could be worse...
"You look like you need a smack"
"You look like you need to lie down"
"You look like you need serious counselling... again"
In all - it was a good three hour walk in some really pretty areas. Portland sure is pretty.
"Where young people go to retire".
I must have seen four or five porch-swings on my walk today.
I got back to the studio and put the finishing touches on "Lake Louise" and celebrated by taking myself for dinner at a place called The Radio Room, which has Jonathan Richman on the stereo and a cocktail called "Flaming Lips".
Seems like a bit of alright to me.
I've got plenty of blank canvass waiting for me and a few pints of paint to sling.
Here goes nothing.