16 July 2018

The Daily Paint By Number: The Flying Fortress Is Complete

I present for the delectation of all, Royal & Langnickel's PAL21, Flying Fortress, complete at it's gonna git.

It does indeed have the sort of animation-rotoscoped look that Library Gordon said it did. Like most PBN works, it looks a little better when you step back from it and let the colors and textures loose sharp definition and visually blend (this is why Chuck Close's work looks the way it does and works the way it does).

I move on now to the next work, R&L's PAL28-3T, 50's Diner.

12 July 2018

The Daily Paint By Number: PAL-21 "Flying Fortress" Is Almost Done

TDPBN (Which, strictly speaking, isn't daily but this is my art and my blog and I do what I want) checks in with this nearly-complete piece.

The atmospheric feel kinda comes through, kinda. But the adaption of the original picture to PBN was kind of misguided, I thing. Still, it's a good deal of fun.

I"ve located another project for following up this one ... well, actually, The Wife™found it, languishing in our lodger's gear and he doesn't want it so it's mine. It's R&L's PAL28-3T, titled "50's Diner". Yep. You've seen this picture in some form whenever you've had a burger in the USA, because burger dives are marooned in the 1950s with no hope of rescue, along with pictures of Elvis, Marilyn, and James Dean. No Elvis, Marilyn, or JD in this one, just classic muscle-cars parked outside a caboose-car diner. So adorably, charmingly, cliche. If THIS doesn't lend itself to PBN, nothing does.

And here's a Protip: keep the pots of paint you don't use for these, not because it's just a frugal thing to do, but R&L's PBN paint series uses the same code numbers for all their paints across the lines. So #1 is the same white as in PAL21, and #3 is the same yellow, #5 is the same cool grayish-blue ... so I have backup paint supplies now (or replacements if the ones in this one have gone bad in storage). This next one is missing #32, which is a hot neon pink-scarlet color (and judging by the smear of color it didn't go from the package without a fight), but I just checked one of the colors in that set I got last month as Craft Warehouse and there's a hot pink that's near enough as makes negligible difference.


10 July 2018

The Saint Johns Bridge: Coming Back To Town

Got another snap before we left the parking area on Bridge Avenue: as I said earlier, the west end of the bridge runs right into the hillside. At that end, the roadway makes a T-intersection with Bridge Avenue which allows a good viewpoint for a straight-on view up the road.

The pavement makes it easy to snap this POV without having to walk out into traffic to do it and really puts the gothic arch details of the tower into viewable aspect, letting them be the star.

This corner of Portland is quite far out from the city center, nearly seven miles out. Views south and east from the roadway, both NW Bridge Avenue and NW St Helens Road, reveal the working harbor of Portland, the lowest few miles of the Willamette River - wide, cool, and mighty.

That lift span bridge in the middle distance is Portland's hidden bridge, which doesn't even have a name really, and carries the railroad main line north into the cut through the North Portland peninsula and to Vancouver and points north.

Though the area on the west side of the river does have a rather descriptive name: Willbridge. 

NW Saint Helens Road travels between industry and tank farms on the left as you're inbound to city center, and on the right, the towering, forested hills of Forest Park. Old, careworn industrial lots and orphaned gas stations predominate on the right hand side of the road as well, with a handful of homes (including two rather incongruous vintage fourplexes) scattered amongst, and a few avenues intersecting numbered in the NW 60s running back only about a block before dead-ending into the hill.

Very soon on the end of this district, at the cross street of NW Kittridge Avenue, the main road swerves and assumes the name NW Yeon Avenue, Saint Helens Road assuming the role of the old highway and straightlining amongst the industrial district toward the center of town. It's then, more than three miles out, that you notice the great arch of the Fremont Bridge, one of the other iconic river landmarks.

It's somewhat intimidating when you get to the point illustrated here:

... and you're still more than a mile away.

08 July 2018

The Saint Johns Bridge: Framing and Color

Now that I was finally on-point, it was time to play with framing and the effects thoughtfully provided in-camera to the Canon Powershot S-100 by the manufacturer.

This first one is something of an "expected" compostion, good for just a nice picture you can enjoy and lose yourself in. Landsape.

I've zoomed and cropped to give you a good look at a couple of features of the local geography. Notice the grove of evergreens there at the middle of the left side of the photo? That's a large park on the west side of the St. Johns neighborhood called Pier Park. And, despite the proximity to some of the working Portland harbor, it's not named for a bit of nautical architecture, but a city commissioner, Sylvester Pier, who was Parks Commissioner from 1919 through 1923.

Above the right end of the grove you can just barely see the cone of Luuwit ... Mount St Helens. The predominance of blue light and white cloud makes the volcano kind of soften back into the background. On a truly clear day you can just sew Washington's highest peak, mighty Tahoma ... Mount Rainier.

Just a few feet up the trail from the viewpoint an opening in the foliage provided an additional framing opportunity so I grabbed it. The strong vertical lines of the bridge's towers lent themselves aptly to a portrait orientation.

Still, the photo doesn't do justice to the way the bridge's architecture dominates the visual field. This is something you have to experience in person. Framing and composition, as with Wy'east, only gets you part the way ... a great deal of the way, but there's nothing like the human experience.

And, the next two photos take advantage of the monochrome filters on the camera to produce dramatic images with emotional content for me. I recall seeing similar monochromatic images as station-ID cards on local TV when I was just a runt, so this takes me back to Silverton, when my only idea of what Portland was, was on the TV.

Black and white:

... and an unexpectedly-intriguing blue tone, which works even better in portrait.

The Saint Johns Bridge: The Path Up To The Viewpoint

The trailhead to the trail to the viewpoint is easy to miss. The stairway to the trail was built aeons ago, in anno urbis Portlandiensis terms, and it blends in amongst the slope and the shade from the trees and the ivy that covers the hillside. This is what it looks like in Google Street View because I was so intent on going up there, that I didn't stop to lens it.

I, like my camera subsequently, was auto-focussed.

It's easy to drive past. The parking area for this, additionally, is about 200 feet (more or less) down the slope (on the left of that view). It's also not much of a parking area: it's more of a wide-spot turnout. Five or six cars and its full.

But it did give me the chance to take a few nifty snaps on the way up. So, there's that.

This steep, narrow, old concrete staircase is the first step. Up, left, up, right, then to a levelled-out spot created of that big retaining wall.

You'd think there'd be something of a view of the bridge from that, but, no; the trees that have grown there over the years completely obscure it. Of course, the view of the trees, as is the knowledge that one is on the edge of Portland's Forest Park, is invigorating in its way.

It also becomes obvious why they call it that ... if it wasn't already.

Herein, the top of those stairs:

The blue-clad lady is actually a forest nymph of whom I'm terribly, terribly fond. Below the railing is the bridge approach. Diverging up and behind her is the trail to the viewpoint.

This, as one can see, is not a 'walking path' or a bike route (well, unless you're insane). This is a trail, in the sense of a path I would encounter back when I was the world's most crap Boy Scout. This an old school trail. And the trail, as can be seen in the next photo, is kind of treacherous in spots; the wifely nymph, who has occaisional problems with vertigo affecting her sure footing elected to stay here and wait on me.

That root and the slope across the trail are ankle-twisters for sure. I could not criticize my wife's reluctance.

But for me, onward ... ever upward. The trail after that is narrow, but passable and steep, but not too steep. My out-of-shape self broke a sweat. But it was a beautiful environment to be in.

The viewpoint comes on you suddenly after less than three minutes of climbing this path. It's a wooden platform with a rail on the downhill side; the ground below it kind of dips into a tiny crevice, only a foot or two deep, giving the impression of a half-bridge. Though small, there's enough room for a modest number of people to view, and while a few people came past me as I was there, I never felt crowded.

And all you have to do there, is turn, and look through the foliage. There it is.

The feeling of depth and space and vista overtakes one immediately. The image above seems to be of looking out through a tunnel in the ground cover. The truth of the spot is it actually feels wide and open, something of a visual megaphone: like the sound version amplifies your voice from a point to spread out via a horn, the outlook seems to be a lens, pulling in more space and distance than a mere photograph can illustrate.

I stood for a number of minutes before I actually snapped any pictures, taking an experiental snapshot, a memory that I should hope never fades.

I then, of course took a number of pictures. More on that next episode.

07 July 2018

Approaching The Saint Johns Bridge From The West

The two approaches to the Saint Johns Bridge couldn't me much more different if they were placed in different time zones.

The east approach, from the business district of its namesake Portland neighborhood, is kind of what you'd expect from a bridge like this. From a high point on N. Philadelphia Avenue just a block or so south of Lombard street, the land drops away on a quick but gradual slope and a long steel trusswork which goes on for what must be 800-1000 feet before entering the main suspension span of the work.

The west end runs straight into the side of a hill.

Below the west end of the Saint Johns Bridge US Hwy 30, a/k/a NW Saint Helens Road and the main road out of the northwest corner of Portland and the route to the coast at Astoria, runs. It's probably about 100 feet straight up. So they engineered an approach on the west side that involves a side road, and this road is called NW Bridge Avenue. Climbing at a remarkable slope, maybe a three or four per cent grade, I don't know, it connects with the west end of the bridge a its summit before descending again to reconnect with Hwy 30.

This is part of the nature within Portland that everyone knows us for, and it's beautiful and busy and urban all at the same time. While the view of the bridge itself from the viewpoint is stunning, there is much to look at and admire on the way up, here at what is the edge of Portland's Forest Park.

You're already on the side of the hill by the time you're halfway up to the bridge entrance, so while the views aren't as stunning as the one from the viewpoint, they're still exceptional.

Such as ...

Looking down the hill you get glimpses of the wide Willamette, thick trees, and the bluff of the North Portland peninsula, looking pleasantly green on this warm early-summer day in Cascadia.

Just out of shot on the right in this photo, the end of that nearly horizontal tree truck ends in a fractured tree trunk and stump, probably some sort of windfall. What keeps the windfall from being a deadfall is that there are so many trees here that if and when it falls, it won't fall far. The motorists on NW Saint Helens Road below have nothing to worry on, I'm certain.

And, as much as the bridge looks gorgeous, framing it as weaving itself in and out of the nature that's already there makes it terribly artistic and harmonious. The gothic lines of the bridge harmonize nicely with the chaotic joy of the sylvan canopy. 

06 July 2018

The Saint Johns Bridge, Portland, Oregon

Well, we did it. I braved that trail and got up to the viewpoint and did the thing and now, like every other photographer, amateur or professional, who wants a picture-postcard view of the most beautiful bridge known, I has my own copy.

This is an icon of Portland ... the Saint Johns Bridge

There is a little bit of an experiential story to go with this, and I shall tell it anon. For now, a bit of rest is in order.

But, good heavens is that a pretty bridge!

05 July 2018

The Daily Paint By Number: Moar Moar Plane, and #11 Meets #5 again

So I went back in and remixed #11 and #5 and took #3 out for a spin. Here's the result:

The new, cooler plum-ish color of the remixed #11/#5 combo (much more #5, not so much #11) harmonizes much better with the overall feel of the rest of the picture's gamut (experientially speaking). It's still, as friendo Gordon put it, more like a sixties animation rotoscope. I guess it's like one of those Chuck Close paintings ... you have to stand back from it to give it its meaning (it looks a lot better in this small aspect).

Onward, ever upward.

04 July 2018

Wy'east In Nacre

It's been a bit of time. Time for another view of the mountain.

It's time for a weeding at the Rossi place: I had to walk about a block and a half down Shaver to 122nd. But this was, I think, worth it:

The lovely mother-of-pearl sky, Wy'east hidden by mist.

The Daily Paint By Number: Flying Fortress Progress - Moar Plane

I've filled in a bit of the big plane. It's coming-together-ish. ISH. Major ish. 

Visually, it's making more sense, with the dark parts of the plane now laid in, but the acid-trip clouds are still bugging me, and the numbers and lines that are showing through are just making me cry and die inside.

I'm past the halfway point now. When I get toward total coverage, if I have enough of those other colors left, I'll just go medieval impasto on it's ass, and see if that helps.

The thing that's distracting the most is the plum colored areas. That's the #5/#11 mix I mentioned previously. It's totally out of harmony with the atmospheric feeling of the rest of the painting.

Here's #5 (left) and #11 (right):

I think I used too much #11 and not enough #5. Like I said, I can remix and go over the areas after the rest of the work is pretty much done. Impasto that and not too much of the errant color should show through.

Excelsior, et. al.

02 July 2018

TheDailyPaintByNumber: The Flying Fortress, or Whatever It's Supposed To Be

I'm honor-bound to say: I'm not terribly impressed so far.

Maybe Royal and Langnickel is punking me. Who can say.

Now, I'm gonna push through with this sucker, but I'm telling you right now, this is looking like a total dog's breakfast. You tell me:

Not a thrill, and that's what I'm feeling about it so far.

01 July 2018

My Harlan Ellison Story

Harlan Ellison, it has been reported, has died, two days ago as of this writing. It shouldn't be a surprise that on the intarweb, whose existence he might not have speculated on in the exact but is certainly there in the gestalt if you look hard enough at his writing, there is much mourning. A great majority of the people I know online and are solid with are a result of my habitual visitations, back around 2008-2013 or so, of Harlan Ellison's website, the forum boards, and his legendary corner of the 'net called the Art Deco Dining Pavilion.

A handful of people I'm privileged to be connected with on the virutal plane are very admirable writers who knew him personally and/or were connected in a sort of informal mentorship role. But just about everyone of the hard core of online Friends of Ellison, of which I count myself one, has a Harlan story. Herewith, mine.

Actually, it has very little actual Harlan in it. I was never fortunate enough to clasp hands with him, and now that'll never happen; so it goes. But being an active part of the community on his website meant he would occasionally see what you had to say, and a good thing could happen.

It centers on this book, Paingod and Other Delusions. It's renowned because it contains Our Pal's iconic short "Repent, Harlequin! Said The Ticktockman", and that enough is reason to have it, but there is a less-starring member of the ensemble therein is a story called "The Crackpots". As awkward a member of humanity as I am, this story not only spoke to me, it yelled right into my heart Hey, fellah, I know it's tough being you, but you're not alone. You have value, even if you don't have an obvious place to be. Ironically, it's set amongst the Kyben, his space-operatic Human antagonist race, but society is society, and what does fiction do but hold up a mirror to the Human condition?

I subsequently wrote a love letter about this story on Harlan's site ... originally I recalled it was a posting in the forums, but the more I think about it it must have been on the Pav, because that's where Harlan would check in from time to time.

I get an email from the webmaster (whom I believe was named Rick Wyatt). Could I please send him my address? And I replied in kind. In medium order, I got a mailing from Harlan, and this is what it contained:

The Ace SF paperback edition, printed in 1983. And, for your further delectation, the title page.:

I didn't ask him to send me an autographed copy, but he saw my words and that's just what he did. I've been a lifelong fan of Ellison, and this was, and still remains a peak moment: having heard that he'd touched me that way, he gave me a tip-of-the-cap, a salute: the world is a lonely place, but you're not alone in it. I see your struggle.

Harlan was known for a multifaceted personality and in it, you can find any kind of Harlan you want. But the one people know best is perhaps a little moment of human respect, where you heard what he said and he heard you, and gave you a kind of thumbs up.

This was always special to me. Now, its incredibly dear.

He was my pal, too.

28 June 2018

The Daily Paint By Number: The Last Of Indian Summer, and The New Project

The last daub of acrylic was placed on the last of the eight panels of the set dubbed Paint By Number Kit that I got a Powell's sometime last year. Here, for your delectation, via the crappy camera in my tablet, is the result:

The Paint by Number Kit works were fun, a challenge, something of an endurance test. As I mentioned more than once, the panels were lightly and microscopically printed; as an owner of a substandard set of eyes from childhood I found that I could not actually paint them with my glasses on. I had to take them off and bent down with my nose very nearly on the panel. And in the end, I went off-palette a bit; so the results are a little strange in a place or two. But art is, a little bit, about interpretation, and that substitution makes my programmed creation one of a kind.

There's always another subject to do. Here's the next:

Royal & Langnickel's PAL 21, Flying Fortress. Three majestic WWII-era warplanes in stately formation. It comes with the standard equipment; a well-marked (and much less eye-strain-y) panel, eight acrylic paint pots logically numbered 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 10, 11, and 45, another cheapo brush to add to the collection, and the genius of the thing, which you can see above the paint pots: a reference illustration, printed on a standard-size sheet of paper.

It happens that when painting one area you wind up painting over a number that you'll need to know. That was a problem with Paint by Number Kit; in this product one as lazy as I need never make a mental note of what that color's number was.

Onward, ever upward!

21 June 2018

The Daily Paint By Number: All That Orange

The title says it all, but it's a sure sign that I'm on the downhill side of the effort here when the addition of just one more color makes the piece start to feel complete.

This orange isn't the orange in the OM kit, it's the aftermarket set's. Close enough. PBN at this level is rather forgiving, as long as you get it close.

20 June 2018

The Daily Paint By Number: Autumn's Coming-Prepare Yourself

Today on The Daily PBN, we have autumn winding up and getting ready to go:

Those little yellow areas ("Yellow" is know by PBN insiders as #2) took a loooong time to do. Much longer than anticipated.

I'm also going off-palette a bit. Using the acrylic craft paints I got from Craft Warehouse a few weeks back. They're fine for run-of-the-mill product. Glad we bought them.

19 June 2018

Considering Bridgman's Complete Guide To Drawing From Life

I, very recently, under the aegis of Powell's, acquired Bridgman's Complete Guide to Drawing From Life to bolster an already-groaning shelf loaded with books on drawing practice and technique.

As an older work, it attracts. George Bridgman was an artist and illustrator who lived from 1865-1943. He was trained at the Ecole des Beaux Arts and made the practical part of his fame teaching anatomy at the legendary Art Students' League of New York; he's said to have taught thousands of art students the subject, and amongst his more famous students were Will Eisner and Norman Rockwell.

He taught a method of anatomy that involved grouping the large masses into blocks and connecting them with gestural curves and 'wedges' to simplify drawing the human form.

The book itself has remained popular over the years, remaining in print in many editions. It's a meaty book, weighing in at 300 pages and generously laid-out with a legion of simple yet communicative drawings and patiently-worded text.

I've not been all the way through this yet, but it appears to be a worthy reference book for any artist's shelf.

15 June 2018

Busking With Strings, SW Broadway And Main, Portland

Yesterday night, before the Ekumenical meeting, on the way into The Schnitz, we saw this fellow.

As appropriate for the dignity of the surrounding venues, he played adept classical violin.

He was quite adept and pleasant to listen to. Sadly, we didn't have any cash to tip. Hopefully sharing him on a blog will suffice.

He really was delightful, and in just the right place: SW Broadway and Main, in front of Oregon's finest performance space.

He is Tomoki the Violinist, in case the photo isn't of sufficient rez to peep his business card in his case there. There's a Twitter and and Instagram feed there too, I see.

14 June 2018

The Ekumen Convene: Portland And The World Celebrate Urusla K. LeGuin

On Wednesday, 13 June 2018, here in Portland, the city she called her own, a group of people devoted to her writing and her life of art convened to celebrate the legacy, still present in our minds and breasts, of Ursula Kroeber LeGuin.

We started out in order to get there at a propitous time and found a parking spot scarcely a block away from the venue, The Schnitz, and within view of the back door of the theatre. As far as omens go, which I don't believe in, this was a good one, so maybe there's something to that.

My life typically does not extend the opportunity for venturing out into such a place. I've lived in Portland for a very long time now, and I tell you truthfully that I have not had the chance to step into the legendary Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. It was a happy thing that Literary Arts made this a free event and that I was able to score two admissions to it.

We wuz there.

The evening was a two hour program which interleaved visual media featuring Ursula and brief monologues by artist who had worked with her, been inspired by her, called her friend. It is now a truth that I can say that for a brief, brilliant time I shared a room with China Miéville, Jonathan Lethem, and Portland City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly, all of whom I'm fans of.

Follows a retrospective impression, strained through a cronically faulty memory:

The speakers whom I'd not as of yet heard of, for a variety of reasons, spoke warmly and deeply and affectionately of her. The writer Molly Gloss spoke of an adventure in friendship beginning as a writer's workshop. Walidah Imarisha spoke of the debt visionary fiction has to Ursula and the disappointment (and dissent from Ursula) when the TV version of Earthsea gave us a Ged who was white ... not red-brown, as per the text. Kelly Link told of her experience editing and publishing Ursula for her small press and how her daughter got to be her namesake, and brought the house down with an anecdote where Ursula compared a pissed-off bantam rooser with a Fox News Republican. Daniel José Older spoke with much wit and sass about how Ursula invited us to make peace with, not repudiate, our own dark side, to make ourselves whole. Julie Phillips, Ursula's biography, spoke of her sharp and dry wit. Andrea Shulz, her editor at Harcourt, told of the role she had in brining Ursula's last novel, Lavinia, to print.

Margaret Atwood was there in recorded form, hailing us from the distant planet of Canada. Seems more distant every day.

The stars for me were, of course, Jonathan Lethem, author of Gun, With Occiasional Music, a book I loved, and he spoke of Ursula's power to be a bridge between here and there, between genre and mainstream, between people who didn't necessarily live on the same page; and China Miéville let us all in on a little secret; the incarnation of darkness that Ged released in Earthsea was inspired by the ... of all things ... tardigrade.

Yeah. That cute little nigh-indestructible water bear.

You learn things.

The above photo was taken during the intermission. I didn't snap any photos during the event (that's just rude, and they asked us not to) and on the screen, during the lull and before the event, were a succession of quotations and book covers over the career. I made sure to snap on that included The Lathe of Heaven, and that's what you see above.

The evening ended, after China's monologue, with the quote about how those who deny the existence of dragons are frequently eaten by dragons, which served as the cue for the entry of a troupe of dragon dancers, which will exist in my memory as a happy thing.

Some of my Ekumenical compatriots produced recording devices and used them. Gentle shame on you folks.

The dragon danced its way back out the door and a message on the screen invited us to follow it out to Main Street. I stopped on the way to sign a board where a number of us fans signed, and I paused for a minute, and then something that had apparently been forming for a long time in me catalystically gelled and compelled itself through my arm into the Sharpie pen:

The Lathe of Heaven is my Bible, and George Orr is my savior.

And so a gathering of the Ekumen, with a full house at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall in Portland, Oregon, my town, Ursula's town, town of dreams that if you push hard enough you might change at will (though sometimes that pushing seems of Sisyphean proportion), along with thousands who came in by ansible from locations scattered across the continent and perhaps across the globe, went our separate ways into the night.

We all take a little bit of Urusla with us, of course, in our own ways, in our own minds and hearts.

Downtown Portland: Urban Mural, South Park Blocks

Yesterday we were fortunate enough to attend the Ursula K. LeGuin tribute at the Schnitz, and we were lucky enough to score a parking spot on the west side of SW Park Avenue about thirty feet north of SW Main St; it was across the park block from the back of the hall.

If you know anything about finding street parking in downtown Portland you know what kind of a lottery ticket that is.

Looking north, on the same side of the street, on the back of the Roosevelt Apartments, we saw this, which is the kind of mural we grow downtown these days. Looks to me like the artist was channelling Codex Seraphinianus. 


12 June 2018

The Daily Paint By Number: The First of Indian Summer

Today we embarked on the very last piece in that eight-piece pack we've been nursing since last year. The title of this is Indian Summer, and it's a rather banal-yet-pleasant fall scene in the woods complete with cabin, pond, and trees exuberant in "the color".

It is, of course, deep winter as we start our painting, and the snow is thick upon the ground, and when the fall stops it inexplicably develops light blue lines and almost-illegibly-tiny numerals.

Why it does not stick to brown, red, and off-green areas is a question we leave to science.

10 June 2018

The Daily Paint By Number: The Floral Still-Life, Complete

This is the latest production from the PBN easel, a floral still-life.
There were numerous small regions on it and I anticipated it taking longer than it did.

Most of those small regions are the same color, though, so when I mix one color up, it goes a long way.

In every piece there is a point that's halfway, and it's actually a little more like paying off a loan; for most of the first part, you're financing the interest,and then you're financing the principal and the rest of it falls fairly quickly.

Also part of this is being done with the new acrylics I got at Craft Warehouse two weeks back. That's the reason behind the slightly different pink shade in some parts; clearly they're mixing these colors differently.

In the last two PBNs, this one and the tugboat one, I actually am feeling like I picked up a couple of insights about making art, the physical effort, in general. The detail of them turned into a kind of meditation. Also, noting that using up all the paint from some of the original pots seeming strange, my Facebook friend Bruce Miller pointed out that heavy impasto look in the pink areas.

I think he has a point. But boy, doesn't it look gorgeous?

There are some sorts of folk art and art making that I used to look down on a little. I don't do that so much anymore.

07 June 2018

Portland: Like It Or Not, A City Of Sextants

As of yesterday, they finally went and did it, they did, did they.

As a charter member of the Address Nerd club (or, as I like to call myself, a cartesiaphile), I hold my adoration of Portland's neat, well-ordered and pleasing address system as second to nobody's ... well, maybe Michael Long's of Portland and Ben Lukoff's of Seattle.

I will fight you on this.

A short while ago I reported on an approaching revision to the city's address grid; that of the conversion of the area between the river and Naito Parkway, including the South Waterfront area, Johns Landing, and areas including Dunthorpe and Riverdale, on whose east-west streets addresses increase as you approach the river and include a zero on the front, were going to become a new address district.

I traveled the district in prose in this missive, committed to the aether back in the salad days of 2005 on this blog (http://zehnkatzen.blogspot.com/2005/07/geography-address-nerd-on-zero-hundred.html) I called them 'zero-hundreds'; it's developed that the official city nomenclature on those are 'leading-zero' streets. The most common example is the address of the Old Spaghetti Factory, a favorite place of many hardcore Portlanders (including Your Humble Interlocutor and wife, whose birthday dinner tends to happen there), which is, in the common rubric, 0715 SW Bancroft St; seven blocks east of the Naito Meridian yet located west of the Willamette.

Yesterday was the city council's vote to change the face of Portland just a bit, but remarkably so, and the city council approved. So, as of May 2020 (I'm born in that month, so what a coincidence!) the leading zeroes disappear from this area, and the SW is dropped in favor of simply ... S, giving us the most consequential Portland geography revision since the Great Renaming itself, nearly 90 years ago.

This was the layout of Portland before:

The east-west baseline being Burnside, of course, and the straight line going north is N. Williams Avenue. This is then, now; as of May 2020, this will be now, then:

Welcome, South Portland, to the family of Northeast, Northwest, North, Southwest, and Southeast Portland. The city, who keeps liking to call it a sextant, holds that the change was needed to facilitate wayfinding for emergency dispatch services. Those I know who aren't all that thrilled about it find it specious, pointing out that modern wayfinding technology is plenty sophisticated enough to make sense of leading-zero addresses and it's just plain lazy not to bother to learn it, not to mention the cost of manufacturing hundreds of street signs to replace the old.

6 of these = 1 PDX
I agree with those amongst us who say it's a problem that wasn't really demanding a solution that hard. I'm also sad to see a most unique Portlandism, and perhaps the most satsifying local geography quirk that exists pretty much anywhere, evaporate so. And it's such an absurdly small sliver of land to go on about!

The timeline as thus: in May, 2020, the new street blades go up in the South area. They remain up until 2025, after which leading-zero address will officially become a a Thing Of The Past, going into the hazy demesne of nostalgia that holds Ramblin' Rod, Barney Keep, Tri Met Service Sectors, and my ability to hear Lars Larson's voice without gagging.

Although, as the article at https://www.opb.org/news/article/portland-south-new-address-area/ explains, the USPS will still deliver to leading-zero addresses after the year 2025. That article, done by OPB's Amelia Templeton, also links my 2005 Address Nerd entry on zero-hundreds as explanation, and you'd better believe I'm flattered by that!

29 May 2018

28 May 2018

The Daily Paint By Number: Liberty and Boat

Moar paint (as acquired two days ago) means, of course, moar painting.

The Statue of Liberty is completed. Now ... well, it's the fishing boat, now.

The Wife™ has procured frames for just about everything.

27 May 2018

In Which We Recreate The Colossus/Guardian Sticker As A Vector Drawing

Just very recently I had another absolutely satisfying interaction with the people at Living Computers in Seattle, who wanted to use the Colossus/Guardian 2020 campaign sticker design for stickers meant to be sold in the gift shop.

This is always a good thing. I really adore the LC people, who are some of the most straight-up ethical people you'll encounter when it comes to creatives.

The original design was a quick one-off done in JPG format in Adobe Photoshop CS4. They wanted to release a limited edition sticker in a bigger size, and more durable - appropriate for a car's bumper, for example. But the trouble with the pixel image is ... well, I'll be everyone reading this knows. You size up, and the jagged edges show. So, a vector version was called for.

Break out the old Illustrator CS4 and hit the old iMac.

Was it fun? Yes, it was fun. Also, since I'd gotten to see Colossus: The Forbin Project a couple-three times since, I'd noticed that the Guardian logo, which I'd recreated from memory, was a bit 'off'; the starbucks on the red star were a bit squat, which gave room for a larger capital G letterform in it. I rectified that in the vector file, and, because AI has layers you can turn on and off, I included the original version as well as the updated version, so Living Computers can, as the President said Colossus can do with its weapons, select and deliver whatever they consider apprpriate.

The updated version looks like this. The Guardian logo is much closer to the film version now.