18 March 2018

Music, Food, and Dancing in East Portland: Portlanders Stand With Immigrants and Refugees

[Update, 19 Mar 2017: I have names to put to the Afghani dancer now and also the lady leading the Peruvian trio, for which thanks go to the lovely Sitara Razaqi Lones, who indeed happens to be the Afghani dancer. TA MUCHLY!]
[Update, 20 Mar 2017] Thanks also to Claudia Cuentas Oviedo, who shared the name of the other two thirds of her trio (see below)

Statistics show, or so I've heard, that my area of Portland, DavidDouglasLandia, Out 122nd Way, Portland's Heavy Eastside and That Part Of Portland East Of I-205, is the most diverse area of, probably, the whole state.

I think it likely. Of the places I have lived in Oregon, one seems more likely to see east Africans, Asians (eastern and western), than anywhere else. It's a real rainbow out here, and I'm pleased with this every day.

It's perhaps the ideal thing, then, that an evening celebration promoted by the City of Portland called Portland Stands with Immigrants and Refugees happened out here, at the East Portland Community Center, which stands just off SE Washington St on SE 106th Avenue. It was a simple thing, really: some great authentic food, dancing and singing by immigrant groups, and plays. It ran from 6PM to 9PM on Friday, and with only three hours there was a lot to cram in there. We didn't see everything but what we did see was delightful.

We enjoyed the food there (the wife had a chicken shawarma wrap and I had a beef burrito and both were immaculate) but there was a wait, but we couldn't be too sore; I knew the event was probably going to be popular but I had no idea it would be thronged.

The strawberry horchata? Superb.

The main event for us was the signing and dancing in the gym. I was at the end of a long day myself, but there was much happy energy and it kept me interested. Me and The Wife™ were both enchanted.

The first performer we saw was a lovely Afghani woman, Sitara Razaqi Lones, who did a passionate folk dance.

As the dance progressed she really got into the zone. The costume only added to the positive energy.

After that, a trio, led by Claudia Cuentas Oviedo, played Peruvian music, accompanied by Tanya Abernathy and Otto Gygax. The support system, a Mac laptop, was reluctant to come on board (at least that's what it looked like), so, when you're a creative performer, what do you do?

You get out the pretty flute and play. It worked.

But when they got underway, they were on. 

After that, we were treated to some really energizing Bollywood style dance. I was remiss in that, due to acoustics, I couldn't get a clear idea of who the other performers were, but thanks to the book of Face, I was able to figure that the dancers were led by Prashant Kakad, supported by dancers including Blake Schrein, Brittany Newton, Jasmine Jaramillo, and Kathy Nordskog.

Prashant is that stylish fellow in the ballcap in the middle. They had an energy that was infectious, and I can only speak for myself here, but watching a group of dancers like that doing such enthusiastic moves in such great synchronization is infectious, inflecting the spirit with happiness and causing even the most weary spectator to at least, at least, tap the foot and move while seated.

They looked great, they made one feel great, and when they got the crowd involved ...

... they really got involved. Everyone on the floor, regardless of who they were or what they looked like, looked good, looked beautiful. Art really connects.

And when they finish on a high note, everyone else gets to be there with them. I couldn't not feel glad I was there.

17 March 2018

Wy'east: The Sun Rising From Behind Larch Mountain

Now, on Friday morning, we return to this blog's national pastime: photographing Wy'east from the Rossi Farms, now having moved our POV to NE Shaver Street east of 122nd. A massive rethink of the bike lane situation on 122nd between Fremont and Shaver has eliminated all parking in that segment, including the spot where I parked Olivia, just by the entry to the Rossi driveway.

But it's still a good view.

The most entrancing feature of an atmosphere like this is the way the clouds form such a solid ceiling, seeming both to absorb the light streaming in from the east and to defliect it down. Also, the sunrise brings unexpected features out; note that some of the foothills are dark and seem to screen the sunrise light back toward the volcano itself, like a sort of divider.

This gives the vista. The bright flare behind the rise on the left - Larch Mountain - heralds the rising sun. The way the foothills screen out the sunlight and redirect it to a glow that subsumes Wy'east is quite clear, as is the delightful low clouds in front of all the foot hills, which is visible in front of Larch Mountain.

The mountain sits bathed in dawn sunlight that the foothills in front are going to get, just not yet.

Red-Tinged Sunrise, 122nd and Stark

On the 13th, I was on the way home from working overnight as I do.

The sunrise was particularly wonderful. There were clouds, and they were catching the long rays of the rising sun in that way that never fails to get my attention.

That's looking east down Stark, of course. The next one, looking south down 122nd, up the rise just before the Library.

The first photo was unretouched. I bumped the color on the second one.

12 March 2018

Burning Auto Wrecking Lot, NE Portland

Been quiet around here of late, but about 1/2 mile west of where I work, there was a BIG fire. Old auto boneyard near NE 75th and Killingsworth. FIVE alarms.

Killingsworth closed west of 82nd. I took this picture from just east of 82nd.

As of now, the Portland Fire Bureau has a 1-mile 'shelter-in-place' zone centered on that wrecking lot. Mayhap I got out of there just in time.

02 March 2018

Manga Explains: Why Ink On Bristol Board?

A couple of weeks ago prior to Book Church we stopped in at the Portland Blick Art Supply store, located and NW 10th and Glisan, and had a look-see.

While there, I had to get a photo of this inspired explanation of why Bristol is good for ink, because it uses a whole lotta manga tropes to explain it plain and clear, and is just plain fun to look at.

When I do draw, I adore Bristol, for whatever that's worth.

If you looked real close, you could see the pink lines of the rough layout. There's not too invisible here.

01 March 2018

The Return of South Portland: Welcoming the Proposed Sixth Sextant

Don't look now, but Portland may be about to grow a sixth address area.

Actually, it already exists. Anyone familiar with the map of Portland knows that the Willamette River and Burnside Street makes a basic division of the address grid into NW, NE, SW, and SE quadrants; the veering to the northwest of the river north of the Burnside crossing creates an ample area on the North Portland Peninsula which is named, simply, N, and these areas form the directional part of every street name in town.

South of the city center, though, starting at about SW Jefferson St, the river dawdles more south-southeast rather than straight south. This is a topic I wrote about here back in 2005; and while the addresses increase southward in accordance with the southward address trend, you reach a point at which the zero-line ... then, SW Front Avenue, now SW Naito Parkway ... is actually several blocks east of the river. Rather than dubbing a new address district, back during the Great Renaming in 1930-33, the address planners counter-intuitively called for addresses to increase 100 to the block again, as you traveled toward the river, but with a leading zero affixed. These addresses I termed the zero-hundreds, but the term of art in the City is leading-zero addresses. Why they decided to take this approach rather than a mirror-image of the North Portland scheme is not recorded and presumably forgotten.

As an example, the home base of Portland's legendary The Old Spaghetti Factory, at the end of SW Bancroft Street, on the river, is 0715 SW Bancroft St, effectively seven blocks east of Naito but on the west side of the river, so SW.

Image: PBOT
It seems incredibly likely that that's all about to change in a local geography edit that, while is not as major as the original Great Renumbering, is quite remarkable and unprecedented in Portland's post-renaming street rationale. If approved by the City (and judging by the amount of work already done it looks quite likely), in 2020, the slender wedge of land with leading-zero addresses beginning just south of the Hawthorne Bridge and expanding to about a mile's width by the time you cross the Clackamas County line will lose the W in the directional and the leading zero in the address number. The Old Spaghetti Factory's address will become 715 S. Bancroft; Johns Landing's main drag will be known thenceforth as S. Macadam Ave, and SW Terwilliger blvd south of Lewis and Clark College will be S. Terwilliger Blvd. The PBOT 'Sixth Sextant' logo schematically summarizes the change, which was apparently catalyzed by the growth of a major urban neighborhood in the South Waterfront area and the collateral issues of city service and emergency service provision in an area where a caller will say "300 SW Whitaker" when they meant "0300 SW Whitaker".

If and when (let's be frank, or at least Meier & Frank ... when, this looks like a done deal) the change is applied, the new South sextant will come into being affecting 258 of Portland's estimated 19,502 street intersections (interestingly, I found that my home 'sextant', SE, has more than 6,600 of those intersections, about double that of the second-largest, intersection-wise ... SW).

I expect I'll embrace it with some excitement, though I'll have to admit that "South Macadam Avenue" doesn't have quite the ring "SW Macadam Avenue" did. And, though blander in character (the originally-named area was something of a center of lower-income and poor European immigrant communities) there is the thing that there will be, at long last, a real South Portland in Portland, Oregon.

Now for the info! Follow this link to the Portland Bureau of Transportation's (PBOT) South Portland Addressing Project: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/75814. Maps, tables of street name changes and address changes, FAQ's, the works!

Also, a tip of the hat to my incomparable friend Friday, who knows what I like and how to get my attention about it: she pointed me to this The Oregonian article and the rest, as they say, is Address Nerd history: http://www.oregonlive.com/roadreport/index.ssf/2018/02/sixth_sextant_city_considering.html

25 February 2018

Might Could Draw Today ... For Artistic Motivation

Christine Nishiyama is an illustrator who is the foundation of Might Could Studios, and believes in community, accountability and consistent practices. This last week, she's debuted an Instagram community that may be just the note some of us under-motivated aspirers need to at least draw something every day.

As detailed in this article on Medium, Might Could Draw Today is a program of drawing prompts and sharing that offer a reason to draw through a different approach to drawing prompts, a community of friends you have yet to make, and small prizes as encouragement.

It has a few simple moving parts. Each Monday, participants are emailed a single drawing prompt. Every day for the next week, do one drawing based on that prompt and post it to Instagram under the hashtag #MightCouldDrawToday. These drawings can be dashed-off in a hurry or lingered over, in whatever style the artist cares and whatever level of care the artist deems appropriate.

That's all there is to it. Oh, and the inducement: Christine awards an art material prize each week to one lucky player. Could be a pen, or a drawing pad, or a marker.

The aim is simple: just do a drawing each day. And there is more than one mutual-encouragement based drawing community on line, but not every one has the right note for everyone. The objectives are direct: just drawing something every day, regardless of skill.

From my personal experience, you can have any level of skill, and you can be neck-deep in inspiration, but if you don't have motivation, you don't have a thing. For those needing motivation, this may just be the thing.

Visit the Might Could Draw Today main page at mightcouldstudios.com/mightcoulddrawtoday/, where signup for the challenge can be accomplished.

How To Draw By E.G. Lutz: The Man Who Enabled Disney

Earlier tonight, at Powell's during Book Church, I stumbled on a couple of books by a man whose work was instrumental in giving us Disney via the public library.

Edwin George Lutz was a commercial artist and illustrator who authored several books on art and how to draw between 1913 and 1933. In 1913, the first of his books, What To Draw And How To Draw It, taught common-sense ways to render birds, houses, animals, people, and expressions in simple, cartoonish style. His 1921 work, Drawing Made Easy, showed the learner how to draw more realistic images of people and animals.

Latterly, facsimile editions of those books were produced by (respectively) LomArt and North Light Books and look like this:

The illustrations are charming, whimsical and very straightforward, clearly showing how, by breaking down natural shapes into shapes the beginner could draw, more complex forms could be built. This is a common concept that the beginning artist is introduced to; the genius of Lutz was his warm, accessable style.

The connection to Disney comes from a book published in 1920, Animated Cartoons: How They Are Made, Their Origin and Development. This particular volume passed into the hands of one Walt Disney, who was at the time making his living in the commercial art trade in Kansas City during the 1920s, under the aegis of the Kansas City Public Library. Legend has it that Disney learned his animation technique from this very book.

The result is a lesson in two things: that the chancest exposure to literature can lead to absolute wonder (what if Walt hadn't seen the book?), and the importance a public library can have in self-education at large (what if KC had an inadequate (or no) public library).

If you love Disney, thank the E.G. Lutz ... and the public library.

This article at Print magazine's website has more information on the Lutz/KC Public Library/Disney connection. 

13 February 2018

That Moment When You Realize Your Ice Scraper Has A More Dramatic and Heroic Life Than You Do

The sticker was probably designed by Michael Bay, and its script was written by J.J. Abrams.

(cue sufficiently dramatic music)

Ice scraper? More like ice hero, amirite?


08 February 2018

Harvey Milk Comes To Portland

This rather snuck up on me and took me by surprise, I'm abashed to say, but a rather historically-named street in downtown Portland is about to change its colors, rainbow-ward.

As reported by KPTV and other news outlets, on Wednesday, the Portland City Council voted unanimously to support the renaming of the 13 blocks of SW Stark Street, from Naito Parkway to where it merges into West Burnside at SW 13th Avenue, to "SW Harvey Milk St".

It's a change that's appropriately placed. For a very long time, the three-sided area bounded by SW 11th, SW Stark, and West Burnside was the hub of Portland's gay culture with popular nightspots like the Fish Grotto, the Red Cap Garage, Boxxes, and the Club Portland. Back in the day, some of those I knew called it the Pink Triangle, and it was gritty old-Portland. Today, it's the West End, the Fish Grotto's gone, the Club Portland has been McMenamized, and the old Ben Stark hotel is the modern-friendly boutique Ace Hotel. But the one axis all these had in common was SW Stark Street.

The change isn't yet quite in the bag, but it's very likely to happen. It has the support of the full City Council, as well as endorsement by more than 75 per cent of the businesses along the street. The rest, apparently, is all process.

My feelings are mixed about this, of course. The words I heard used on the radio and in the news defined Portland for me long before I lived here; geographically, the phrase "Southwest Stark Street" has a resonance that means purest Portland to me. But I'm not afraid of the name change, and expect to welcome it; and, as I said before, there's no place in Portland more apt for such a memorial.

Best of all, for those who would that a pillar of early Portland not be forgotten, this change applies only to Southwest Stark Street. There will still be more than fifteen miles of Southeast Stark Street, and the bits of West Stark that extend out into Washington County.

The Harvey Milk Street Project has a web page here (https://harveymilkpdx.org/), which may be read.


06 February 2018

The Campaign Stickers For Colossus/Guardian 2020 Have Arrived ...

... and they look pretty spiffy.

As any designer or artist I imagine would tell you, it's one thing putting together a work of art, commercial or otherwise. But to have someone produce it so slickly, especially since you love pop culture and being a part of it is a real high - well, that's truly something other than else.

A few missives ago I explained how the Living Computers: Museum + Labs, in Seattle, was having a First Thursday free showing of one of my favorite movies, Colossus: The Forbin Project, and wanted a free giveaway and stumbled on my Colossus/Guardian 2020 campaign sticker design and offered to buy rights. And they did. And they gave it out at that First Thursday showing.

I asked for a handful of the stickers, and they said okay. And yesterday, they showed up.

I got about ten of them. The actual sticker itself breaks out of the backing as an oval 3 and 1/3 inches long by two inches high. And don't they look subversively cool?

As can be seen I didn't just get that. A little promotional collateral came with, including a handout that illustrated some trivia pertinent to the movie. And do you know what else is cool here?

I got credit there for designing it. I'll tell you, I was lucky that LCM+L stumbled on me. They believe in paying for your design, they believe in dealing on the level, and they believe in also giving credit for what you did. 

They do things the way they should be done.

Oh, and vote Guardian/Colossus 2020, because they'll do a better job than humans. Though I understand that the conservatives will be running on an MCP/Sark ticket, though that's just a rumor at this point.

Washboard Clouds in the Outer East Portland Sky.

Seen very recently, on  morning commute home from work. Location: Southbound offramp from I-205 to the Washington-Stark couplet:

A nearly-perfectly-regularly rippled sky, almost like a washboard.

The weather wasn't particularly turbulent, although it's been cool and quite cloudly lately.


26 January 2018

In Which I Sell A Design. As In, Get Paid For It.

So, some time ago, during the last year of this time of extreme dexterity, I thought that the chances of being Presidented over by one less-than-impressive Republican vs another less-than-impressive Republican meant that maybe D.F. Jones had the right idea all along, and I created a graphic.

This graphic:

Doesn't it just kind of speak to ya?

Last week, I was contacted by a representative of an organization in Seattle called Living Computers: Museum + Labs. They're doing a showing of Colossus: The Forbin Project for First Thursday and they wanted to do a limited run of stickers as giveaways to people who came. And after they checked all the stuffs to make sure everything was on the level, we came to an agreement.

There is money resting in my PayPal wallet as a payment for the use of the design for the sticker giveaway. They are also looking into using it for other things, and I will keep the errant reader posted on that.

But it's nice not only to get paid for something, but to interact with a group that understands that, if you want to use something, the first thing you do is ask. From what I'm hearing out there, that's getting rarer and rarer. So these are indeed sterling people.

If you go see Colossus at the museum in SoDo you might not meet me, but you'll meet my work. It'll be fashionable, too. Who knows where those stickers will show up?

Yeah. I'm happy here. Thanks, Living Computers!  

20 January 2018

Folsom Dam, Near Sacramento CA, December 2017

A person of much ilk to our household visits his mom, who lives in an area outside Sacramento called Carmichael, every so often. During the great drought of 2013-2015, Folsom Lake, located about twenty-five miles northwest of the center of California's capital city, became something of a poster-child for the catastrophe. A flood-control reservoir built in a great, shallow, saucer-shaped valley, unlike the mountain reservoirs we Oregonians are so familiar with, its shoreline fluctuates with great alacrity to the most modest changes in pool depth, and it was less than half-full in 2015 when the most famous pictures of a nearly-dry lake were released, before the rains came back.

While our friend was visiting his mom in December, they drove past the dam itself. Bless him, he takes note of what fascinates me, and came back with pics.

Photo courtesy Our Eddie

Wikipedia has this to say about the dimensions of Folsom Dam ... it:
is a concrete gravity dam on the American River of Northern California in the United States, about 25 mi (40 km) northeast of Sacramento. The dam is 340 ft (100 m) high and 1,400 ft (430 m) long, flanked by earthen wing dams. It was completed in 1955, officially opening the following year.

Photo courtesy Our Eddie
In the current climate, the pool is about forty per cent of depth, water released by those who are in authority to do so in anticipation of whether there will be spring runoff from the mountains to the east of Sac'to. There's currently an argument about that, which will be settled if there is an expected access of spring runoff, and will create another argument if there isn't.

They also don't let you drive across the top of the dam any more, I'm told. Pity that.

We live in peculiar times.

Thanks to Our Eddie for the photos, which I now have in my stock library. Since I have not the time, money, nor resources to travel to places I want to go, I enjoy the hell out of the photos I do get from the people who were there. If you want to share them with me so I can blog about them, feel free to contact me.

16 January 2018

Patron Saints of Art: The Current Pantheon

The lapel of my rather-battered jacket tells a story, or at least I try to have it entertain all comers.

Right now, it's got merely five autos-da-fe. They are, as follows:

Saint Thomas Pynchon. The quitessential Great American Novelist, wrote towering books mapping the angst and banality of male American life of the 2nd half of the 20th century into a odd world that exists on the edge of reality but can still be plainly seen. It's in your face but it isn't really there; it's the glimpse of reality you get in the flash of a atomic explosion that dazzles your eyes then fades away.

Saint Patrick McGoohan. Individuality as freedom and prison all at the same time: six degrees of freedom is also six degrees of imprisonment. And we all have our reasons for wanting to break free, and maybe you believe them or maybe you don't. It takes a Village, as they say.

Saint Andrew Warhola. You might be the brightest star in the firmament, son, but your time will be oh, so, fleeting. You will then be absorbed into the MCP of pop culture, program ... but only if you do it right.

San Salvador Dali. He not only did art, he was art. Last, year, to settle a paternity case by someone claiming to be an heir, his body was exhumed. His mustache was as perfect as it was when he was interred. He not only has immortality through his art, he has immortality as his art. If he were alive, he would definitely approved.

Saint Jake Richmond. Tells the story of an outsider not of their own doing, does the hard work, every day, work of the hands head and heart. He's not the only web comicker I admire, but he is Portland's.

Last night, when going to werk, I got Olivia a drink at the Chevron station, she was parched and wasn't going to carry me much farther. The pump jock asked me about my buttons and I told him about my current patron saints and told him about The Prisoner and reading Pynchon and he thought that he might try some of that out.

"Are you a teacher," he asked?

"No," I said, "I just like smart shit."

And so it goes.

15 January 2018

Wy'east: Dark Sunshine

Another day of working overtime. Clouds moving in, there's a dusky darkness to the midmorning sky. I didn't think The Mountain would be out, but she was, and the dark cast to the light ... probably the same quality that the Grimm crew loved ... could not be ignored.

The iciness of the peak communicated very well this day. Behind me, a storm approached from the west.

The wind is always brisker Out 122nd Way, and it was hard keeping Olivia's door open without snapping shut on a leg or some other extremity.

But this was done.

13 January 2018

Drawings from the Andrew Loomis Self-Didactic School of Cartooning

One of the glories of Andrew Loomis's drawing books is they have cute little caricature heads that you can just sit down and draw in a few minutes, which is ideal if you want to just draw something today and don't have either the time, patience, or discipline to do it (or some proportional combination of the three factors).

I've demonstrated this in another post. But in order to actually just open a sketchbook and make marks, which is the habit I'm trying to instil right now, I'm choosing a little sketchy cartoon head and drawing it down.

The above is the second one I did. Below is the first. Drawings in graphite on shattered and deferred dreams.

I have a little bit of drawing aptitude, but, seriously, Loomis asks the aspiring artist to draw a rough circle, smoosh some lumps on it, embolden the lines that matter, et voila!, you really do have a cartoon head.

Right now, it's just old bald white guys with mustaches and smoking cigars and pipes, but I'm looking to expand from there.

But it's really not difficult. If you have no experience or developed aptitude, it just takes me a little shorter than it'd take you. The one thing one really has to get over is the feeling that if you aren't following exact instructions, it's not valid, also, the misguided idea that you have to finish with an accomplished drawing. Those aren't finished, polished, or particularly accomplished, but the are drawings and they do communicate. And they're in my sketchbook, which is where I get to make mistakes.

My wife already knows this lesson. She's working on developing a little character for single-panel gags she'd like to do. She's got sheets covered with this little guy and the more she does, the more she does more. And she's having kick-ass fun with it, and, of the two of us, I'm the one who's acknowledged as the aspiring artist. She just kicks out the jams and does it.

If there's not a lesson to be had in there, I don't know where us dithering artists-in-process can find one that's worth anything.

We are our own worst enemies, sometimes.

09 January 2018

Throwback Pictures: Silverton, Oregon 2009

Back in the winter of 2009 me and The Wife™passed through my old birthplace of Silverton. Just this last weekend I imported a bunch of photos dating from when I started playing with a digital camera, the legendary ViviCam 3705 ... the Plastic Fantastic ... and I stumbled on some of those wonderful pics.

Here are two of them. I'll post some now and again.

The view here is on the corner of North Water St and Oak St, on the doorstep of the legendary Palace Theater, where I saw 2001 and Planet of the Apes and Westworld and so many other beloved films when they first came out. Not one of those businesses that were current when I was but a neat thing are there now except for that insurance business down the street there, a block, on the corner of East Man and South Water.

Still, it doesn't look too different from when I was a kid. At least, not if you don't look too closely.

This is exactly one block east of the last shot, and looking kinda the same direction. That is the 100 block of North 1st Street, and Oak Street is still in our foreground. At one time there was Norma Branstetter's flower shop (which is now over where Park Street t's into North Water) then it was a beauty shop. Could be anything now, I suppose. The charcoal-blue building on the far right was a furniture store when I was young. Doggonned if I know what it is now, though.

But it still looks more or less the same. There's at timelessness to Silverton which endures despite its modern arrival at Quirky Little Oregon Town-ville.

07 January 2018

Playing With The Panic Sign At SW 11th and Burnside

I think I've written about the Panic Sign ... the logo of the software developer Panic here in Portland, at the top corner of the building at the southwest corner of SW 11th Avenue and W Burnside St here in Portland ... before, but since I got a nifty little low-price, high-capability tablet computer for Christmas, which I'm enjoying with great gusto, I've made playing with the Panic Sign a bit more of a sacrament during weekly Book Church.

It's visible from the Coffee Room in Powell's Burnside, which has big windows opening onto the NE corner of the intersection. All you have to do is load the URL http://sign.panic.com, choose one color from the top row to fill the top/left side of the logo, one color from the bottom row to fill the bottom/right side, and touch the Change The Sign! button below to commit the change. When you do it from a table in the Coffee Room, you can see the change as close to instantly as makes no difference.

The colors in the interface are actually a little less vivid than those out on the sign, but you get the idea near enough.

The text on the page saith thus:
Founded in Portland in 1997, it took Panic 15 years to get a sign. We want it to be Portland’s sign, too. Come down to SW 11th & Burnside at night, and go on, change our colors!
It really is just that simple. We can relate. We too love Portland enough that we want to leave our mark on it in some way, in a good way (despite how problematical that seems to be becoming, Hail Eris). And since I have so much fun doing it, we are hereby declaring it an official sacrament of #BookChurchPDX. And anyone anywhere can do it, you just have to be down at SW 11th and West Burnside to see he (I'd suggest a webcam for this, Panic, how about it? As for us, Here we sit and load our page; we can do no other.

03 January 2018

Adobe Sunrise, 122nd and Stark

It was at SE 122nd and Stark where I caught this, the undersides of clouds looking like red sandstone cliffs.

A wider angle showing off the deepness of the sky. The row of cars in the foreground are the new cars on the lot at Ron Tonkin Toyota.

The skies have almost been disturbingly exquisite lately. 

And a closeup. There are photos I've always thought of as 'album cover' photos; the kind you might find on a musical group's album as the cover design. This would be one of those. Naturalistic, but zoomed in enough that the loss of the greater context confers a level of abstraction upon it.

The texture of the clouds is, of course, entrancing. I can't stop looking.

Wy'east, Red Sunrise, January 1st

The atmosphere in these photos seems to take its cue from the chaotic nature of society. Unless it doesn't; nature is, while not unaffected by what we do, indifferent to what's exactly going on. But with a sky like this, it's sometimes fancifully believable to follow that the turmoil we project out introduces chaos into our environment.

The reality is undoubtedly most prosaic.

Maybe it's the time of year but the rising sun has been doing this trick where it's very red near the horizon and reflecting against the underside of the clouds, giving the impression of a solid ceiling.

The solid feeling of spatial definition gives me the oddest feeling of calm.

The real show here was the luminous area off to Wy'east's right, where the sun was going to come up. It's on its way back north now, and will be behind the mountain again by mid-February.

The attraction in the above framing is the streamer of cloud that straggles off to the left of Wy'east. It seems to start in front of the foothills and winds behind them, being blocked off on the left of frame by the shoulder of Larch Mountain there.

02 January 2018

At Last, The 2018 SJKPDX Portland Photo Calendar!

I took a year's hiatus on this while other things concerned and tried to consume me. Well, this will be an art year, and what a better way to start than by re-debuting an idea that The Wife™ and many friends blandishments pushed me to in 2015.

The Portland 2018 calendar is a collection of 13 (one page has two images) photographs from my multi-year collection of snapping things in the areas around town what I live in. This is what home looks like to me, and they are chosen and curated with the same loving eye and passion that just existing in Portland does for me.

I truly love my hometown. I've never felt right anywhere else, and I hope the love I have for Portland, and the cosmic fortune I feel in being able to call myself native Oregonian, shows in my street-level perspectives.

Also! Two of the photos were taken of the Cascadian Eclipse of 2017, down in Woodburn. So you can see what I saw in a singular event of a lifetime.

The price is $12.99 before you get to shipping, and if you'll wonder why you should buy a 2018 Calendar 1 month into the new year, then understand that you also get January 2019, because I believe if you're paying for a calendar you should at least get 12 honest-to-goodness months out of it!

If you love Portland (or love the idea of touring Portland), my calendar will give you a fresh scenic take ... not the same re-used photos over and over again, like so many other scenic Portland calendars you'll see. Unique as its photographer, it's the Portland calendar for your wall.

Buy, and buy often!

26 December 2017

Ice On The Mountain, Ice On 122nd, and Calendar news (at last!)

What a heavy last few days, 'ey, Oregonians? I grew up liking snow and ice, and you didn't see that so often, and a white Christmas was something you saw on the TV here in the Willamette Valley, not the typical Oregon winter which was wet, gray, damp, and chill.

It it just me, or has there been more of this the last few years or so? Two white Christmases out of four? It used to be one white Christmas out of ten, at the upper end.

Climate change much?


The sun behind the high, thin currus and further muted by the cirrostratus brought a calm blue to the face of Wy'east.

The world is a glacier and the blue of the mountain makes valley and volcano of a piece almost.

A very cold piece.

The Rossi's field sparkled with glittering ice. Ice also fell from overhead wires on 122nd as I was about to drive under them.

If 122nd looked like some Alaskan Way, as in the above, then it was even worse two nights ago, when someone caused a multi-car slideout and decapitated a fireplug just a little north of this at the I-84 exit.

Now, for some calendar news.

One of the reasons I don't plan hard is that things come out of the woodwork to thwart all but the most basic of my plans. I have come very near to a state of completion of my 2018 photo calendar, and plan on putting it on sale via Lulu.com, starting this coming weekend.

Stay tuned. Watch this space.

24 December 2017

New Fountain Pens: Preppy Platinum and KaWeCo PERKEO

A couple of pen acquisitions worth noting.

Despite using a Cross Classic Century for the majority of my handwriting I still pine for great fountain pens. For a long time, until Muse Art & Design closed, I used the Preppy Platinum. This, despite its name, is an affordable, well-made fountain pen for all; it is made of recycled materials ad available in two or three point sizes (I preferred 0.3 mm).

When Muse closed the only local brick'n'mortar art-store source I knew of of Preppy cartridges went with it, so I put up my Preppy for the time being. I'm happy to record here that Artist & Craftsman Supply, the national chain of widely-separated, funky, quirky, employee-owned art supply stores, has started stocking Preppy refills in its location on SE 21st just south of Powell Blvd.

Despite being a unit of a national chain, A&C has charmed us and the service there is very personal. As a matter of fact, after seeing they had Preppy but not the refills we put in a suggestion and a couple of weeks later they called us personally and told us that they were stocking them now, so we are duly impressed. Well-done, A&C!

The other pen was gotten from a little upscale-ish stationery shop at 3325 SE Division St called Little Otsu. The brand KaWeCo is from Germany, and the pen model is called the PERKEO. It's a thick-barrelled clipless fountain pen made in a more traditional style, and, unlike the Preppy Platinum, it accepts the standard international ink cartridge.

Top, Preppy Platinum 0.2 nib; Bottom, KaWeCo PERKEO "Old Chambray" style

The PERKEO is sold in four color schemes. The off-white and blue scheme I have is called "Old Chambray"; they have a scheme that has a black barrel and a pastel-ish, cherry red cap that is called "Bad Taste". There's a complete review of the PERKEO at the Pen Addict blog down this rabbit hole which is written by someone who loves pens more than I do which is possibly unhealthy but probably is actually really awesome and goes into much detail on it.

Left, Preppy point; right, PERKEO point

A close look at the two nibs gives an idea of where the two companies are coming from. Preppy's is unadorned, simple, down-to-business; KaWeCo's PERKEO demonstrates an attention to style and form one would expect from a German brand name whose legacy dates to 1883, even in a basic entry-level model.

I expect much handwriting satisfaction.

Drawing Scott McCloud at the Multnomah County Library

So, yesterday, I drew comics scholar Scott McCloud at the Multnomah County Library.

Yeah! Totally! He totally came by and sat for me, and this is totally what he looks like in real life:

I mean, it would be cool to be able to say that, but obviously not. But I was able to take my ballpoint out and dash this down (using is visage on the cover of Understanding Comics as a model, naturlich), and that was a satisfying thing.

Also satisfying: this picture on the right here. Working from a cue in a book titled The Confident Creative, I wanted to make some marks and fill a sketchbook page, I didn't have a subject, didn't have an idea, just started drawing lines. It became an exercise in trying to use those lines to create a suggestion of volume and space, and it succeeded somewhat. I had two arms snaking off and merging into the background, a ceiling up top, and, on the bottom, kind of a shelf going into something resembling a waterfall.

All drawings are ballpoint or liquid ball ink on crushed and deferred dreams.

23 December 2017

Aspiring Portland Artist Defines Talent With This One Weird Trick

Now, we've all, successful as well as aspiring artists, have wondered what defines talent. It's been a search that has captivated and consumed the lives of artists and those who talk about what they do for ages of humankind.

Well, I found the magic bean, you people. Here it is:

... and to think, all we had to do was look at the top-left corner of page 22 of the Walter T. Foster art book, The Beginner's Guide to Art Materials and Terms Used  by Dixi Hall, which was published in 19-something-or-other in Tustin, California.

It really is a delightful book, published in that big-folio style that all the other WTF books were, only it's just a big glossary and compendium of art terms, like brush terms, mediums, grounds, supports ... but sadly, nothing to define other art terms like which drugs to get addicted to to get which results and where to go to rehab.

Nothing's perfect, I guess. But a classic is a classic nonetheless.

17 December 2017

Powell Villa Ace Is the Place for Doohickies

We have fun whenever we visit the Powell Villa Ace Hardware. They're good people and easy with the wit, and they're SF fans besides, as we learned when we found out they had a Federation registry number of NCC-9187. You've got to be pretty logical to rate that.

We went back for some thingamajigs and some doohickies today. The thingamajigs they had to order special, but as to the doohickies?

The doochickies were on aisle 20.

As Spock is my witness I did not photoshop this.

The Oregon Convention Center At Night

Before Portland came all stylish and popular and such, and condo silos started sprouting like an invasive species, one of the premier skyline signatures of Portland and perhaps the most memorable was the Oregon Convention Center. Its twin glass spires were as nothing ever seen before in the skyline of the Rose City. It was kind of our Syndey Opera House.

Now, believe it or don't, it has so much competition that it's just another interesting signal lost in a ton of architectural noise, but it still knows how to put on a show. Here, from earlier tonight, is the edifice lit with an indigo-blue light, which looks vibrant here but in person had a quality that doesn't quite make it to the photograph:

The photograph doesn't do full justice to the reality, but the blue in it is kind of otherworldly still. Seein in the distance between the towers is downtown Portland: the tower closest to the right-hand spire is the Wells Fargo Center, and the one smack in the middle is the KOIN Center. Some lights from Marquam Hill, where OHSU is, can also be seen to the right of that.

The construction site on the other side of NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd between the POV and the OCC is the site of the so-called "Headquarters Hotel", which is going to be a high-rise, so we're about to lose this view, too.

Get down there while you can, troops.