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!