Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Part 2 - Relief and Joys as Jess Settles in Back Home

Nothing better than the sand between your toes!
I love to go to Portland. I love the climate and the beautiful redwood trees, and I LOVE the beaches. So on our second day of semi-removed parental backup while Jess was getting her home back in order and settling in, we continued our forays into Nature by driving to Canon Beach. Canon Beach has been named as one of "The 100 Best Art Towns in America" by author John Villani, and "One of the World's 100 Most Beautiful Places," National Geographic, June 2013 issue. Well you could have left me there forever and I'd have been happy as a clam.

Toesies had to take a dip!
This trip wasn't about shopping (though I managed to do a bit of that!). It was about clearing our heads, and refueling our souls, so a walk on the beach was just the thing for that. I chuckle when I remember telling a friend of mine about going to Canon Beach. She lived there for several months, so knew a thing or two about it, and her eyes got real wide and began to twinkle as she asked me if I planned to bring some cold weather clothing. We both cracked up and I said "I know!" because the climate of Portland is generally pretty cool, but at the beach it can be really cold, even in the middle of summer. 

Perfect beach walk
The first thing we did when we got to town was park as close to the beach as possible. I took my shoes off and put on my nice warm raincoat and we walked and walked, digging our toes in the sand, which retained a tiny bit of warmth. I loved breathing in that gorgeous salt air, seeing and hearing the beautiful gulls, and feeling the water lap at my toes. The water was a little warmer than the air temperature, which had to be in the 40s, maybe low 50s. The wind was blowing hard and it was spit raining, perfect for a moody, head clearing walk. 

Beautiful sidewalk plantings
After our beach walk we wound our way down sidewalks planted with charming colorful flowers to a little cafe where we had some delicious hot coffee, and sat at a little bay window in comfortable dark green leather chairs next to an old brass antique floor lamp. We shared a savory rosemary/apple/cheddar puffed pastry that was scrumptious. Treat!

Our little corner out of the wind.
Very special cafe latte
We had a chance to visit the DragonFire Gallery. I had read about it in one of the brochures I got from the hotel and I was drawn to it like a moth to a flame. Lord, lord, it was certainly a feast for the senses. I hadn't seen galleries like that since I lived in San Diego. It was like coming home. If you check out the Bell Pine Art Farm link on their web site you'll find some enchanting clay figures that make very special gifts, along with lots of other beautiful things. (I gave some Bell Pine figures to each of the women in my family one Christmas and they loved them. It was one of those one-for-you, one-for-me Christmas purchases, lol.) There was a little dog (Canon Beach is very dog-friendly) who stays in the gallery while his mom works, and his name was Charlie. Charlie had lost his toy dragon and his mom kept saying to him, in between the nails in her mouth and hammering to hang gorgeous paintings, "Where's your dragon, Charlie? Go find your dragon." And he did. What a good dog! I saw some beadwork similar to my bead cuff bracelets, but different. Dare I dream that I might eventually secure representation there? Why not?!

At Camp 18
On our way to the beach we stopped at Camp 18 Restaurant, a place that commemorates Oregon's old logging days. I have mixed feelings about logging and definitely prefer sustainable practices, but I can respect the times before people really had an understanding of the damage done to the planet when we wipe out old-growth forests. We know better now, but I appreciate the hard work that good men did to build our homes and other useful things back in the day. At this place they had amazing carvings.

Big old eagle carving with Bigfoot in the background. 
I think Rob was saying "Ooooooooooo!"

Loooooong bench
I took a photo of this bench because it was impressively loooooong, but made with no splits in the boards, showing the strength of the beautiful redwood. 

So after that wonderful day of Nature mixed with ART, we headed back for dinner with Jess, who was doing fine and enjoying settling in. One of the things she liked best was being able to drive her car again - she'd washed and shined it up. Yay!

The next day I asked if she'd like to go out with us, and she was up for it, so we took her to the Portland Art Museum, and what a treat that was! 

They let visitors take photos of the paintings and sculptures on exhibit (without flash) and I was very pleased about that. I fell in love with a little Madonna relief - something about the whole mothering thing touched me.

Madonna of the Immaculate Conception with Christ Child and the Infant St. John

What amazes me as I walk through museums looking at the finest specimens of beauty in the world is that a person can create something and 300 years later another person can receive the message behind it. It amazes me that back in the times when they had no television or electronic diversions they were able to concentrate and create real beauty.

Spirit of the Dance
The one above is just gorgeous. Can you imagine spending your time making something so very beautiful? I love the angles and planes and shadows and light of such a beautiful face.

I like that artists of olden times had the ability to concentrate and focus, to create works that show their studies and their loves. Today it's such a struggle to get the time to do anything worthwhile, and society is structured such that artists are very poorly supported. Generally, I think it shows in that many of our better artists are "retired," having earned the time to be able to focus. Yes, I set off the alarm touching, but only once (cringe).

Telling secrets
We were lucky enough to visit the museum while they were exhibiting some of the sculptures from the Tuileries Garden in France. When we entered the exhibition space for the Tuileries sculptures the first piece we saw was this gorgeous woman, ready to listen to all secrets and never tell a soul. So I said to Jess, go tell her your secrets, and she did : )

How big are my pockets?
If you want to talk about pure LUST, this is a painting I'd love to be able to look at every day. It brings to mind the movie The Thomas Crown Affair, one of my very favorites. Best love scenes ever, best dance scene, best plot, don't watch it in front of the children. Delicious. Well so this painting brought that movie to mind because if I could ever steal something and get away with it, this just might be the thing. I love the frame as much as the painting. Those colors are A M A Z I N G.

Info about the painting I'd love to pocket.

Up close and personal with Thomas Moran
I got to see an original Thomas Moran, which was also amazing. For all the art books I have in my studio, nothing matches the experience of seeing the real thing. Each painting is like a fingerprint from the artist - no one paints like they do, no one. Moran was a master of color like nobody's business. 

Detail of Thomas Moran's painting
When I stood across the room from his painting my mind registered thousands of details, understanding the image completely. And when I stepped up close, it was amazing to see that these details were rendered with an openness that leaves so much for our imaginations to fill in.

Another detail of Thomas Moran's painting 
I mean look at the brushstrokes on the faces of these men next to the boat. They are just suggestions. Slashes of beautiful, perfect, singing color. How on earth can we get so much information from the whole painting when it's made of such suggestion? I love how his colors S I N G. The man was a master for sure. What a treat to see one of his originals up close.

The Grand Canal Info
And there were some equally amazing paintings depicting realism such that they made me feel like I could reach out and take a handful of what the image offered.

De Scott Evans Peanuts

Peanuts Painting Info

When we went into the elevator to go from floor to floor in the museum, Jess loved the way the lights reflected against the stainless steel walls, so I took this photo of her infatuation : )

Jess wishes she had her camera with her to take photos of the light.
We spent the next day visiting a wonderful bead store where I bought lots of lovelies to get back to work with, and then it was time to leave. I think we were ready. 

The view from Jessie's porch outside her apartment
Jess at home.
Jess was ready for us to be out of her hair so she can get on with the business of life, the joys and the challenges. So with many hugs and kisses, we headed back to our little oasis in State College.

Home again, home again, jiggity jig!

Can't wait to visit her again.

Blessings on all of your journeys.



  1. Wonderful. It's good that you sent so much time with Jess when she got home. Surely it will comfort you when you get home to remember that she is doing so well.

  2. Thanks Carol. I really miss her but am so so happy she's doing well!

    Another thing that occurred to me when I was reading this post was that it would be fascinating to study the histories of paintings. Oh if only they could tell their stories! What people walked under them as they hung in stately homes and palaces? What did these people do? What did they talk about? How many homes did a painting have? What kind of energy does a painting hold? I think it must be very good energy because in museums they receive the love of so many admirers!