Tag Archives: oregon

sunday in portland

food carts in portland
After an evening in the company of pirates, a lazy Sunday in downtown Portland. I didn’t go anywhere new or explore too much, just did what I enjoy – eating en plein air, going to Powell’s books, lining up for doughnuts and sketching a bridge. Many of the food carts weren’t open, including the delicious Thai one I ate from last year (“I Like Thai Food”, and I really do), but I grabbed a curry lunch from one (it was so-so, but really filling) before pottering off to Powell’s. I love Powell’s Books, you could get lost in there forever, and in fact you should. The bookstore covers an entire block. I love the smell of bookstores. After getting a t-shirt and a pint glass (I am such a tourist) I did another touristy thing and went to line up at Voodoo Doughnuts.
voodoo doughnuts, portland
Well, naturally I sketched it first – the linework anyhow, I added the colour later. I stood across the street and tried to guess how long it would take me to queue up for doughnuts by figuring out each person’s position, but after fifteen minutes I realised that line was actually two lines, doubling up on each other. Ah, so longer than I though. I lined up anyway (it too about twenty minutes or so; I had to endure the touristy family in front of me being all touristy, unlike me huh) and eventually got to choose my doughnuts. Despite all that time in line I still couldn’t quite make my mind up so just spent down what little cash I had left and carried away a big pink box to take back to Davis. As I got myself together outside a man passing beamed, “ooh did you get a dozen?” I was confused (stranger in street starting conversation, does not compute) and replied, “er, dunno, I just said words and they gave me a box of things,” which made a lot of sense I’m sure. I was tired. So I headed to the river, always a good place to start or finish a trip, and sketched a bridge.

P1130952I have been using a Seawhite of Brighton sketchbook I bought in London, it was cheap and the paper is smoother. But there has been something about it which is just not quite right, sure the watercolours don’t take the same way as with my watercolour Moleskines, but I don’t know, something’s been feeling a bit off. Anyway I brought with me a new sketchbook, a brand new landscape-size Alpha book from Stillman and Birn. I love the Alpha paper, but have been waiting for the right moment to start this one, so I used it to draw the Burnside Bridge (see below). It was a joy t use! Even though I didn’t add any paint to this one, it’s lovely paper to sketch on, though not smooth like the other book I was using it’s more to what I am used to.
burnside bridge, portland

And that’s it! Until the next time, Portland, until the next time.

shiver me timbers! the swashbuckler’s ball

2013 swashbucklers ball, portland Last weekend I put on a big hat and dressed up as a pirate, as you do. It was in Portland and I was going to the annual Swashbuckler’s Ball, a big party for pirates at the Melody Ballroom. And boy, were there some pirates! I was amazed at the incredible costumes, the level of dedication all the pirates went to was most impressive. My own costume (despite my amazing hat) was of the more subtle variety – but being a pirate is fun!

Of course, I sketched. I first sketched the Portland pirates last year at Dr. Sketchy’s. Also sketching was fellow pirate sketcher Kalina Wilson; her work is incredibly good. I personally was struggling a bit – drawing pirates who keep moving about is pretty tricky. I felt oddly self-conscious of sketching people armed to the teeth with swords and cutlasses (only joking), so I kept it quick, and here are my results. I did enjoy sketching the view from the back of the ballroom (see below), though I did the lettering and shading afterwards. In fact apart from the painted backgrounds, I didn’t get my paints out at all, just stuck to the penwork. 2013 swashbucklers ball, portland The music was great, (Chervona, Abney Park, and another band whose name I have forgotten but who appear in the sketch above) and got a lot of pirates dancing. Even I danced, which may surprise you. Whenever I was struggling to sketch, I would wander off and dance. Below is an attempt at sketching dancing pirates. 2013 swashbucklers ball, portland I did manage a couple of quick individual pirate sketches, to which I added my own observations on the type of pirates I thought they might be. Lots of pirates reminded me of other people – there was one guy who was the spit of Richard Attenborough, a very jolly face, while another reminded me a bit of Ivan Vanko in Iron Man 2 (I think Mickey Rourke would make a really good dastardly pirate). There were pirates of all ages and styles, and one or two Jack Sparrows. The pirate I drew in the green sketch below (who is probably a lovely gentle pirate) actually reminded me of the sort of villainous pirate you’d get in old BBC kids shows from the 80s. I really wish I had had the courage to ask a pirate to pose for a sketch, just for a couple of minutes, but I am a lily-livered land-lubber, so that didn’t happen. 2013 swashbucklers ball, portland 2013 swashbucklers ball, portland I stayed until all the music was done, and then walked home, dressed as a pirate, back to my hotel. I certainly enjoyed being a pirate for an evening, and will surely do this again (but next time I’ll sketch on an old yellowing rolled-up maritime map, yarrr). I’ll build up my swashbuckling look. And my pirate lingo too, say “be” instead of “am”, learn all the insults, get a parrot etc.

Incidentally…you can order a print (or even a mug) of my Swashbuckler’s Ball sketch from the Society6 website at http://society6.com/PeteScully/Swashbucklers-Ball-Portland-2013_Print.

To find out more about the Swashbuckler’s Ball (and hey, see you there next time!), visit their website at: http://www.swashbucklersball.com/ YARRRR!!!!

lunch with the portlands

PDX urban sketchers
Last Saturday in Portland the PDX Urban Sketchers met for their regular sketchcrawl, this time down in Goose Hollow. I was having a nice lie-in, so I joined them for lunch at the Goose Hollow Inn where they shared their beautiful sketchbooks. They are an inspirational bunch, the Portland sketchers, many of whom I have met before on numerous occasions. I sketched (see above: Vicky, Kalina and Andrea) and had some nice warm soup, and I got my new pirate hat. Yes, you heard that right, a new pirate hat – I was in Portland to be a pirate and go to the Swashbuckler’s Ball you see, and say “be” instead of “am” occasionally. Kalina was kind enough to order it from DressLikeAPirate.com (yarrr!), and it’s a most excellent hat – there’s even a picture of me wearing it on the USk Portland website! Yarr indeed me old landlubbers.
A Roadside Attraction

That evening, I dressed like a pirate (yarr) and walked through Portland before finding the eclectic sketcher’s dream of a place called A Roadside Attraction, where I met up with fellow pirate sketcher Kalina for some pre-Swashbuckler’s Ball sketching. To be honest though, there was almost too much to sketch! I did what I could, but this was a place that needs several days to sketch in any justice. And so, on to meet the pirates! To be continued…

ghosts and bars of portland

old town pizza
Regular listeners may be aware that occasionally I like to sketch bars, preferably ones with character, warmth, interesting people and of course nice beer. You’re always going to get that in Portland, so I was keen to check a few more names off of my list. Last year I visited Old Town Pizza with the PDX urban sketchers and noticed the lovely old bar area, but didn’t sketch it that time. While the rain tumbled down, I wandered the streets of the old town, stopping by Floating World Comics, before resting my tired legs with a pint of Old Town’s “Freshtoberbrau”. Old Town Pizza/Brewing is in an old hotel building which is apparently haunted, though you would never know because it’s not like all the publicity for this place goes on and on about it. The ghost is called Nina (pronounced like Nine-ah) and wears perfume and rides a bike and reads vegan zines, well maybe not the last two. I do like this place though, despite the Rentaghost theme tune playing in my head, and the beer was very pleasant. I especially enjoyed the Volkswheat, which I pronounced “Folksveet”. A guy at the bar kept coming in and out, and while you can’t tell here, he really looked like Tyres out of Spaced. Warmed up and rested, I went back to the hotel.
Bailey's Tap Room

In the evening I went out for a nice meal with some of the local artists I know (Hi Linda, Ron, Deb and Angelika!) at Bridgeport, where I had eaten back in 2010, a really nice brewpub. Unfortunately I arrived half an hour late, due to an immense amount of traffic on the way. I could have walked, or taken the MAX and walked, but I opted for the streetcar as I thought it would be quicker. Big mistake! I had given myself plenty of time, but it took forever to arrive, then crawled sloooowly up Broadway and finally across the river. It took me over an hour to get to the Pearl District from the Lloyd Center; hopping backwards with my eyes closed the whole way would have been quicker. I’m not used to these ‘city’ aspects of getting around any more! But in the end it was a lovely evening with lovely people, though I didn’t sketch there this time.

Afterwards, I went off to sketch another bar that was on my list. Bailey’s Tap Room is downtown, and lots of people recommended it last year. While it’s not an obvious sketch subject, no old dark wood and warm fireplaces, it was a nice place to sketch for a few late-night hours, sampling amazing beers from Montana, Utah, and elsewhere, talking to locals and visitors, reciting the text of Jabberwocky, and shunning frumious bandersnatches (except for that last part). It reminded me a little of the University of Beer in Davis, and the barstaff were friendly and really knew their stuff. A fun Portland night! This time, I did walk back to the hotel, crossing the Steel Bridge at night, it wasn’t very far. And I had a nice, well-earned lie-in the next day. Lubbly-jubbly!

portland rain again

Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
This past weekend I went on a brief jaunt to Portland, Oregon, on a mission for food, beer, comics, bookshops (well, one big bookshop), rain, great people, sketching and pirates (mostly for the pirates). I like Portland. I wanted to go somewhere to just take it easy, and Portland is that place. I didn’t even mind not doing too much sketching – if I did it, good, but if not, well that’s ok too, I just enjoy being somewhere like Portland. Of course I always do more sketching than I realise, but I’m glad I finally got to sketch the building above, the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, that is, the big theatre downtown with that classic Portland sign. Built in 1928 It was raining, and so I stood across the street under some convenient cover and sketched away. Rain is nice. We have some here in Davis now but we’re just trying it out for a while; in Portland the rain is a character in its own right. I loved the Portland rain last time and walked about in it whenever I could. This time the rain was light and sprinkly, so I didn’t really get wet at all. Shortly before then, I was passing through Pioneer Square when who should be there but Santa Claus! He was there to welcome the brand new Christmas Tree, which arrived at the square on a big truck right after I got there; I had to do a very quick sketch, of course. You’ll notice there are two trucks – one carried the tree, and the other carried the additional branches. I watched them lift the tree, and then they spent a good deal of time attaching the other branches, I guess they drill holes into the main trunk and insert the branches to make it bushier. Well whaddayaknow!
Pioneer Sq, Portland

I have plenty more PDX sketches, including ones of the pirates from the Swashbuckler’s Ball, so stayed tuned Portland fans. The finishing off and scanning is still happening…

to heaven in a food cart

PDX foodcarts
Food glorious food. Ok, this is the last of the Portland sketches that you are getting. That was one productive little trip. One thing I must point out is that I hardly ever ate indoors. Despite the rain, I only wanted to eat from the many delicious food carts that dot the city so liberally. Now along with the rule about going to Portland and sketching bridges, it’s also true that no visit to PDX is complete without sketching food carts. The first evening i was there I headed to the large collectio of carts downtown over at SW Alder. Most were closed, it being dark and damp, but I got an absolutely amazing red curry dish from a popular looking place called “I Like Thai Food” (and I do like Thai food, for sure). It was a pretty massive box of yummy food, and only cost $5. I sat on a bench near Powell’s to eat it, savouring every massive spicy bite. I cam back a few days later, on a sunny autumnal Monday, and sketched it alongside a few other carts, before getting another $5 red curry from a different cart around the corner (called Grandma’s Thai or something), just to compare. That too was delicious, but I think ‘I Like Thai food’ was a fair bit better. There were so many carts to choose from, though, such as the Flying Scotsman (fish and chips, yes, but also deep-fried Mars bars – I was too full to indulge, but next time, next time…).

PDX Potato Champion
On the Sunday I was exploring Hawthorne in the rain, food carts were a constant topographical feature. There is a small gaggle of them located around 12th and Hawthorne, including Potato Champion, who specialize in sauce-drowned Belgian frites (always a winner with the Scully tastebuds), and I got a decent poutine, and sketched as best as I could (there was shelter from the rain, but that morning’s mild hangover was still being nursed). I do think that if we lived in Portland, we would very likely eat from food carts about 75% of the time we ate anything, so abundant and varied are they. I am sure many of them are not very good, too, in fact I had one wrap type thing at a cart in the Saturday Market that was very unimpressive, to the point I cannot remember anything about it or even what style of food it was (it must have had some memory-wiping drug in it or something), but on the whole the Portland food cart experience was extremely promising. I know many urban sketchers like to go inside and warm up to eat and linger around a table, but for me food carts are the ultimate urban sketcher’s friend, because you get to stay outside, eat and just carry on drawing.
Food Cart sketching in Portland

If you want to know more about the food carts in Portland, this is a good website: http://www.foodcartsportland.com/.

yo-ho-ho!

PDXYAR Dr Sketchy's
Yarrr! Or is it Arrr? I never did learn to speak Pirate. I did get a big dose of Pirate while in Portland though, and what fun it was. On the Sunday evening I attended ‘Dr.Sketchy’s Anti-Art School‘, the Portland branch of the national Dr.Sketchy’s thing that is popping up all over the country. I had never been to a figure drawing meet before, and this one was a lot of fun, featuring Portland’s ‘premier pirate group’, PDXYAR. It was so much fun! The pirates really were very elaborately dressed (and just as elaborately undressed) and stood in a variety of poses lasting between two and twenty minutes each – not an easy task, but one they performed incredibly well.
PDXYAR Dr Sketchy's
PDXYAR Dr Sketchy's
As I say, I had a blast. It was so liberating to mess around with quick figure drawing, just focusing on the gestures as much as possible. The pirates had so much personality, and a decent array of weaponry.
PDXYAR Dr Sketchy's
PDXYAR Dr Sketchy's
I tried a few sketches on the pad of grey paper I had picked up at Muse art shop on Hawthorne. It was different; I think it might be more effective for pastel work, but I’m having fun with it.
PDXYAR Dr Sketchy's
PDXYAR Dr Sketchy's
PDXYAR Dr Sketchy's
And I even won a prize! A PDXYAR beerglass (with a beer in it) and rum shot glass. I shall treasure them. I guess I’ll have to get me some rum. I chatted to some of the pirates afterwards, a great bunch of lads and lasses (one was even from north Davis!), and I became convinced I wanted to be a pirate too. I went home to the hotel with my head lost in thoughts of sailing the seven seas, parrots on my shoulder, avasting ye landlubbers, cutlasses swashing buckles and so on. I do have a pirate-like name, Captain Scully, yar. Well ok, maybe I won’t make it as a pirate, but next time I’m in Portland I’ll certainly try to sketch them again, I dare say with a bottle of rum. Yar!!!
PDXYAR beer glass

You can check out PDXYAR at http://pdxyar.org. Yar! If you’re in Portland, try to catch them at the Swashbuckler’s Ball on November 17. Yar! You can see other drawings done by my fellow sketchers that night at the Dr.Sketchy’s/PDXYAR Facebook event page.