So fellow travelers, it is said the first shall be last. Truth at least for the initial post I wrote while in Portland a few weeks ago. It required me to recognize the depth of change and emotion I had not processed over the past year before I could put words to virtual paper.
The main reason we went to Portland in 2014 was to see Favorite Oldest Daughter and Favored Son In Law, who had moved there earlier that year. From the moment I landed at PDX the city caught me off guard, drawing me in with it’s quirky charm, relaxed vibe and phenomenal food experiences (one does not eat meals in Portland, one has edible experiences, at least I do)
The patio at the Tin Shed, which after Portland’s food courts, is my favorite place to eat
When we returned the next year, I was fully prepared to find the charm was just first time visit magic. Again, the I was delightfully surprised. By the end of our second trip, my husband and I were set on the idea of relocating to the area when we retire a few years down the road. So this year, with both daughters now living in Portland it was the experiences I shared with my family that became my focus.
One Saturday while my husband went to the rock climbing gym with our older daughter Favorite Oldest Daughter rock climbing in Thailand
I went to a bird sketching workshop at the Portland Audubon Nature Center with our younger daughter. She found the class shortly after she moved to Portland and it sounded like a perfect fit for Team Loonatics. I hit several art store sales to stock up on the supplies we would need, making sure to hand carry the essentials in case our checked luggage wandered off to a random destination (it didn’t, but I know better than to take chances with anything I absolutely need to have when I arrive on a long trip.)
Jude Siegel, the artistleading the workshop, was a vivacious and skilled instructor. She lead our small, diverse group through several basic drawing exercises, designed to teach us to really see what we would be sketching. She worked on shapes, proportions, perspective and then moved onto color mixing. We worked with watercolors, a medium I have always found challenging yet her tips and demonstrations gave even novice artists the confidence to dive in and start creating.
During our lunch break, my daughter and I found a shady bench outside where we sat to eat and talk about her new plans for college. Last spring she transferred to Portland State University’s Honors Degree program after finding the curriculum at TUJ did not offer enough to hold her interest. It had been a tough for her to leave Japan. She still talks about how much she misses living there and had looked into other colleges in Tokyo hoping to find a course of study she was interested in. Listening to her perspective, I had to notice how much she had grown and matured in just one year.
We spent several more hours, working away at our new found skills.
At the end of the workshop each participant shared their work and Jude asked us to talk about what we had learned. Her one caveat was we not speak negatively of our artwork in anyway. Each person spoke honestly of the challenges and everyone’s experience of the process was slightly different. Yet we all came away with a feeling of success and everyone expressed a desire to continue working with what we had learned.
It was the time spent, learning something new, just two birders stretching our creative wings that I will treasure and remember every time I take out my little paint set and work on a new painting.