Oaks Park, Amused at this Painting Thursday

September 4, 2016 by


Last Thursday, my painting buddy and I went to Oaks Park to paint.

Oaks Park is an historic Portland treasure, an old-fashioned amusement park, part of the Portland scene since 1904, when the Oregon Water Power and Navigation company built it along a street car line.

The Park has no entrance or parking fees, and you can set up your materials and wander all around without spending a penny. It’s kind of magical.

The Park has made some landscape changes but it’s still along the river — this was the scene behind us as we painted.


On the other side of the our painting setup was the little train that circles the park:


(That’s painting buddy Susan, way down the way, sussing out the best view. And my painting cart sits to the left, parked, waiting patiently for me to stop being wowed by the amusements.)

Oak Park has all the requisite things:

A ferris wheel:



A roller coaster (with squealing 13-year olds)OakRollercoaster


A Screaming EagleoakScreamingEagle


And running childrenoaksRunningChild

The park has had only five owners: the Oregon Water Power and Navigation Company, John Cordray who bought it  in 1924 when OWPN had to disinvest; Edward Bollinger, a park electrician who purchased it from Mrs. Cordray; Edward’s son, Robert Bollinger, and the Oaks Park Association, a non-profit created by Robert Bollinger in 1984 which received nearly all his assets. The non-profit maintains and operates the Park now.

It’s a sweet little lively space.











In addition to the rides, there’s a Dance Pavilion, where dances and celebrations are held.


And there’s the famous roller skating rink, at the end of The Avenue, open all year round, and famed for its slick and fast floor.


It’s a great place to take photos.


There’s a little historic train, parked, for the children to check out, as well as the red one that toots its way around the park.


The Park picked up gazebos from the Lewis and Clark Exposition of 1904, after it was dismantled. And they added lots of covered tables in the groves of trees for picnickers and groups. The whole Park is incorporated in and around giant oak trees — an aptly named place. The trees give it a kind of innocent air.




Oh yeah, I did a little painting. Mostly, though, I drank in the day’s sensations, listening to the music and the rattle of the roller coaster, the screams of the girls as it swooped, the jingle of the carousel, the tootle of the train, and the cries of crows, watching us as we watched the action.


This will be my last post for a couple of weeks. I’m going for two weeks to eastern Oregon (near Monument, on the North Fork of the John Day river) for a painting retreat. No magical city views there, just a lot of farm animals and some glorious scenery. I think I might get more painting done.

Rhodie Garden

August 31, 2016 by




Every city has them — the small hidden gardens that only the locals know of, sources of delight for dogs and children and even jaded adults.

Portland’s Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden is one such place. The end of August isn’t as exuberant as the middle of May, but when it’s a hot summer day, the greens are cool, the water delicious to see and hear, and the birds, fowl, dogs, and people are thoroughly happy.

Recently I’ve been painting with a friend at the Garden. The first time we sat at the waterfall and I did a lot of photographing.




After a while, an old guy came along with his lab, a cheerful friendly dog who trotted past me and found a specific pool of cool water to drink from:




The dog’s person explained to me that this as the sole pool the dog would drink from. The Garden, and accompanying green spaces (Reed College and the Eastmoreland Golf Course surround it) is served by many springs which flow together to make Crystal Springs Creek, flowing into Johnson Creek. Crystal Springs Creek is probably the most pristine stream in the city. Its cold water creates ideal conditions for native salmonid species (Coho, Chinook, and Steelhead).  And in fact, a bit further away, in the Garden’s pond, I saw a big fish jump. (For more information about Crystal Springs Creek, go Here).


On a branch  near where I was sitting to paint, this guy appeared.


I waited, camera in hand, for this green heron to flap its wings and floop, floop into the air, but she seemed to be taking her afternoon rest, grooming herself occasionally, and ignoring the duck who lingered near her.


I was forced to return to my painting and to contemplating the delights of a cool green patch on a hot August day.


jou, Aug. 31, 2016

Shore Acres State Park

August 23, 2016 by

shore acres tree blogThis grove of trees is adjacent to the English garden at Shore Acres State Park, along the Oregon coast south of Coos Bay. The visitor center is to the right.

Our Fair City: Vernacular 1

August 17, 2016 by

I am, as some of you know, fond of city eccentricities. Some of these are quite peculiar (think of my paintings of Plant 5 in the SE Light Industrial District) and some are just, well, down home SE Portland. To the dismay of many, I’m not much into grand houses, grand buildings, gorgeous historical features, or even bucolic scenes in the midst of city life.

So, here’s one neighborhood, neither Grand nor Bucolic, where I was hanging out the other day:


Looks sort of bucolic, but then… the Thrift Shop, the scabby fireplug, the mysterious artifacts here and there, the bus stop…



Look at those bay windows. I love those bay windows, even as they are part of a sorry-looking building with sorry-looking retail (or non-retail) and sorry-looking wires and sorry-looking graffiti. I still love bay windows. Or maybe, I love them even more.


And here’s the goose building. I’m not sure but I think the geese displaced a locally renowned greasy restaurant. Read the rest of this entry »

Buena Vista Ferry

August 12, 2016 by

buena vista ferry.blogThe Buena Vista Ferry, near Independence, Oregon, is one of three ferries that cross the Willamette River. The others are at Canby and Wheatland. The Buena Vista Ferry, which can carry six cars at a time, is used by commuters as well as tourists like us. It operates from 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. every day all year round between Polk County, on the near shore, and Marion County.