I recently spent time in Portland, Oregon.  My reason for going was to present research at the American Geriatrics Society annual meeting that was held at the Convention Center.  While there, I was able to get out and explore the downtown area, and also do some sketching with my trusty watercolor set and Pilot Falcon fountain pen.  The mix of grit and gentrification offered a bonanza of sketching opportunities.  The first morning I wandered out and had breakfast at the Byways Café, that is sketched above. I tried to capture the morning light streaming in through the far window.

Its pretty easy to explore the downtown area as things are all close together.  One of the best things about downtown Portland was the food trucks.  There are several blocks that are filled with food trucks that offer street cuisine from literally all over the world.  After a lunch of hummus I sat and sketched the Bratwurst truck above.  I tried to catch the shadows of the trees that spread across the whiteness of the truck.

From my hotel room I could see the flashing lights of one of downtown Portland’s oldest and most “exotic” establishments: Mary’s Club.  In Manhattan you might find something more upscale, and called a “gentleman’s bar.”  But here, make no bones about it, this was a strip-club.  I sat outside and sketched the façade after asking permission from the very imposing bouncer.  He loved the sketch, and wanted to buy it.  Unfortunately my work is all “NFS,” or not for sale.  He did however take a foto with his cellphone.

On the way back I was able to sketch this guitar player in the airport.  His image and style were very retro and brought back memories of my younger days hitch-hiking across the USA.  I sketched him but very sorry that I forgot to get his name.  Listening to his guitar-picking was a great way to reflect on a successful trip.

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