Bye, Sitka

I left the SItka Center today, after an incredible residency. I got more work done in the past 5 weeks than I have in the past year. And I feel like I’m onto something. I think this is good preparation for grad school. I got my painting eyes back during this residency, and I hope I can keep them through the summer. And find time to work this summer…

Judy, Carrie, and I had a goodbye breakfast at the Otis Cafe this morning. And then I hopped on the shuttle headed for Portland. It was an interesting ride. The driver entertained these 3 women who were on their way to the airport. I sat next to a guy who just got out of jail this morning and is on his way to drug rehab. I thought, “What a coincidence. I just left a ‘rehab’ of sorts.” He told me he was nervous, but he hoped it would work out. I said that maybe this rehab place would have a nice library.

We got to Portland earlier than expected, 11 am. I took a taxi to the hostel, because my bags are so heavy. It was only 5 bucks. The driver was nice. He moved here from Ethiopia. He thinks Portland is “ok.” He misses his family. They have not been able to get visas to come here.

I’m staying at the Northwest Portland Guesthouse. It’s really nice and so is the neighborhood. Lots of Victorian houses and cafes. I was too early to check into my room, so I dropped off my luggage and went for a walk.

First stop, the Portland Art Museum. There is a Mark Rothko retrospective right now. Seeing this show felt right. I enjoyed all of the work, but a few of his earlier paintings really stood out for me.

Subway Scene, 1930s
Women with Child and Mannequins, 1930s

I’m glad that the curator didn’t put a bunch of explanations all over the walls. There was a brief history of his life, but as far as the work, you just had to look and see for yourself.

After the museum, I grabbed a quick, cheap lunch and walked around.

Lots of interesting things to see. I appreciate the green spaces: little parks and trees planted everywhere. Lots of bicycle riding. I couldn’t have had better weather. 60 degrees and sunny.

I finally made my way to Voodoo Doughnuts! This place has been recommended by lots of people, east and west coast. (You have to look at the menu on the website. I just can’t do this place justice.) I struggled to make a decision on which special doughnut to get. I finally settled for this guy:

I liked the mustache. And the maple frosting and cream filling.

Then I stopped at two used bookstores. One tiny one and one big famous one: Powell’s. At the tiny one, I bought some more Annie Dillard. At Powell’s, I spent about an hour in  the art section. I got Richard Diebenkorn: Paintings and Drawings, Conversations with Alice Walker, and The Life of Irene Nemirovsky. Good summer reading.

And now I’m in my cozy room at the hostel contemplating dinner…Could go for another doughnut…


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