Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Looking for paintings - Part 23

Loose Ends - Number 2: People along the way

The people I spent time with over the last three months are very special and helped make this a memorable journey. I thought of this entire trip as a vacation, but I was really looking for something - a job, an experience, a chance to visit some old friends, to revisit that part of my childhood that spent the summers of the 40s and 50s traveling throughout the eastern United States, to answer the call of the wild, the lure of the open road, to see if there was more to life than Los Angeles. The job I got at Laika Entertainment and the two months I spent there were terrific. I was blown away by the caliber of talent among the artists and technicians working there and got to know a whole bunch of people who made it a pleasure to go to work every morning. There were old friends from Los Angeles who had moved to a better life in Oregon and Washington, and one who was always smart enough to live in Seattle. As soon as I figure out how to add their links to my sidebar I shall do so.

Jack and Hae Jung Heiter. I don't think this trip would have worked out if it hadn't been for their kindness and hospitality. Jack and I worked together at Warner Bros. in 1995. Hae Jung is a great preparer of great food and plays a mean game of Dominoes.

Gerry and Angele Woolery. Gerry owns and operates Gerry's Kitchen restaurant in Freeland on Whidbey Island, Washington. Angele is a fine artist in every sense of the word. They both create good stuff. They opened their home to me and I had the opportunity to really explore Whidbey Island, share some great meals and enjoy some fine wine. It was tough to leave.

Jorgen Klubien and Brian Ormiston. Jorgen and I met at Disney's in 1986. Here he is going over some storyboard sketches for his animated feature Jack and Ben with storyboard artist Brian Ormiston. Both amazing talents.

Brian Ormiston. I'm lucky I shared a cubicle with this guy. I love his work and we talked about almost anything, from Kurtzman to Kurosawa, from conspiracy theories to books, from restaurants to the edge of the universe.

I have no idea who this woman is. I was having lunch one day about a week before Christmas at Elephant's Delicatessen in Portland when I saw her standing there, waiting for a place to sit and eat her lunch. She looked so nice, I had to take her picture. She fit right in with the festive ambiance of the delicatessen, which was done up nicely for Christmas.

That's me pitching my storyboard to Jorgen and some of the storyboard guys for a segment of the Jack and Ben feature that I'd just completed. They weren't laughing at my board - they were showing the security guard who to throw out.

Jorgen Klubien and Robert Lence after dinner at Jorgen's home in Portland. This reminded me of the available light scenes in Kubrick's Barry Lyndon, but without the period costumes.

Jorgen, me, Robert, admiring the work of Mary Blair. Either that or getting ready to fight over the last piece of cheese on the table.

Me and John Lustig, creator of Last Kiss, the online humor panel about to make its appearance as a Sunday Feature in The Seattle Times. Here's a link to John's site:


John making good use of the wreath hanging on the front door to his home in Seattle. Didn't I see this in the Sistine Chapel?

The Laika studio Christmas party. We all indulged in the great Danish Christmas drink, Glugg, but without the oomlats. That's Chris Kiser giving me the evil eye. He and his brother Tommy came here from DNA in Texas where they worked on Jimmy Neutron.

Tom Knott chatting with Brian Ormiston and Ovi Nedelcu. Here's Ovi's website:


Josh Look, who, we figured out, remembers me from when I was in the Apple store in Glendale, California where he worked before coming to Portland. Was it the way I walked, or was it the altercation I had with the security guard at the Apple store? Hey, isn't that the security guard next to him?

Vanessa and Robert giving me the eye.

Me, holding Jack and Hae Jung's genetically modified cross between a cat and a bear, commonly referred to as Pepper the Schnauzer. This is an amazingly entertaining little dog who spends a lot of his time on his hind legs demanding attention, and getting it. Hope he remembers me when I come back. It's December 26, 2006 and I head back to Los Angeles tomorrow to begin work at Disney's on January 8. I can't wait to come back here again, maybe for good. This whole region is wonderful and I think it'd be a perfect destination for plein air painters. By the way, I never got any paintings done. I was so busy driving around the next bend in the road, down some dead end side street, along some washboard farm road or timber road, exploring the scenery and taking pictures. The paintings may come in the near future and I think I found plenty of them. I just haven't put them on canvas yet. Stay tuned.

Next: I don't know...

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Looking for Paintings - Part 22

Loose Ends - Number 1

I have a lot of photos that don't fit into any particular time frame or category so I'm going to post them here, under Loose Ends. This first Loose End will be pictures taken from my balcony in Portland, looking toward Mt. Hood, over a period of two months, between October 25 and December 23, 2006. The seasons change dramatically in that timeframe, and the weather is always exciting, even when it's raining. So, from sunshine to clouds, to fog, to nighttime, from leafy trees to barren branches, from warm to cold, here's what I see from my balcony.

Next: Loose Ends - Number 2: People along the way

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Looking for Paintings - Part 21

Christmas comes to Portland

The air is cold and crisp. My face tingles from the chill wind. People zig-zag along the sidewalks, bundled in scarves, hats, and big, bulky coats, steam pouring out their mouths, packages dangling from their arms. There's an energy in their walk, a youthful spring in their step, an enthusiasm brought on by the twinkling glitter of storefront decorations, holiday lights and general good cheer. Store windows are also dressed for the holidays, adding a festive look to an otherwise colorless downtown area. Restaurants, pubs and bookstores invite you and your fellow shoppers in for a hot meal, a perfect Martini, or a comfortable book to curl up with when you get home. It's Christmastime and this is the way it's supposed to be.

The Pittock Mansion.
Henry Lewis Pittock was born in England in 1834 and came to Portland by wagon train in 1853.

At the age of 19 he began working for Thomas Jefferson Dryer's Weekly Oregonian newspaper.

A consummate businessman, Pittock gained ownership of the Weekly Oregonian in 1860, changing it to a daily newspaper. In 1860 he also married 15-year-old Georgiana Martin Burton and they spent the next 58 years together. He went on to build an empire incorporating real estate, banking, railroads, steamboats, steamships, sheep ranching, silver mining and the pulp and paper industry.

In 1909 he started planning and designing his mansion in the Northwest hills overlooking Portland. Completed in 1914, the mansion contained some very progressive features, including a central vacuum system, intercoms, and indirect lighting. He hired Oregon craftsmen and artisans, using Northwest materials, to build the home. Georgiana died in 1918 and Henry died in 1919.

In 1958 the estate was put on the market. A severe storm in 1962 caused extensive damage to the home and the threat of developers brought concerned citizens together to raise funds to restore the estate. Recognizing the important historical value of the home, the City of Portland purchased the 46-acre estate in 1964 for $225,000.

After 15 months of restoration, the mansion was opened to the public in 1965. Every year at Christmastime, the Pittock Mansion Society calls upon local designers and interior decorators to take one room of the mansion and decorate it for Christmas. I feel very fortunate to have been here at this time of year so I could experience first-hand what a fantastic home this is, and to enjoy the amazing decorations done especially for Christmas. I spent a lunch hour touring the estate and took 98 photographs. Here are the best of them.

Merry Christmas, everyone, from Portland, Oregon, December 23, 2006.