An early morning walk brought me to the Jantzen Beach Harbor on Hayden Island, Portland. As I stepped to the edge of small cliff, below me were these colorful houseboats and boats spotlighted by the morning sun – I learned an unusual sight in Portland. I returned the next morning with my paint bag to see if I could capture the view – and even though it was a typically cloudy day the reflections where still grand.
As frequently happens when I’m painting in a neighborhood, some of the residents stopped by to see what I was doing. I’ve developed what I call “defensive questioning” where if I throw out some questions first, I usually don’t have to answer the questions/comments all plein air artists get (“What are you painting? That’s a unique paintbox. My mother/aunt/uncle used to paint. How long will it take to paint that? Do you sell your work?). One resident told me how much fun she gets out of watching the geese and ducks that swim around her house and shared some of her observations. She and her sister have lived on houseboats next door to each other for over 20 years.Susie and her dog came by and I learned that she had spent the morning helping a neighbor clean his house – she confided that she thought his cancer was no longer in remission. Two other residents came by and told me how the water level can change over 25 ft. and that the daily tides mean that the houses are always moving up and down on the rusty pier columns. Both men said that they would never live on land again – they love the lifestyle, especially having boats handy to take off for a ride. I wasn’t able to finish the field study – looks like I’ll have to use the RV “studio”.