Senior portraits- Class of 2017

My incredible child just finished his last year of high school. Avid photographer that he is, he took some senior portraits for a couple of friends that turned out really well.  For example, here’s Colin:

The top left is my favorite; Colin chose the bottom right one for the yearbook. Photos by Quinland; lack of high-quality resolution by me.

And here is Quinland himself: Continue reading “Senior portraits- Class of 2017”

The artist in residence, updated

A couple of months ago, I posted a photo of Quinland with this title and promised I’d come back to tell the story.

Once upon a time on a deep dark Sunday night, as I was reading the daily emailed school bulletin, I came across this little nugget:

Wilson Students’ Artwork on Exhibit

Three Wilson art students have artwork in the Heart of Portland exhibition at the Portland Art Museum, a showcase celebrating the visual and performing arts produced by PPS K-12 students. Congratulations to Quinland (Photography), Gina (Ceramics), and Emma (Drawing). The opening reception is Monday, April 4 from 6:30-8:30 pm. All PPS families and teachers are invited to attend the reception, which is free. The show runs April 4-16.

Monday, April 4th? Why, that was the very next day! I asked David if he knew anything about this; he did not. Q was already asleep, so I couldn’t ask him until the following morning. He was blasé about the whole thing:  Yes, he had a piece at the Portland Art Museum. No, he didn’t submit it; every art teacher in the district could choose one piece of art for the exhibit, and Mr. Carlson chose his landscape photo book. Yes, he was thinking of going to the reception that night; could I give him a ride?

GIVE HIM A RIDE?! OF COURSE! I’M GOING, TOO! I WOULDN’T MISS IT! THIS IS SO EXCITING! ARE YOU SUPPOSED TO DRESS UP? IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE I SHOULD KNOW?  IT SURE IS A GOOD THING I READ THE BULLETIN!  AAAAAAHHHH!

(I suppose I shouldn’t really wonder why he felt no urgent need to tell me about it in advance.)

Here’s the story of the piece: All the students in Advanced Photography were assigned to a) make a book with b) text and c) photos, using knowledge they had gained in class. That was it; the kids could define that any way they wished. Quinland made an accordion book of six black-and-white landscape photographs which he printed and then – I am sure I am going to describe this badly, but bear with me – he covered the images with gum arabic and inked over them with a brayer. The gum arabic makes the light parts resist most of the ink, while the dark portions of the photo get darker. I think. That’s the general idea, anyway. It made each photo look antiqued.

img_6357

So here he is, in front of the glass case bearing his accordion book. Most artwork was hung, but since Q’s was very long (this shows only half the length) and two-sided (there were three panorama photos on each side), it got to be in a case, which I thought was cooler anyway. Q’s text was the longitude and latitude of the place each photo was taken: Wilson High School, the Hawthorne Bridge in Downtown Portland, the Columbia River Gorge, the Grand Canal in Venice, and (dagnabit, I’m going to have to look up the exact details of the other two European locations when I get home, but I will edit this as soon as I do). Mr. Carlson was proud. Q was quietly proud. I was demonstrably proud.

David, sadly, could not be at the reception, as it was the very night that he and the kids from the India program were doing a presentation about the trip to the kids’ families and the school community. He was represented in spirit by the Free Tibet sweatshirt he brought Q from McLeod Ganj, the city in northern India that is home to the Tibetan government-in-exile. (This shirt is not to be confused with our friend Jon’s shirt, which reads, “Free Tibet with the purchase of another Tibet.”)

One more special treat about that night: Q’s friend (and my former Girl Scout) Emma was the one chosen for the Studio Art piece, so my friend Jennifer and I got to be excited Art Moms together! (We also went to Pastini’s afterward and ate my all-time-favorite Lemon Pudding Cake, so it was pretty much the best time ever.)

plan #20 – contemplate where I’m from

I consider myself a Portlander. I moved here 32 years ago and I’ve lived here for all but three of those years. I’ve had an affinity for this city since my dad moved here when I was 12 and we began to spend summers here. See, that’s how Portland sucks you in: you come during the wonderful, beautiful, warm summer months and decide to live here… but then you get to live here through the grey months, too. Luckily for me, I don’t mind the rain. I’ve seen what it’s like to live somewhere that does not have consistent moisture, and it’s not pretty.

My “hometown” is Huntington Beach, California. I was not technically born there, but I was brought from the hospital to a home in HB, so I think that counts. I lived there for twelve of my first 17 years:

  • HB from birth through preschool (at 4 different addresses);
  • moved away for kindergarten through 2nd grade (2 different addresses);
  • HB for 3rd grade (1 different address),
  • moved away for 4th and 5th (2 different addresses),
  • back to HB for 6th through high school graduation (2 different addresses).

Yeah, I’ve been around the block (and I’ve lived on most blocks, too). I also abbreviate Huntington Beach fairly often, a habit I picked up from years of frustration over scantron forms that never have enough boxes or bubbles to fill in a long city name or forms that say “City: _____________” where the lines are far too short to fit anything beyond eight letters. (Hmm… and what other city is eight letters long?! Coincidence?)

It’s blasphemous in many circles to say so, but I don ‘t find much of Huntington Beach very attractive. Yes, the old downtown area is surfer-cool and has tons of charm, but North Huntington Beach, where I lived, was largely a land of housing tracts enclosed by concrete-block walls with a school and park in the center of each one, the houses themselves a series of  cookie-cutter ranch models with a tree planted in the parking strip out front. At every other major intersection or so was a shopping center and/or gas station; the differences were fairly few. Was the market a Vons, Alpha Beta, or Lucky? Was the drugstore Sav-on’s, Thrifty, or an independent? Was the gas station Shell or Texaco or 76?

Believe me, it was not a bad place to grow up. It was flat, so we could ride bikes everywhere; there were plenty of amenities;  the schools were good; and our parish, St. Bonaventure, had an amazing carnival. What more could a kid want? It was just bland, or worse. There was a “moat” (a flood control channel) around my high school, a Naval Weapons Station at the end of my street, a large industrial park just around the corner. But I had good friends and good times and it was all I knew.

Of course, the proximity to the beach elevated its cachet immensely. I mean, this is Surf City we are talking about. Miles of gorgeous shoreline (only some of which is across from extensive oil fields); great surfing; warm, sunny days. I absolutely love the beach and I am sure I always will. It gets into your blood, and a windy stroll on a cold Oregon coast just doesn’t cut it, beautiful as it may be.

Lifeguard Tower 10

I spent hours and hours on the beach, rotating my towel to get a better tan, listening to the radio with friends, body surfing (I was not a surfer, though a few girls surfed), taking romantic walks on the sand with boys or hauling kids we babysat in and out of the water. It was a short bus ride to Bolsa Chica, or a transfer and a longer ride down to the pier. (Either way, you’d get off the bus at a Jack in the Box, strangely.) It was fantastic.

But still.  Still, this town that I spent the first third of my life in never got the grip on my heart that Portland did. I came up here and I knew. This was my city. That other place, the place I grew up, is an interesting place to visit, to drive around and see what’s changed. But I don’t love it. I don’t miss it. I don’t wish I were there.

(Okay, okay. Sometimes I wish I were just a short drive from the beach. That will probably never change.)