A visit to Portland today, about 30 miles from where I'm camping. Ocean View is so nice I decided to camp four nights here, use it as a base to go out and explore from.
The Portland Museum of Art has free admission on Fridays from 5 to 9 PM, sponsored by L.L. Bean. There were a few Robert Henri paintings I wanted to see so that was the impetus for my going.
Just after parking and walking toward the museum I came upon a demonstration to stop the genocide in Darfur. It was organized by a high school student at the New School in Portland. Her parents are from Darfur. This demonstration was part of a school project of hers. Had a good talk with George, the person with the yellow handouts in the first picture. He's involved with the Boothbay Peace and Justice Group and is doing work in the nearby prison on teaching non-violence. The police came to make sure we kept the sidewalk passable after they received a complaint. Some of the other people at the demonstration were from Darfur.
A few blocks away, just across from the Art Museum, I came across a street musician, Cranky the Clown School Dropout. I listened to a couple of songs and had a good conversation with him. He has a day job and does this for fun, along with playing in a more free-form jazz group. On the street, as cranky, he plays old jazz classics. One of the ones I listened to was a Slim Galliard tune, another an old waltz that I could swear I heard Django play somewhere in my backlog of memory. I asked if he needed a permit. "No, Portland's pretty cool that way." Cranky played really good too.
At the museum I found three Robert Henri paintings, one portrait and two small seascapes, "Rock and Sea" and "Marine - Break Over Sunken Rock, Storm Sea" both 1911 from Monhegan Island. I found it intriguing in a way that these two coast paintings were of rock and sea - the working title for the program I'll be presenting this fall about this journey - the photos, haiku, stories - is called "Granite Cliffs, Crashing Waves." A similar sensibility - though I'm sure it would be similar to thousands who have visited here.
Click on the third image from the left in the second row of paintings.
I couldn't find the other painting online, but I did come across another of his works along with some information about him at:
If you have not read "The Art Spirit" a collection of talks, letters, etc. of Henri, I suggest it is worth reading. I am not a painter, but on almost every page of the book there was something about creativity that resonated with me. He was a fine artist and a wonderful teacher.
Here's a rough draft poem I wrote at the museum while viewing these two paintings:
There is nothing else
permanence of both
give and take
there is nothing else
Good talk with a customer at the museum store who was buying a book on Maine Cottages from Mount Desert island. he lives in Boston area but Acadia is his favorite place. We exchanged info on places we like to hike there. Would like to make my reading in Southwest harbor on MDI, but won't be arriving till a few days later.
After the museum I walked for awhile through the Old Port area - a renovated harbor district region that has turned into a successful arts and entertainment district. Friday evening, a lot of people starting to arrive to shake off the work week. I didn't feel like hanging around. I longed for the quiet of the campground, the sound of the sea.
Old Port District
The campsite at Ocean View