2.06.2010

Day 1 in Portland: Touring, photography and a reunion with my high school art teacher

(At Powell's City of Books in Portland.....this is a map of the bookstore!)

I arrived in Portland Friday afternoon. I am here as a honored guest presenter for the 4th Annual Youth Summit headed by Imani Muhammad. The one day summit starts at 12:30PM today so I had an opportunity to tour the city on yesterday.

Before I tell you a little about the tour, let me make you laugh. In route to the Continental airport in Houston, I encountered some serious traffic. So despite leaving extra early to catch my 8:50am flight, I was now cutting it close.

Here is the funny moment. Because I was about to change time zones, I consumed a little too much water that morning so I needed to use the restroom. When I finally arrived inside the airport it was 8:30am. I knew I was too late. But instead of going straight to bag check, I made the "critical" decision of not getting on a plane with my pants wet. (smile)...LOL

So after running down the escalator and running back up, I got to the bag check counter at 8:40am. The bag assistant grinned and said "You're too late". I definitely wasn't surprised. So I asked when was the next flight and I was told it was 6:00pm....wow I thought.

Then minutes later she told "You're in luck, the flight is thirty minutes behind so you can get on". I made it!

As the plane got closer to Portland, I captured this shot of Mount Hood.

When I landed, I was greeted at the airport by someone I have not seen in 13 years. It is my art teacher from Forest Brook Senior High School in Houston. We called her Ms. R in school because she did not like her last name nor did we even know what it was. Yes, she is White and taught at an inner-city school for the four years I was there. She's tough, don't be fooled. She taught me the fundamentals of drawing, painting, and the depth of art history whether it was the Harlem Renaissance or the Middle Ages. She eat, sleeps and drink art. She is a professor at the Art Institute of Portland.

And for those that did not know, yes I am artist. I have not been as consistent in doing it the past several years but Ms. R is "fussing" at me about picking my pencil and brush back up. She kindly became my tour guide for the day. We rode the train, walked for miles and I got a lot of photos. We visited the huge Powell's City of Books, the rivers, and more.

Weather is perfect. Check out a few shots below.

Ok, I have to get ready for my workshop. Will blog more later today! You can also follow my updates on Twitter @BrotherJesse