astoria in gouache

from october thru december 2019, i completed a special project to share with family & friends living outside of astoria.

when i first moved here, i would walk the hills daily, discovering peculiar places and viewpoints which i would usually take pictures of. but my phone camera seemed to fall short of capturing the allure i felt. then i got the idea to draw and paint my favorite hometown spots.

i started with a funky pen drawing of the view out my window facing 14th street. the window was open, the day unusually warm for early fall, and the breeze streamed in. a week or so later i drew the power lines standing opposite of the front porch. then came the irving street bridge, the clatsop community college library, and so on. i drew most scenes on-location, since the drawings typically turned out better than when based on a photo.

after the drawings came paint. this was my first real run with gouache, a more opaque watercolor paint, a preferred medium of one of my favorite artists, egon schiele. with his book by my side, i worked.

the scenes are and aren’t what they seem. all that i see and think has been so immensely influenced by my past experiences, and those experiences all encompassed scenes and color schemes and spatial arrangements that struck a chord within me. these i’ve carried with me into the oregon coast, and in return, the coast has offered me more inspiration to work with. so a simple residential street is no simple residential street — it may remind me of a mood I felt as a kid at the swimming pool, the dusk closing in outside as i floated under florescent lighting, or of the sky gradients as the sun dropped below the new york city skyline, or the summer warm yellows out the car window.

who knows, i certainly didn’t plan every detail, just let the pen and brush fly.

moving to astoria has brought me to a state of peace, and i’ve found myself grateful for all of the people in my life, whether they reside here or far from the seagull’s calls. this is my astoria, my pieces of it, shared with you.

columbia alight

kitchen lilies
sidewalk feet
spirit in the sky
down 14th
irving balcony
cars hiss by my window
black cat on the path
what happens next
the sandlot
our lombard
south of the jetty