There are times when the lure of the great Oregon outdoors is challenged by cold, bone chilling conditions that may give you pause to consider your options.
On a day when winter’s bite seems to have arrived a bit early, consider ducking into a place that will take your breath away in a different fashion.
I’ve discovered there is outdoor adventure that can be measured by a monumental work of art that will capture your heart for its size, scale and beauty at the Portland Art Museum.
It is easy to believe that Oregon’s outdoors is never twice the same
It really is true!
The landscapes shift, beguile and lure you with power, grandeur and beauty.
Once you’ve tasted this place, you are left restless and hungry for more.
You simply cannot get Oregon out of your mind!
That is a treasured truth tested by artists who have tried for a long, long time, according the Brian Ferriso, Executive Director of the Portland Art Museum.
“If you’re an Oregonian, you absolutely embrace the landscape that you live So the art that we have reflects that interest, that passion and admiration all at once.”
The Portland Art Museum can teach you much about the grand love affair that great artists have had with our region.
Ferriso noted that some iconic paintings – like “Mt Hood,” by 19th century artist Albert Bierstadt …”put Oregon on the map” with an international art community through an idealized vision of the great west just four years after the end of the Civil War.
“It's what we call the ‘romantic view,’ added Ferriso. “To bring that romantic view back to their east coast cities and homes was something very special. Europe had all the great cathedrals, the Greek and Roman ruins, but America had its great monuments in the landscape. A very special experience that is Inspirational as well as educational.”
Inspiration is easy to come by when you stand before the latest masterpiece to grace the gallery: a monumental work called “Shoshone Falls of the Snake River” – it is awesome in size and scale at 6-feet tall and 12-feet wide.
“The significance of these panoramic paintings,” noted Ferriso, "is that at 10- feet, 12-feet, 13-feet wide, they became theatrical in their approach. There weren’t movie theatres in those days so this became the theatrical spectacle of the age; ‘come see the great western painting by Thomas Moran.”
Thomas Moran’s “Shoshone Falls of the Snake River” is a grand painting that takes your breath away, especially when you consider it is the real untamed wild west of 1900 and that it is about western ruggedness, outdoor boldness and scenic grandeur.
The painting demands that you slow down and savor a moment in solitude so that you may explore the painting's colors and its forms, much as you would any great outdoor experience.
The massive painting is not alone – Moran’s watercolor sketches and drawings and even a panoramic photo from the day, accompany the exhibit.
When taken altogether, it is a marvelous experience and worth your time for a visit.
So, escape the great outdoors for a time so that you might take a journey back in time and explore Oregon - past and present - at the Portland Art Museum.