a visit to portland (but not the one you're thinking of)

The BD and I aren't very good trip planners I confess. It's not that we miss flights or can't find places to stay; we're quite good at that part. What I mean is, we are not very good at planning out all the things we hope to experience and see when we are traveling. We're more like the let's-go-and-see-what-happens kind of travelers. Since we have to adhere to more of a schedule in normal working life, why the hell do we want to continue that when we're out exploring a new place?

Thus, when we were in England last fall and visiting Weymouth-by-the-sea, we decided to take the bus to the Isle of Portland and see what that was like. Plus, we thought it would funny to say 'hey, we finally made it to Portland!' only to then explain we didn't mean the hipster mecca in Oregon. Well, we thought it was funny.

What it actually was, was fucking breathtaking. The bus ride to the isle was quite lovely. We drove along a causeway with the backside of Weymouth on our left and the glittering Atlantic lapping onto Chesil Beach on our right. Then the road meandered up and through the town, and I do mean up. It seemed as though most of the road that went through the town was angled at around 45 degrees! We were told by a polite local man who overheard us wondering aloud where we should get off to get to the lighthouse, to get off in one of the small residential subdivisions at the top of the island and from there we could walk along the road past some of the open quarries to Portland Bill, the lighthouse. Several weather systems had passed over us throughout the day. It would be sunny and lightly breezy for a few hours, and then dark and raining sideways for a few minutes, and then back to sunny and lightly breezy for a few hours. It was all glorious sun on the bus ride there and for the first half hour of our walk from the town along a bit of the coastline. We followed a path between two fenced fields to one of the quarries. Then the weather turned so we put away our cameras and drawing things, donned the rain gear and continued on the path to the lighthouse. The weather got darker and wetter and windier and seemed like it was determined to stay so. We came across a smattering of small holiday cabins which were all closed up for the season, but the wind was such that even standing close to the wall of one of the cabins kept the rain and wind off. As quickly as the weather system came, it left, leaving clear skies and a warmer wind to dry our wet pants, which it did rather quickly. When we sat down to have tea by the lighthouse we were dry.


Our day in Portland is exactly what we hoped it would be; a day spent on a rugged coast being tussled by the salty wind. I only got part way through one drawing on that day, as it was too windy for drawing. I got thinking about the sea quite a bit the past few weeks, probably because we'll be flying over one next week, so I scrolled through the photos on my phone from our time in Portland until I came across these and painted this piece from one of the photos I took.

the view from portland bill, isle of portland, U.K., mixed media on canvas, 24x24(in), $1010 + GST,  2018

the view from portland bill, isle of portland, U.K., mixed media on canvas, 24x24(in), $1010 + GST, 2018

The color of the water there was really surprising. After the storm passed it went from a steely-blue to this lovely, deep teal color. I love watching the water crash onto the rock below and seeing it swell and heave like something breathing. It kind of reminds me of the hills around Vermilion when the crops have gained a few inches and the wind ripples through them; it's a very similar motion when you think about it. It has a similar sound too, albeit the ocean can be much louder. I can almost feel the rhythm of the Atlantic that day when I look at this painting. That was a very good day.