Saturday, June 22, 2013

Salem, Oregon

We have been staying in the Woodburn RV Park for the last week so that we could explore the Salem area.  The rv park is adjacent to one of the largest outlet malls in the state.  Other than Allan using the mall to walk the dogs, it has not been much of a temptation.  Instead we have been doing our usual kinds of side trips, finding
bookstores, cafes, art galleries or museums, and trying to find a spot to plein air which because of the inclement weather did not turn out to be fruitful.  One of the first places we went during a rainy day was to the Readers Guide Bookstore.  Google maps showed its location as a vacant lot and upon actually arriving at the location, all there seemed to be was an abandoned warehouse.  Allan went to peer through the window of the door and it turned out that there were people and books inside and they were happy to turn a bag of our books into a $75 credit for us, so we immediately foraged through their bookshelves and found plenty of books to use up our credit, plus some.  Another overcast day we went to the Hallie Ford Museum of Art and it was a very small museum,
mostly showing local artists of Oregon but there was one small room where there was a print by Hiroshige called the Iris Garden, completed in 1857.  We have a book on Hiroshige at home and it was nice to see one of his woodblock prints up close.  It was one of the 100 views of the Edo area of Japan and is interesting because it has only a foreground and a background, no middle ground.  Hiroshige was trying to produce a compromise between the traditional Japanese birds eye view and Western linear perspective.  The only European paintings that they had at the museum were 5 paintings by artists from the
Barbizon group.  Barbizon was a village suburb on the outskirts of Paris.  One of these artists was Camille Corot, a French artist, who enjoyed success in his time and like his fellow artists in the Barbizon group painted rural scenery.  Their practice of painting outdoors anticipated the later impressionist plein air painters.  Just recently I purchase a rare book on Corot, so I was delighted to see one of his paintings, this one called A Balmy Afternoon. 
Some of our other excursions involved going to the local Saturday Market in downtown Salem where there were about 150 vendors including hot food vendors.  We managed to find plenty of fresh produce and fruit, bakery items, and more.  We then had a artisanal pizza with artichoke hearts and feta cheese.  And we also took a trip up to Beaverton to visit the Powells Books in Cedar Crossing Shopping Center.  It never has the inventory of the main store in downtown Portland, but we managed to find a few things nevertheless and they took about a half bag of our books for credit.  One book that we did purchase from them was Edgar Payne's Scenic Journey which Kim Lordier brought with her to our workshop and we have been looking for a copy ever since. 
We also stopped at Uwajimaya Market to pick up a few hard to find Asian items and had no trouble finding Macha Green Tea, Soba Noodles from Australia, new chopsticks, Curry Sauce, Plum Chutney, and a beautiful Sake Bottle which will be used for a still life and not for drinking sake.  We finished off our visit at Pastini's where they offer 10 lunches for less than $7.00 and they are all good, we have been here on past visits and this day Allan had the lasagna with salad and I had the meatball with ziti in a tomato butter sauce with a salad.   Tomorrow we will be heading up to Portland and we are hoping for less rain, although from the weather forecast, it does not look promising. 

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