When I moved to California in 2000, I dreamt of cruising up the coast. It took 15 years but I’ve finally pulled it off.
Vancouver was the goal because I’ve heard such wonderful things about the scenery, city life, people and overall culture of the Northwest. What I found along the way is that people in the Northwest, including Vancouver, are extremely friendly. I’ve been welcomed, befriended, and helped by hundreds of new friends. When you move to SoCal, after about 2 good summers “Californiacation” kicks in and you become one with the local vibe. It seems the Northwest has a similar effect, even on the tourists.
After posting up in Bellingham for a few short days. I geared up to cross the border, and find my hostel. Cambie Hostel in “Gas Town” district of Downtown Vancouver was my home for a little less than a week. I found out day one that parking would be plentiful and plenty expensive. Parking has been a thorn in my side this whole trip. But when you are driving a mobile studio/gallery and house I guess it’s worth it.
Acting on a tip I recieved in Bellingham, Day one I hit Stanley Park. I found this Totem Pole (Firebird) and had to make a painting. The totem pole garden was a spiritual place, it spoke to me, and to Gabi who took the painting home a day later!
My second stop would be in West Van: Ambleside Park. This place was perfect for plein air painting. Free Long term (all day) parking. People were doing it all; fishing, bbqn, walking, jogging, biking, golfing, frisbee, and of coarse painting! I found a spot with a perfect view of Lion’s Gate Bridge with a park bench (bonus).
Whilst painting In public i’m pleasantly interrupted often. I don’t mind at all. I’ve conditioned myself to be able to greet/introduce: TV show announcer voice “Hi! welcome to the Ambleside Park Bench gallery, I’m your host Jesse Fortune” -gets a laugh everytime!. I’ll make an elevator pitch/EAQ story, guage interest, say farewell, and go back to painting. I’ve done it on this trip more than a 1,000 times. I know that because I’m completely out of marketing material. It can be a lot of fun to converse with so many people while painting in plein air.
Sometime’s dogs and children are my biggest fans. Dogs like sitting on my cushy painting mat. They don’t mind me painting. Children are the worlds best art critics. At least in Canada and the US. (I’ll test that again in Europe next year). After several dozen conversations and a few hours in the sun, I had this piece finished.
Next stop: Granville Island. A querky little Island partially tucked under a bridge just outside of DTV. The island included but wasn’t limited to: Multiple restaraunts, a brewery, an Art School, a thriving Public Market, private yacht docks, and of course a very out of place cement factory. Which is now famous thanks to this mural painted by Brazlian artist(s) Os Gemeos
I was tempted to make a plein air painting of their larger than life mural, but the vantage point was loud, dusty and in a hard hat area,(left mine at L1980) So I elected to paint something a bit more dainty. After making a lap around the entire island I chose a small corner of the market to post up and bust out.
Those few short days of painting and driving and parking in Vancouver were not enough. I wanted to stay longer but had to start heading south. If you think 90 days is a “long” time for a decent road trip, you might be surprised at how fast it can literally fly by. Working around the clock will do that, eat up time. I’ve never written a blog about my travels, in this case my work travels. Now I know how much memory value it provides.