Downtown Portland from Mt. Tabor

This month’s drawing is from the top of Mt. Tabor looking over East Portland to Downtown Portland. Mt. Tabor is pretty easy to find as it is one of the highest points in east Portland.

Mt. Tabor Park offers spectacular views and plenty of people watching. People come to the park to run and walk up its stairs and winding paths. Several colleges and a seminary are close to Mt. Tabor as well and you will find many college students on the parks’ lawns.

From I-205, take the exit for Division or Burnside. You can also get to Mt. Tabor from I-5 by taking Hawthorne Boulevard. It is easiest to find parking in the neighborhoods around Mt. Tabor and walk to the park.

Mt. Tabor Park

Mt. Tabor Park makes for a nice hike in the city. Going up the east side of the park, trails wind through Douglas Fir forests on the way to the top. On the west side elegant paths and stairs wind past reservoirs and through lawns.

This wide variety of paths attract many people. Retirees wonder up the wide paths and lawns on the east side while trail runners dodge through the forest. Meanwhile, the maintenance road on the west side of the park is a popular spot for bikers and long boarders bombing down the hill, over and over again.

The result is a lively space that feels happy and excited. You cannot help but smile at the bicycles looping down the hill and back or the family out for a Saturday afternoon walk.

Drawing the Portland Skyline

I find skylines particularly fun to draw since they have depth, but also act as an elevation. The skylines in the Pacific Northwest are particularly fun to draw since they usually incorporate dramatic mountains in the background.

The Portland Skyline fits in perfectly as it is dwarfed by the Tualatin Mountains behind downtown. Eastern Portland is also heavily forested with few buildings rising above the canopy. The rest is a very lush green view that required a lot of tonal shifts.

This view also fun to draw due to the contrast between the rectangular buildings and the organic form of the mountains. This was particularly noticeable with the brick KOIN Center building on the left and the contemporary glass towers on the right.

I was glad I could work in the stylized castle structure for the reservoir station in the foreground. This and the people standing next to it ground the picture and give a good sense of scale.

In the future this would be a good spot to do a panorama from. This drawing mostly shows the southern end of downtown Portland. It is missing about half of the skyline that continues to the right with the Nob Hill and Pearl District neighborhoods.

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