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.

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 community through an idealized vision of the great west just four years after the end of the Civil War.

Inspiration’s easy to come by when you stand before the latest masterpiece to grace the gallery’s wall: 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.

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 that is about western ruggedness, outdoor boldness and grandeur. The painting demands that you slow down and savor a moment in solitude so that you may explore its 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, and when taken altogether, it is a marvelous experience and worth your time for a visit.

So, escape the great outdoors for a time so you might take a journey back in time to explore Oregon through the Portland Art Museum.

Editor’s Note: Grant’s Getaways is a production of Travel Oregon brought to you in association with Oregon State Parks, Oregon Dept. of Fish & Wildlife and Oregon State Marine Board. Episodes air Thursdays and Saturdays on KGW Newschannel 8 and Saturdays on Northwest Cable News Network.

about author Grant McOmie

Grant McOmie is a Pacific Northwest broadcast journalist, teacher and author who writes and produces stories and special programs about the people, places, outdoor activities and environmental issues of the Pacific Northwest. A fifth generation Oregon native, Grant’s roots run deepest in the central Oregon region near Prineville and Redmond where his family continues to live.

In this Grant’s Getaway

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