Porto, Oporto

I visited Porto last September, my arrival coinciding with that of a rainfront which accompanied me for the duration. My accommodation, Sunny Balcony, Trindade, had an extensive, recessed balcony along the front wall giving me a good, sheltered panorama of the city in the rain from the fourth floor. Below my window was an overpass, taking the ring road below across a junction connecting to the city’s main street. It was busy, but cosy, there’s something soothing about the hiss of urban traffic in the rain. Visually too; the traffic forming into a sinuous illuminated snake. At ground level, the overpass provided shelter, and car parking. I passed under regularly between my accommodation and the restaurant across the road, and on to the city centre nearby.. The scene reminded me of an artwork I’d found many years ago in a calendar. The artwork, from the seventies perhaps, showed a similar underpass in an unnamed city, probably French or Belgian, the noirish nocturne suspended in a monochrome blast of chromium urban lighting. Porto was a calling for me to echo that painting.

In this acrylic I am using a different palette, with a more structured, geometric composition. I used a red ground, as the night is mild despite the rain, and the street lighting had a pinkish tinge. This is balanced against a cool grey for the city fabric with a dash of blue on the rainsoaked cobblestones. Of course, being me, it’s raining.

Why does it always rain on me?

Is it because I lied when I was seventeen?

Why does it always rain on me?

even when the sun is shining, I can’t avoid the lightning.

That song, by Scottish band,Travis, is taken from their 1999 album The Man Who. Lead singer, Fran Healy wrote it after a failed sun holiday in southern Israeli . Tell me about it. I have sometimes wondered if I could rent myself out to drought stricken regions as a rain god. Then again, there have been sunny days. Too many of them and you start missing the rain. So, let it fall, it washes the world and softens the sharpness of city life. And is often beautiful.


2 thoughts on “Porto, Oporto

  1. It’s beautiful, Shane. So emotive. And I love your words, “the noirish nocturne suspended in a monochrome blast of chromium urban lighting.” Although I have not (yet) visited Porto, I will always think of your art when I do. ~Terri

    • Thank you, Terri. Porto is well worth a visit. When you do, take a tour on the river which gives the most spectacular views. Hopefully you will get better weather than I, but of course a great city is a great city, rain or shine.

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