I follow my friend into Bronze Coast Gallery, where he gravitates toward a sculpture of a crouching cougar and a photograph of a thistle. "My kind of stuff," he says, smiling contentedly. We cross the street and head north to White Bird Gallery, the oldest fine arts gallery in town at 37 years, yet still my favorite along this now art-drenched row―and find common ground in an oil painting called Winter Wetlands, a familiar setting rendered in just-deeper-than-nature colors.
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Northwest by Northwest Gallery
Opposite the City Park, we find Northwest by Northwest Gallery and even more shared likes: artwork by Native Americans such as Lillian Pitt (who will discuss her glass, ceramic, and bronze work in a free talk at the gallery at 1 p.m. November 9 as part of the town's annual Stormy Weather Arts Festival).
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Cannon Beach Eats
Back outside, the sky grows darker yet. We slip into Cannon Beach Cookie Co., whose window sign beckons, Espresso―cinnamon rolls―pizza by the slice. We pause to admire the still life with scones and coffee cake oozing marionberries and glistening with white icing.
left: Gooey chocolate chip cookies to warm you up from Cannon Beach Cookie.
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Across the way, a hillside of shadowy conifers looms against the sky. Before the Storm, I mentally title the scene.
Then, sure enough, the rain hits. We zip up, speed-walk to our car, and drive south to Midtown. After checking out Cannon Beach Gallery, a nonprofit run by the local artists' association, we duck into Icefire Glassworks, a glassblowing studio showcasing four artists, including owners James Kingwell and Suzanne Kindland. On a cold, stormy day on the Oregon coast, when the sky seems to liquefy, nothing warms your aesthetic sensibilities like the fire red glow from the furnace. Helps thaw your hands too.
left: At Icefire Glassworks, watch owner James Kingwell at work.
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BYO rain gear
"Now that looks real!" my companion purrs at the large painting of a broad beach below a twilit sky swathed in salmon and mauve. Real in summer, perhaps, but it's a Saturday afternoon in November, and the sky above Cannon Beach, Oregon, ranges from pastel ashen to slate, threatening watercolor at any moment.