Present Tense

Present Tense, an installation by SE Portland sailor and artist Bruce Bateau, is on display at the Lincoln Street Kayak & Canoe Museum, 5340 SE Lincoln St. from April 3-31.

Bateau has been seeking communion with salt water since his early college surfing days and for the last decade, he has explored the Salish Sea in Row Bird, his 18-foot wooden boat. 

A columnist for boating magazine, 48 North, and a contributing writer at Small Boats Monthly and Small Craft Advisor, Bateau uses writing and art to document his adventures on the Salish as well as the Columbia and Willamette rivers.

Solo rower

Inspired by a six-week solo sailing voyage through Canada’s Inside Passage, the display is a reflection in words and art on both the literal and interior journeys he undertook – as well as on our collective journey through the pandemic.

Bateau works in watercolors, collage, dioramas and words, using stories and images to recreate scenes and experiences from his journey – from the threat of an unexpected storm, to the quiet moments of awe at an unfolding landscape.

The entire exhibit is COVID-safe and designed to be viewed from the sidewalk outside the museum.

His stories are engaging and entertaining too. His very active blog is at

Bateau can be reached at

Image: Storm Box

Present Tense

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