By Marjorie Woodfin

Pilot staff writer

People move to Brookings for a number of different reasons, less crowded, less traffic, out of the rat race, moderate climate, or to be close to family.

But probably the greatest number of new residents is lured to Brookings by the beauty of the surroundings.

That was definitely the attraction for Rob Decker, whom his artsy friends call andquot;the port artist,andquot; when he moved to Brookings last November.

andquot;It's by far the prettiest part of the country - by far,andquot; Decker declared. His favorite spot is the Port of Brookings Harbor where he sets up his easel, lays out his pastels, and hunkers down under his andquot;little plastic bubbleandquot; almost every day.

Decker said he painted when he was younger but gave up the arts more than 20 years ago while working in construction in Michigan. andquot;I regret that,andquot; he said as he reveled in his current freedom to paint every day.

andquot;I went to California to escape the winter and fell in love with this living,andquot; he said. He soon moved to Florida, where he worked for 20 years before taking to the road to travel across the country.

Traveling through Brookings he found Harris Beach State Park. After spending a little time in the area he decided this was the place where he wanted to settle down.

After a trip back to Florida to tie up loose ends, andquot;I painted my way across the country,andquot; he said.

andquot;The people here are wonderful. I've been here four months and I haven't met a rude person yet.andquot;

Decker is excited about the Brookings Harbor art community, that he has enthusiastically joined. andquot;The company of artists is fantastic, quality artists,andquot; he enthused.

As a new member of the Pelican Bay Art Association, he joins the group at the Manley Art Center on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for open painting and Thursday evenings for still life painting. andquot;It's not structured. We just paint and swap,andquot; he said.

He sticks to pastels for his artistic creations. andquot;I tried water colors, but I'm not very good with the brush,andquot; he explained.

Why always at the port, one might ask. Decker would, no doubt, respond that it's because of the endless beauty he finds there.

However, although the port is the place he is most likely to be found, listening to classical music and painting, he doesn't limit himself to that area.

andquot;Traveling across this country, I can find everything I could possibly want to paint within 10 to 20 miles.andquot;

It's obvious that Decker has found his artistic Eden and looks forward to spending the rest of his life recording the beauty that surrounds him here.