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January 2018

Seattle Skyline from Kerry Park

Summer in Seattle: Sketches, Starbucks and Eclipses

By | Blog

I spent last summer developing my portraiture and figure drawing skills at Gage Academy of Art in Seattle. Most definitely a once in a lifetime experience which I am so utterly grateful for. I spent my time doing a lot of drawing, thinking, reading, walking and most definitely drinking a lot of coffee. Aka it was pretty much the perfect summer. See what I got up to below:

  • I was able to dedicate every waking moment to the pursuit of my own daydreams and intentions. It’s difficult to express how satisfying and igniting this is – I thoroughly recommend it. The momentum and routines developed in these weeks will be uncompromisingly upheld.
  • I had the pleasure to meet the most amazing artists during my stay. I will thoroughly miss Dominque Medici and Aron Hart, who were tutors to me during my stay. To say the least, it has been truly enlightening and inspiring. My experience with these two will stay with me for life, and I very much hope I have the pleasure of our paths crossing again.
  • I have increased my art skills by at least three-fold I reckon.
  • Seattle is stunning. The Pacific North West is stunning. I’m not sure if I’d ever have ended up there if it wasn’t for this trip. So to myself, I wish that I stay completely unreasonable and exceptionally stubborn when it comes to what I do and where I go. Let’s see where 2018 takes me!

“All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche,

  • The iPhone says I walked over 300,500 steps in 24 days. This is an average 12,524 a day. Needless to say, everything in America is far. On the journey there, I thought I would save myself some money, so I got off the plane after maybe about 14 hours or so, got a tram for about an hour. Google said my motel was at the bottom of a car park around the corner from the stop. This carpark was about the size of 2 football pitches and took me about 20 minutes to cover with my giant suitcase.
  • Coffee does genuinely taste better in Seattle. Sorry, England, the birthplace of Starbucks has delivered! Also, fun fact – Seattle has secret Starbucks disguised as independent coffee shops –  they have their own names and style, but when you go in, its Starbucks!
  • So many bookshops and such good deals. I stayed in the University district, which is home to the 3-storey University bookstore – an absolute dream! My favourite bookshop, however, was a free-spirited little gem that I stumbled across near the Pike Place markets called Left Bank books. This small collectively owned shop specialises in anti-authoritarian, anarchist, independent, radical and small-press titles. Revolutionary songs blasted through the speakers, shifting about the wandering dust. So very far removed from our stoic Waterstones. During my stay, I bought so many books, I ended up having to forfeit books for paintings at the airport luggage desk on my return – but hey, that is most definitely not a complaint.
  • Coincidentally, during my time there, Seattle saw a 92% solar eclipse. FYI, I’m being selfish and taking this as a sign because what are the chances of that happening during my stay! All the special eclipse glasses sold out, so I likely did suffer some retina damage, but oh so worth it.
  • Seattle loves sushi. There is fresh sushi everywhere, I suppose owing to it being across the ocean from Japan. Hands down the best sushi I’ve ever had!

“Take nothing but memories, leave nothing but footprints!”
― Chief Seattle

  • I’ve mentioned the green and the wilderness before, but I will mention it again. Seattle very much feels like a city that hasn’t trampled on its natural landscape, but rather is woven in and out of it and the two are very much entwined. A few highlights of mine were a day I spent roaming Discovery Park, and one spent at Green Lake. The names don’t do them justice, but hopefully, you’ll get some sort of idea of their vastness and rugged beauty from the photos.

You can see a few of my holiday snaps in the post. To see some more, check out the travel series in the Photography section here.