Ellie on the Train
Last Sunday I travelled on the Amtrak train from Vancouver to Seattle with seven creative companions to see the Picasso exhibit at SAM (the Seattle Art Museum). We met at Terminal Station at 6:15 AM, coffee in hand, sleep in our eyes, but anticipation in our hearts. Once through customs and onboard, we snuggled into our adjacent seats, two sets of four, armed with sketchbooks, cameras, and art magazines. I was so excited to be amongst this company of fellow 'seers' that at one point I burst out to my immediate foursome "I think I'm over stimulated!". I was trying to look out the window at the Pacific Coast rolling by, share the discoveries in International Artist magazine with Mauro, sketch Ellie, and chat with Catherine. On top of that I wanted to take out my camera and capture everything "on film". Like a kid at Christmas.
I managed to find my adult reasoning and calm myself to enjoy each experience one at a time. The four hour trip felt like an hour, we piled off the train and walked through the deserted Sunday streets of downtown Seattle. A quick lunch at the gallery cafe and we headed into the exhibit. Aaaah, the exhibit. Dozens of Picasso's paintings, drawings and sculptures from the artist's personal collection and on loan from the Musée Picasso in Paris. We explored separately and then together, talking about some of the pieces, sketching others, choosing our favourites. We stayed for hours sharing our awe.
After a stop in the SAM gift shop for Picasso books and show catalogues, we stuffed ourselves with enchiladas and quesadillas, washed down with beer and Marguerita's, then dawdled back along the streets, now dark, but festively lit with white strings of lights wrapped round tree trucks along the boulevard.
The ride home was no anticlimax - it was equally fulfilling - the camaraderie unmatched. Once again, our laughter dominated the car, but no one else complained. My guess is they would have joined us if there had been room. Many thanks to our art teacher, James, for organizing the trip and to all my fellow travelers for a day I am still savouring.