When I look back at my sketches from the past a few evoke more vivid memories than others. The sketch triggers a sense of the moment almost as if I was right there. Here is an excerpt from my new book of one such time on a whirlwind trip to Dubai and Genoa.
Early one September Saturday morning I boarded Emirates at SeaTac airport for a fourteen hour flight, arriving in Dubai on Sunday. Monday I did a seminar in Dubai, on Tuesday I flew to Genoa, did another seminar on Thursday, then back to Seattle on Friday. This was one of the most memorable trips from my 25 years as a seminar speaker.
In my bag I carried a 3.5” x 5.5” Moleskin sketchpad, Windsor & Newton Cotman Travel Pallet, a water-brush, and a couple of Micron pens – my kit. it was rare for me to go anyplace without my kit, sketching was, and still is, a critical component of my travel.
Dubai was quite a surprise. Photos prepared me for the ultramodern buildings, they are dazzling to see in person. I expected to see men dressed in thobes and ghutras, women in hajibs. I figured that my western attire would stand out, but no. Dubai is 80% foreigners who dress western. Men in business suits and women dressed like they just stepped out of Nordstrom. It is a bit overwhelming there.
That evening, after bangers and mash at an Irish pub, I took my sketchpad up to the rooftop swimming-pool-bar of the Raddison. Dubai is actually prettier after dark with the lights of the buildings and the stars in the sky. I ordered a beer and sketched; a night I will always remember.
Tuesday afternoon I landed in Milan, rented a car and drove 118 miles to Genoa. After finally finding parking and my hotel it was already dark; I was hungry so I headed out in search of a restaurant.
The Osteria Marinara A Lanterna da Don Gallo was just a few blocks down the way. I sat at a table on the sidewalk, al fresco is always best, ordered wine and food, then got out my sketchpad.
The next day there was no seminar, just a free day to wander into town. Italy is famous for the squares in the city, and of course coffee.
This trip was one of the most memorable of the hundreds of trips I have taken, I savored the moments by lingering over a sketchpad instead of snapping a selfie. And today as I write and look at these sketches I sense just a bit of what it was like those days five years ago.
The book is available on the Shop page, or at Apple Books