Since leaving the Animation Biz in 2017 (to focus on teaching), I’ve dreamed of spending my Summers making art with little or no interruption. This year I finally managed it with some friendly encouragement and a strategically clear calendar. Just as Spring term was ending in May, I was offered an opportunity to take the role of Artist in Residence aboard a boutique, luxury cruise ship, the Azamara QUEST on a voyage to Alaska. The AIR program is organized by Artwaves, an independent tech and media company based in NYC.
A free cruise up the Pacific Northwest coast to Alaska with no heavy sales pressure, 3 shifts per sea day but otherwise free to mingle and paint - what a fantastic opportunity to work and play on a floating hotel along one of the most beautiful coasts in the world. "OK", I said "I’ll do it!”
It was the first time Azamara had sent one of their ships to this part of the world, so the opportunity felt even more rare. QUEST is a beautiful ship, smaller than most with capacity for 700 guests. After sailing with her for 3 weeks, I have to admit I’m converted from a reluctant cruise passenger to someone who would be counting the days to set sail again!
I joined the ship at the end of the Summer season, which meant that this was the last cruise to Alaska. We left my home port of Vancouver on July 30th and terminated in Seward on August 7th via Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Sitka, Icy Straight Point and the Hubbard Glacier. From Seward, we continued on with the next Azamara Voyage “Northern Crossing”, stopping in Siberian Russia and finally Japan. This was a repositioning cruise, which crossed the International date line (we lost a few birthdays!) and which included a full week at sea. It was a different experience and I loved the feeling of isolation and weightlessness. After disembarking in Tokyo I began my next adventure - 12 days as a solo traveller, navigating a fascinating country with only a handful of Japanese words. But that’s another story!
While I was away on the ship, I kept a daily account of the highlights, which I’ve now compiled into a series of Postcards. When I had the chance I posted to my Facebook art page and Instagram, but internet was limited after we left Alaska. It was a great way to stay connected with family and friends and a great memory jogger now that I’m home.
You can see the series of Postcards from the ‘Alaska Adventure’ on my Artist in Residence page.