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On a late afternoon, a sailboat sails peacefully by the skyline of Seattle, Washington.
This is Elliot Bay, a place of busy-ness and activity when the ferries arrive and dock at the shore, dispersing their travelers onto the sidewalks and taking on commuters going the other way.
But for the sailboat and its crew, Elliot Bay is a place to see the city from the Puget Sound waters, to keep distance from the lights and the buildings, the traffic and the activity, and to simply watch from afar. While sipping a drink and chatting, the sailors view the distant activity of Pike Place Market, slightly inland from the docks, as well as the people milling about the shoreline shops.
It’s pleasant to simply watch and observe but not be jostled and bumped by elbows and shopping bags. The calm waters around the sailboat reflect the golden light of afternoon’s late sun.
Elliot Bay, the artwork, invites the viewer to step onto the sailboat, grab a cold drink, and join one’s companions on this gentle late afternoon sail. Many of the windows in the skyscrapers and office buildings are lit, and one is aware that there are countless people working in carpeted cubicles, far from the windows and not able to look out at the waters of the bay. It makes it all the more pleasurable to be on the boat, out on the water, and looking at the office lights as opposed to being in the room with them.
Perhaps this is the best way to see the city – from a distance, marveling at the twinkling lights but not necessarily in the midst of them. Out on the water, it is quiet, peaceful, and tranquil – a respite from the modern urban life that we seek to escape.
Elliot Bay is painted in a strong impressionist style, with bold brush strokes and texture. A similar work, in a different style, is Emerald City Twilight, also on this site.
March 17th, 2017
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