Sunnyshore Studio is modeled after the Heaton Cooper Studio is Grasmere, England. Here is the story of the day I visited the Heaton Cooper Studio.

In 2010 I applied for a sabbatical grant from the Lilly Endowment. The question I had to answer in applying for the grant was “what would make your heart sing?” My answer, among other things, was that taking my family on an epic road trip to Great Britain would make my heart sing. I was awarded a sabbatical grant. In June 2010 our family embarked on our epic road trip.

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After landing in London’s Heathrow airport we took the train to Canterbury. I wanted to begin our pilgrimage at the destination of Chaucer’s “Canterbury tale” pilgrims. Canterbury Cathedral was incredible. We also were at the White Cliffs of Dover at the anniversary of the rescue of the English Expeditionary force from France in the early days of WWII.

From Canterbury we traveled to Cambridge and spent time with dear friends from Trinity Divinity School, Julian and Deborah Hardyman. From Cambridge we traveled to York, and visited the splendid cathedral there. We continued north into Scotland, spending time with old friends from Seattle, Matt and Rachel Round, and touring Edinburgh. We traced some of the steps of my wife’s forebear, William Wallace. In Scotland we also celebrated my son Julian’s 13th birthday.

From Glasgow we went south into the Lake District of England. From our base in Windermere, I took a day trip to visit the Heaton Cooper Studio in Grasmere, England, a quaint town famous as the residence of the romantic poet William Wordsworth.

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The bus ride to Grasmere through the rolling, mist covered hills of the Lake District was beautiful.

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I hoped that the Heaton Cooper Studio might be a model for the studio I was designing on Camano Island, WA. I was not disappointed.

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I discovered that the Heaton Cooper Studio displays the art legacy of four generations of Coopers. Their art was breathtaking. Heaton Cooper was a gifted watercolorist. His paintings of the Lake District capture the mood, the stillness, the soft colors of the landscape.

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His children and grandchildren were also very gifted artists, each with a different artistic voice.

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At the Heaton Cooper Studio I got some great ideas about how to how to display the history of a family of artists. They also had done a great job is creating coffee table books to showcase the Lake District, something I hope to do in the future with coffee table books showcasing the beauty of Camano Island.

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I finished the day by buying a book of Wordsworth poems and sitting in a tea shop having tea and scones and reading Wordsworth. It was a day well spent.

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Photos from the Cooper Studio