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Pictures from the 4 Week Mark

Here are some photographs mom took on the 28th day after work began on the Studio. It was a sunny day, and the translucent paper used to cover the Studio (waiting for the siding to be finished) let the light in. You can begin to get a feel for the space itself.

Here is Sunnyshore Studio from the road, coming down the driveway.


Here is  the inside of the first floor. We planned for the working studio space to have windows on the north side of the building because the north light is best to paint by.

Here is the upstairs. The kitchen will be on the back (west) wall.

There will be a beautiful view to the east, to the sunrise, and an upstairs balcony to watch the morning, midday and evening colors.

So here we are, 28 days in with just 36 days to go before the Camano Island Mother’s Day Studio Tour!

Four Color Press, 2,500 copies, and praying that IRFWD would be a blessing

I spent the Monday and Tuesday after Easter in at Your Town Press, Salem, OR proofing the copies of I Remember Fishing with Dad (IRFWD). It was a really cool process watching art meet German engineering. And it is another step in stepping out on a pretty big limb.

Here’s the story.

The first printing of IRFWD was printed digitally. The great thing about digital printing is that it is printing on demand. In other words, you can print one book at a time, and you only have to print as many books as you need. We started out with having 300 books printed, and they sold out pretty quickly. So we had another 200 printed. In all, we had 650 copies of IRFWD printed digitally.


Shelley Huston, the Executive Director  of Just Dust Publisher, who is publishing IRFWD, saw that the books were selling well, and began to talk to me about getting them done in a Four Color Press. A Four Color press gives you even better color quality – because it uses four presses to build the color on the paper. The only catch is that you have to print at lot more copies to bring the cost down. (If you have a large run of a book, you can print it for significantly less than with a digital printing.)

Shelley and I decided to go for it…To step out on a limb, to hope for, work for, and expect ongoing strong sales of IRFWD; to get 2,500 copies made!

She researched and found a great printer in the Salem area, Your Town Printer. It was great to meet with Dennis, who manages the operation. He walked us through the process. And it was super cool to tour the facility. The machines – most German engineered – are impressive. They even have an old book binding “sewing machine” built in 1912.

So on Monday and Tuesday we proofed each sheet (which has 8 of the book pages on it). Shelley had to sign as proof that we had approved of the colors, look, etc.

I was able to get a video of the Four Color Press in operation. I’m so impressed with the German engineering. It just hummed along. Here it is.

As we walked out, I shared with Shelley that I have been praying that the publication of IRFWD would be a blessing to Just Dust Publisher. I asked her in what specific way could I pray for it to be a blessing. She said that her hope and prayer is that after a number of years of taking a financial loss, and then a few years of breaking even or making just one or two thousand dollars, her prayer had been that Just Dust Publishers would make 20K this year.


It was glad to have a concrete goal to pray for. I invite you to join me in this prayer: that IRFWD would sell well, and that it would be a blessing to Just Dust Publisher, and that IRFWD would be a major reason why the dream of 20K would be made!


Introducing Sunnyshore Studio’s Brand

I’m delighted to be able to introduce Sunnyshore Studio’s brand, the sign designed by my dear friend Jacob Swearingen.


I chose Jacob for two reasons. First, I love Jacob’s creative, whimsical style, and I knew that he could create the kind of Island feel I wanted for the sign.

Second, I want Sunnyshore Studio to be more than just a vibrant working studio, or place to display our family’s art legacy, or even a place to host guests. I want it to be a place of sharing in community and creativity, a place where I could invite people “in” to community, creativity and Camano: Camano’s simple and slow pace, its sparkly and salty waters, the carefree and happy Island life.

And I knew my friend Jacob would get that, native of this place as I am. I was thrilled when Jacob agreed to take on the project.

Here is his early design work.  Jacob's sunny shore sketch

As I try to create a place of community and creativity, as I try to weave together the threads of my life on Camano Island, Salem, OR, Seattle, Indianapolis, and know Redmond, WA into a seamless thread, I’m so thankful to have a sign – a brand – hand crafted by a friend, a sign that invites people into so much more than just a family art studio and gallery: into community, into creativity, and into the slow and simple and carefree place that is Camano.

Come In!


The Story Behind the Sign

Jacob Swearingen has a ubiquitous place in my life. I know that from the many photographs I have of him and I, from our high school years when we were classmates and beyond.

When I began to envision a sign for Sunnyshore Studio – a  handcrafted sign that evoked the beach life of Camano, the simple and slow, tranquil and cheerful Island life – I didn’t have to think long about who I wanted to design and create it: it had to be Jacob.

Here is the story behind the sign.

Jacob was a classmate in Stanwood, but he didn’t burst unto my consciousness until maybe eighth grade or even high school when he emerged as one of the most creative, interesting, intelligent, fun-loving, unique characters at Stanwood HS.

We had many adventures together during our high school years. Chief among those was participating in drama class and doing plays together under master teacher Don Good.

He fought in the wars I held on Camano at my parent’s home. Wars that lasted through the night, and that took place in the woods and beaches of the Island.

We spent hours hanging with friends like Bob Diem and Steve Sieverson at the beach below our home.

When we graduated from Stanwood high school I saw less of Jacob. But he was still around, willingly present in my life. I introduced him to my friends from college who visited Camano (they couldn’t really experience Camano without meeting Jacob).

And I introduced him to Jenny Wallace, the beautiful girl I had met my freshman year in college.

In fact, Jacobmade the long trip down to Redding, CA in the heat of June on a motorcyle to stand as a friend and a groomsman in Jenny and my wedding. That was in 1992.

And though our paths crossed less and less over the years and we were separated by physical distance for well over a decade (Jacob living in Eugene, OR and I in Indianapolis, IN), still I consider him one of my dearest and most treasured friends.

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And so when the time came to finally move forward with Sunnyshore Studio, and I began to dream of how I could invite my creative friends to collaborate with me on my project, I immediately thought of Jacob, and his creative, whimsical, artistic gifts, of his deep heart knowledge of Camano Island, of his love and loyalty to me. I knew I could ask him to gift me with a sign. And I did. And he said “Yes.”

So on Saturday, March 19th, I found myself driving to Eugene, OR. I had lunch with our old high school friend, Bob Diem, who is also a close friend of Jacob, and his family, who have moved to Eugene from Japan.

After lunch Bob and I drove to Jacob’s house. What a house: a quaint, whimsical cottage, eccentric, artistic, overflowing with treasures, stamped with Jacob’s personality.

And we sat and shared stories. And Jacob told me about the crafting of the Sign.

And though it had been well over a decade since we had last seen each other, our heart’s bond remained. And though our time was short, it was sweet, sweet indeed.

As a parting gift Jacob gave me a treasured bottle of his own hand made Port. He made me vow to drink it slowly, to treasure it, to enjoy it with family and friends.

I drove home with the sign, but with so much more than a sign. For the sign is a symbol of friendship over the years, of love and loyalty and past memories and the hopes of many new memories and many decades more of friendship.




Day 14…Progress on Sunnyshore Studio

50 Days. 8 Hours. 35 minutes = the time before the Camano Island Mother’s Day Art Studio Tour. Our goal is to have the shell of Sunnyshore Studio complete so that we can host the 2,000+ people who will visit the many studios on Camano.

Work began on the Studio on March 2nd. By the 13th of March here is the progress that had been made.

The morning of the following day, March 16th, dad took these pictures.

Dad reports that Jim Spane’s crews are hard at work each day and that they are making progress. I’m thankful for him and mom taking pictures so that I can be kept in the loop. And I’m really hopeful that we will be in good shape by Mother’s Day weekend…50 days and counting!


Day 7 update…

By the seventh day of construction, March 9th, lots of progress had been made on Sunnyshore Studio. I wasn’t able to drive to Camano. My mom was kind enough to take these pictures and send them to me.

Here’s what the Studio looks like from SE Camano Drive, looking east.

Not only are the tresses in place but they have begun framing the walls. You can begin to get a feeling for the shape of Sunnyshore Studio.

Here’s a view of the new french drain that Mike Oxborough installed.

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I’m really happy how things are shaping up! Spane’s team works fast. But I know that there is a long way to go for us to be ready for the Camano Island Mother’s Day Tout!



Day 3

Here is Day 3 (February 4th, 2016) Progress report on the building of Sunnyshore Studio.

(I didn’t plan to visit the Studio, but dad dropped off one of their cars at the repair shop and needed a ride home, and mom needed to continue to provide care for some dear friends of ours so it all worked out in the end).

The holes are filled with concrete, poles secured, and foundation work completed.

Two large rafters have been built. They will be hoisted up and fastened in place.

You can get a sense of the size and scope of the project by looking at dad standing among the beams.

Overall, I’m very impressed by how fast Spane’s crew is putting up the Studio. And I can’t wait to see it continue to take shape.

But most fun for me today was to spend time with dad talking about framing paintings, creating postcards for sale, having some antiques, and dreaming of how to make this a vibrant working studio.

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We make great business partners, at least most of the time!




Day One of Sunnyshore Studio Construction

On March 2nd, 2016 construction began on Sunnyshore Studio. My dad met with the foreman of the project, Scott Frank, and his crew at 7:30am.

By the time I arrived at 5:40pm all of the poles were sunk in the ground. When I pulled up I was amazed at how high the poles reached. I felt like I was building a skyscraper!

At some point in the building process, the tops of these poles will be trimmed; but it will still be a very tall building, perfect for getting a great view of the Sound and the Cascades and providing a high ceiling for the display of art on the first floor.

The next step is an inspection of the poles. After the inspection concrete will put into the holes, securing the poles, and establishing a solid foundation.


And so we are off to the races. I’m hoping to have the shell of the building up by May 6th, in time for the Camano Island Mother’s Day Tour.


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