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Our Year in Review: A hearty thanks to our friends, patrons and backers in 2018!

As we look back at 2018, our family has so very much to be thankful for. We are especially grateful for the many friends, patrons and backers who have visited our Camano “bricks and mortar” studio, who have purchased art on-line, and who have backed our creative projects.

Thank you so much! You have helped us carry out our mission to share beauty with the world.

Here are some highlights from 2018.

March: Vintage Watercolorists of Washington show

We hosted the first of five Jack Dorsey Invitational: Vintage Watercolorists of Washington art show to celebrate the life and legacy of some of Washington’s top watercolor artists.

Vintage flier front

The Vintage show was a great success. A number of newspaper articles were written about it, the artwork was spectacular and a large crowd attended the opening. We are especially thankful for the NWWS partnering with us on the show.

April: Jed, Renae & Willow move back to Washington

Certainly a highlight for the Dorsey clan was to have Jed, Renae and Willow move back from their much loved home in Indianapolis to the northwest. Jed is a gifted artist. He, Renae and Willow make a terrific team and their presence is a joy to all of us.

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May: Mother’s Day Studio Tour

We participated in the popular Camano Island Mother’s Day Studio tour over Mother’s Day weekend and the following “encore” weekend. This is always a fun time to see old friends and make news one, and sell a lot of art, books, cards, and posters. We enjoyed very much the guest artists that joined us for the show. And we are so thankful for the many friends and supporters who “shop local” and support the artist colony on Camano.

 

July: Enjoying and Sharing Camano

A highlight each year is July on Camano with its long, warm days. Sunnyshore Studio’s artistic director take a month vacation from his work as a Presbyterian pastor in Redmond, WA. These are wonderful days of playing with friends, enjoying Camano’s beaches, enjoying long stretches of time for creativity, and working on projects around the studio. One highlight from this summer was a BIG WORK PARTY we organized at Jack and Ann Dorsey’s home!

 

August: Work begins on Jack Dorsey’s Tiny House

We began Jackie’s Tiny House this summer. The project is coming together nicely. We expect it to be all ready for the 2019 Mother’s Day Studio Tour. Jenny Dorsey was the mastermind of this project. She had lots of help from Jacob, Jackie, Jason and Grandpa Jack!

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October: Jed Dorsey’s “Home” Show

Jed’s art show in October was a smashing success. Titled “Home”, it explored the places of the heart, and how art can capture that longing for and sense of home we have. We’re super thankful for Jed’s friend Russ Baumgarner and his painting company Rubumco for sponsoring the show. We held our first “on line” opening, and sold many paintings over the web. We’re excited about the potential of being able to share beauty with people who are not able to visit our “bricks and mortar” gallery. And we’re thankful for all of Jed’s fans, friends and patrons who support his work by buying his art.

Home Poster (1)

November: I Remember Running Through the Woods

In November we turned in the manuscript of Jason Dorsey’s I Remember Running Through the Woods to the printer. We are super excited to be publishing the second book in this ten book series. The book will be released in January, 2019.

Cover - I RTW

 

November: Successful Kickstarter Campaign for “We are Family” documentary

In November we launched a 30 day Kickstarter campaign with the goal of raising 25K to complete a documentary about an inner city basketball team from Indianapolis who against all odds won the state championship. The movie is titled We are Family. Just hours before the closing of the social funding campaign we reached our goal of 25K! We’re so thankful for the 110+ backers who believed enough in us and this project to give so generously. We expect to show the movie for the first time in March 2019.

 

December: Christmas in Miniature Show

We culminated the year with our annual Christmas show.

Christmas Poster 2018

This year’s show had the theme of “miniatures” and it featured small paintings, the unveiling of Jack Dorsey’s annual Christmas card, the soft opening of Jackie’s tiny house, and wonderful miniature displays set up by Jenny. It was super fun to have a number of guest artists showcased this year!

We had a terrific lineup of local artists. It was great to be able to share their wonderful art!

And again, we are thankful for the many friends and patrons who stopped by, who purchased art and cards, etc.

 

Conclusion

In 2018, Sunnyshore Studio had a strong year. This included showcasing original art, publishing books and working on a documentary. We are passionate about our calling to share beauty with the world through these different mediums. And we are passionate about building community through art. We are so thankful for the many friends, collectors, patrons and backers who have stood with us this year!

JENNY  AND I AND OUR ENTIRE FAMILY ARE THANKFUL FOR YOU ALL!

Dorsey shares plan for twelve book “I Remember” series

Jason Dorsey’s new children’s picture book, I Remember Running Through The Woods, is coming out in January. At Sunnyshore Studio’s “Christmas in Miniature Show” a poster displayed Jason’s projected books in this 12 book series.

We caught up to Jason this week. Here is our interview with the author/illustrator of the ambitious I Remember children’s book series.

Sunnyshore Studio: When did you first dream of the I Remember children’s picture book series?

Jason:  Our family moved to Indianapolis, IN in 2002. In 2003, I must have been missing my dad and the fishing waters of the Puget Sound, so I began to sketch a draft of what became I Remember Fishing with Dad. Being who I am, it was not long after those early sketches that I conceived of a twelve book series with each book starting with I Remember.

Sunnyshore Studio: I Remember Fishing with Dad wasn’t published until October of 2015. Why did it take so long from conception to publication?

Jason: Mainly because I had no idea what I was doing. I had never written a children’s picture book before so I had a lot to learn about storytelling and illustration. I went to children’s book conferences, hired children’s book coaches, and submitted the manuscript again and again. In fact, by around 2013 I had given up. I still view it as a minor miracle that an old friend named Shelley Huston, who ran a small publishing company, reconnected with me and published the book. I tell this story in my post “A Tale of Many Rejections.” 

IRFD Cover

Sunnyshore Studio: What is your vision for this series? 

Jason: I want to tell stories that both delight and instruct. I want children and adults to enjoy the stories and the artwork that goes with each story. But they are more than just a collection of stories about a boy growing up on an island. Each story explores a universal theme, and, I hope, provides some insight to it. I Remember Fishing with Dad explores the significance of the father-son relationship. I Remember Running through the Woods, uses the ever-changing woods to talk about how to deal with change.

Sunnyshore Studio: Why do you start each book with “I Remember”?

Jason: Because I want to emphasize how very important the memories of childhood are and because I want to encourage the making of “sacred memories.” In our childhood time moves slow and the memories we make go deep into who we are, shaping us, and even, as the Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky puts it in The Brothers Karamazov, the “instrument of our salvation one day.”

 “Let us never forget how happy we were here, when we were all together, united by such a good and kind feeling…My dear children, perhaps you will not understand what I’m going to say to you now, for I often speak very incomprehensibly, but, I’m sure, you will remember that there’s nothing higher, stronger, more wholesome and more useful in life than some good memory, especially when it goes back to the days of your childhood, to the days of your life at home. You are told a lot about your education, but some beautiful, sacred memory, preserved since, is perhaps the best education of all. If a man carries many such memories into life with him, he is saved for the rest of his days. And even if only one good memory is left in our hearts, it may be the instrument of our salvation one day.”

These lines have been an inspiration for this series from the beginning.

Sacred Memories

Sunnyshore Studio: These stories are about a boy growing up on an island. Camano Islanders will recognize the island as there own. Why did you choose to base the stories on Camano?

Road to the State Park

Jason: I believe place matters. Since most of my “sacred memories” took place on Camano, I’m basing the stories in my place (though I never mention the name of Camano). The story lines are built on memories that other northwesterners share: like salmon fishing, playing in the woods, bringing in the hay, picking wild blackberries. In fact, a few weeks ago at the “Christmas in Miniature” show, I had a long conversation with a couple who grew up blackberry picking like I did. It is amazing at how similar our experiences were. The same can be said of fishing, and so on. Yet, even though the story is based in the northwest, the themes are universal and, I hope, accessible to everyone.

Plus I like maps in stories. So this gives me a chance to put maps in each of my stories.

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I hope by celebrating a specific place, I can encourage people to value the places in their lives too!

Sunnyshore Studio: One of the special aspects of this series is that your dad partnered with you to illustrate the first two books. Why did you choose to do this?

Jason: For the first book, I Remember Fishing with Dad, I thought it would be cool to have my dad illustrate the book with me since it is about the father-son relationship and since he lived the story with me. Plus, I really wanted, and needed his help to make great illustrations. In 2006 we spent a week painting what would be the first round of illustrations for the book. We had to redo many of these in 2015. So it was quite a process.

Remember 6.jpg

I tried to illustrate I Remember Running Through the Woods by myself. But I was running out of time, and I asked Dad to help again. He graciously agreed, and really helped to bring the book to life artistically. Here are a few examples of his great work.

Sunnyshore Studio:  These aren’t your normal children’s book illustrations that are more, how should I say it, child level art. These are more serious watercolors.

Jason: Part of my vision was to use high quality, serious watercolors for the illustrations. I hope to inspire a few youngsters to perhaps take up the paintbrush themselves.

Cover - I RTW

Sunnyshore Studio: I Remember Fishing with Dad was published by Just Dust Publishers. Why did you choose to have Sunnyshore Studio by the publisher for I Remember Running Through The Woods?

Jason: A couple of reasons. First, Just Dust Publishers closed there doors. Second, by publishing through Sunnyshore Studio we cut out the middle man and keep our costs down. Sunnyshore Studio has published a number of books over the past three years, and has “cracked the code” so to speak of the editing, graphic design and layout of publishing. So we decided to keep it in house.

Sunnyshore Studio: Since your first sketches (2003) to today (2018), you’ve only published two books. What makes you think you can publish 10 more? And which book is next?

Jason: Well, like I said, we’ve “cracked the code” by publishing the books in-house. This allows us a little more freedom and flexibility. Hopefully we can get on a roll and publish a book a year. That’s the dream at least. And I like “big dreams”, they inspire me. I’m not afraid to fail.

I’m not sure what book will be next. I’m currently writing I Remember Haying at the Farm. This book will explore the importance of hard work, of family members/families working together as a team, and or working on their relationships with each other. The work of keeping up a farm, specifically of the annual summer bringing in the hay ritual, is the context to explore this theme. I have great memories of haying with my cousins.

Sunnyshore Studio: When is I Remember Running Through the Woods going to be released?

Jason: You should know that, since you’re the publisher of the book! The printer tells me that it will be ready to be picked up by mid/late January. If people are interested they can pre-order their copy here:

Store

We Did It! 30 Day Kickstarter Report

Sometime after 11:00pm on Friday, November 30th, my mom stopped by Sunnyshore Studio where Jenny and I were prepping for the “Christmas in Miniature” show the next day. She announced that we were so close to reaching our goal of 25K pledged in our Kickstarter campaign – just $200 dollars short. The deadline was at 5:29am PST the next morning and she was worried that by now everyone in Indy (EST) was asleep. She said that my dad was ready to write a $100 check to help, and was there any way that we could come over to their house to make a pledge on their behalf (we don’t have wi-fi at the studio). She said she wanted to be able to go to sleep!

Jenny was just about ready to jump in the car with mom when I checked my phone to see where things were at with the Kickstarter campaign. I saw we had just hit the goal of 25K. I sat down on the bed and it began to sink in that we had reached our goal – something that had seemed almost impossible just a few days before.

We did it! 1

 

Jenny congratulated me and then with a smile said, “you have your work cut out for you.”

As I took stock the next morning, I was blown away by the reality of how many people had stood with me, with us, in this project. I had asked people to “stand with me” in telling this inspiring story. I said that I had the creative team of video producers and musicians that could help me tell the story well, but that I didn’t have the fund to pay them for their work. As shared that I needed help, people to stand with me in bringing the project to completion.

And they did. 110 backers, and even a few more who weren’t comfortable using their credit card online and who sent checks. Many of them were old friends from Indy. The IPS community, many who I had collaborated with in working for renewal in IPS, stood with us, as did many Tech alumni. Friends and congregation members from Redeemer Indy stood at my side. The very first pledge, just moments after launching the campaign, was of 1K from a couple who I had walked through a very traumatic season of their life and their gift blew me away and gave me hope, from the very outset, that we might reach our goal. The deacon team at Redeemer Indy also contributed. There were many names of people I did not recognize. And there were anonymous gifts to, including a gift of 5K! My kids stood with me in making pledges to this project, and I was totally blown away by their generosity and support. And then towards the end, it was my new community here in Redmond, friends at Redeemer the church I pastor, and colleagues in the art community on Camano Island that stepped up in big ways even though they were more removed from the place and context of the story.

Many friends shared Kickstarter campaign on social media, and advocated for the project. Their support was so encouraging, and helped us reach the goal even though just a few days before we were hovering around 18K and I didn’t think it was possible!

We did it! 2

When I checked the Kickstarter report on Saturday, December 1st, I saw that it was a young couple from the church in Indy who had given to help us reach the goal. They had first given 40$ then bumped it up to $75 then to $275. Maybe they wanted to go to sleep too! I remember doing pre-marital counseling for them, and watching them begin to their life together. I knew that as a younger couple getting their feet under them, this was a very big, a very significant gift. I was humbled and moved deeply by their gift.

In short: feel very loved and supported, and a strong sense of responsibility to tell this inspiring story well. I’m also thrilled that I am going to be able to pay the creative team who will make this story come alive with their music and video production talents.

We are Family Soundtrack

Finally, as I said on a Facebook post on November 11th, this movie is…

For all the urban schools that struggle with bad press.
For all the urban youth that are told you can’t do this.
For all the urban teachers and coaches whose stories are never told
For Indianapolis Public Schools
For Arsenal Tech High School

We are Family!

We Are Family Poster

 

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