Skip to content

Sunnyshore Studio releases inspiring documentary

Sunnyshore Studio is thrilled to announce the release of Fanny, the Artist who made America smile.

This full-length documentary tells the story of Fanny Y. Cory who rose from a life of poverty and struggle to become one of the leading American illustrators, cartoonists and artists in the 20th century. Fanny’s life was an incredible testimony to what can be done when you refuse to accept your limitations. She had the rare gift of bringing humor out of misfortune and joy out of the shadows.

Her captivating story is especially inspiring for women, young to old.

The documentary weaves old recordings of herself and her son Bob, her lovely illustrations, cartoons and artwork, and current video of her four grandchildren to provide a historic snapshot of the life and times of a leading American illustrator whose path takes her from Waukegan, IL to New York City, to Canyon Ferry, Montana and finally Camano Island, Washington.

Enjoy discovering Fanny: The Artist who made America Smile.


If you’re interested in reading more about Fanny Y. Cory you can publish the newly released biography by Toni McCarty here.

Purchase Queen of Montana Beach: the story of artist Fanny Y. Cory


Our Top Ten List of Thanks

It’s been almost a year since Sunnyshore Studio’s Grand Opening on December 2nd, 2016. Here’s our “Top Ten” list of thanks as we look back over this past year.

10. We are thankful for the five art shows we have been able to host over the past year, our sponsors who have made those shows possible, and the thousands who have stopped by to view them. 

Sunnyshore Opening Poster w. sponsors 1



9. We are thankful for the opportunity to do creative work beyond just art. We’ve been able to publish three book and make one documentary! 


8. We are thankful that the Studio is becoming a place where we can encourage, mentor and train other artists. 


7. We are thankful for the Colony of Artists on Camano Island who support, encourage, and help each other in so many ways. 


6. We are thankful for the many friends who have stopped by to visit with us. We love sharing our Studio and Camano Island with you. 


5. We are thankful for this beautiful place that we call “home”, Camano Island.



4. We are thankful that this decades old dream of building an art studio to showcase our family’s art legacy has come true. 




3. We are thankful to our friends, collectors and patrons who have supported our family of artists since 1969.

2. We are thankful for our family and the opportunity  to work together as a family to do art and to share beauty with the world.


1.  Finally, we are thankful to God our Creator and Sustainer and Redeemer whose beauty, love and grace inspires all we do.

Happy Thanksgiving From Sunnyshore




First meeting of the new Arts Advocacy Commission

I was honored to be a part of the new Arts Advocacy Commission that met for the first time at the Stanwood City Hall last night, Monday, November 20th. The Stanwood-Camano community poured so much into me in my growing up years. I’m glad to be able to give back in this small way

What follows is an overview of our first meeting that was held Monday, November 20th. Here’s a rough draft of our purpose statement.

Arts Advocacy Commission
The Camano Arts Association (CAA) and Stanwood-Camano Arts Association (SCAG) are forming a commission that would be an umbrella for our two organizations as well as for other art and cultural organizations in our region, the Stanwood City Council and Camano and Stanwood Chambers.  Our vision is that this commission would work together to develop and advance a shared vision to make Stanwood-Camano one of the top centers and destinations for the Fine Arts in the Northwest. We believe that we are on a tipping point with our two strong Arts organizations, artist colony and art events, an openness to art being an identity and economic driver of our region by the Stanwood City Hall as well as Chambers. We believe that a shared, strategic, intentional advancement of the arts with organizational and institution muscle behind it would make the Stanwood-Camano area a (perhaps the) regional destination for art, and be an integral part of the flourishing of our region.

First meeting Attenders

Present at our first meeting were Ryan Larsen, Russ Riddle, Mark Ellinger, Susan Seymour, Roy Johnson, and myself.

Ryan Larsen is the Community Development Director for the City of Stanwood. The City of Stanwood has wanted to see more collaboration and synergy with the Camano Arts Association (CAA) and Stanwood-Camano Arts Guild (SCAG). Stanwood sees the role that the Arts can play in creating an identity for our region, and wants to support our efforts at collaborating.


Russ Riddle is a member of the Camano Arts Association. He is a woodworker who specializes in “creative studio furniture designs made by hand in Washington with rare local woods, marquetry and inlay.” He is passionate about advocating for the arts because he sees how art can be a powerful economic driver of our region, but we are not taking advantage of that yet.

russ riddle

Mark Ellinger is a member of both CAA and the Stanwood Camano Arts Guild (SCAG). He has been a glassblower in Stanwood “for a long time.” He is the owner of Glass Quest where he teams up with his son Marcus. Mark was instrumental in starting “The Great Northwest Glass Quest” which has become a big attraction in a slow time of the year (February).


Roy Johnson Roy is a metal sculptor who works with found objects to create art. He has been a past president and vice president of the SCAG. He knows what persistence in working towards a dream looks like. For 20 years SCAG dreamed and worked towards having a physical space. Now for the past 5 years they have had a physical gallery and classroom in Stanwood and it has been successful.

Roy Johnson

Susan Seymour is a member of both CAA and SCAG. Her background is in Art Education and Community Activism around the Arts. A relative newcomer to the area, Susan has worked on a couple of projects to integrate art and community. She is passionate to see young artists encouraged and cultivated.

Susan Seymour

Jason Dorsey (me) is the Artistic Director of Sunnyshore Studio on Camano Island. For thirteen years before moving to Camano Island he was involved with the Harrison Center for the Arts (, a thriving art center in downtown Indianapolis. A native of Camano Island, Jason is passionate about giving back to this place and sees how Art can be a powerful identity for our region. His dad, Jack Dorsey, played a role in Leavenworth’s adopting a “Bavarian Village” identity and knows it can be done.

Jason close up 2

Discussion of our organization’s vision & strategy
We had a lively discussion about the place and role of Arts in our region. Here is my impression of what was said (not word for word).

Russ: Art is a huge economic opportunity. CAA does a “big event” once a year. The Studio tour. It brings over 4,000 people to the Island, over 50% of those are from outside the area (Seattle, Vancouver, etc.). It has a huge following of people. A quarter of a million dollars are brought in through this event. Approximately $30,000-$40,000 is invested in the tour. So we have shown the kind of impact that we can have. But what kind of business would invest 30K to make 250K and do this only once a year? We need to find a way to leverage what we are already doing. We need to see what a powerful economic driver Art can be and maximize that.

Mark: CAA concentrates on the Studio Tour. That’s pretty much their focus. We need to work on getting involved in other events, like what the Guild is trying to do. The Guild does several events to promote Art. There big event is Art by the Bay. It is good to get CAA and the Guild to work together on creating more large scale events.

Roy: The Guild’s purpose has been to promote a fellowship of artists. Our Gallery gives a physical presence in Stanwood that is important. Besides displaying art from our Guild artists, we have classroom space. We have more and more people who stop at the Guild, express appreciation for its art, attend its classes. Our physical presence has been important.

Susan: Stanwood has a unique demographic. You don’t have a typical art clientele, i.e. wealthy people, here. So it is important for the Arts to flourish that you have a strategy of bringing people “in” from the outside who have lots of disposable money and are looking for a cultural experience. To make this happen you have to have a push from City Planning, you have to have a vision for this at the top. I’ve seen this happen in a small town in Utah called “Midway”. It starts with City Planning. It starts with a vision to be an arts destination. So my question is what is going on with planning and zoning to make this art destination thing happen?

Ryan: There’s a lot going on with the City of Stanwood right now. The City purchased the historic Ovenell Farm (near the bridge), the Johnson Farm also, so we are working on plans to develop these farms to make them a destination from visitors and to open them to the public. We are working on a master plan. This will highlight the beauty and nature of our region. We would also like to see a large sculpture, a defining installation outside of the new high school that is going to be built. This would be a great symbol of the connection to the arts in our region. We are also working on a plan to see if we can purchase at a low cost the Josephine Sunset home. If we do that, we’ll need to repurpose that space.

Jason: At a previous meeting to discuss the idea of starting this Arts Advocacy Commission, Karla Matzke was saying how cool it would be if there was sculptures along the canal trail that will join these two farms. This would be a great way to merge art and nature. Camano already has two excellent Sculpture parks. Also, I’m working on making a pitch for some of our master artists in our region to have their work permanently displayed at the new high school. I experienced this in Indianapolis Public Schools where some of art of the great artists of Indiana hung in the walls of the schools.

Roy: What is lacking is an identity for the Stanwood-Camano area. We have no identity. But Art could be that identity that pulls all the disparate pieces together. People could go to Stanwood-Camano knowing that you are going to have this great experience with art.

Russ: Two things strike me. First, Camano has that “intangible place” thing developers like so much. People want to come to the Island. They are attracted to this place, for its natural beauty and its art. The other thing that strikes me is that we are not exploiting this attraction to Camano like we should. It should be a big inducement to local business to capitalize on this incredible place.

All: As a destination it has a drawback. There’s very few places to stay. You have the charming cabins at the State Park and some Air B & B’s. But no hotels.

Ryan: There’s been a recent study showing the need for a hotel. It’s being floated with hotel groups. But they have their numbers and trigger points. The things that they need to see to make their decision. We have to prove that there is the need, the traffic.

Jason: CAA’s vision is to be a regional center, a destination, for the arts. And we are currently working on a strategic plan to move our vision forward. This includes goals of raising awareness in the arts, art education, and more of a physical presence of art on Camano. We are moving in the direction of doing more than just the tour. If we can combine our forces with SCAG and other art and cultural institutions through this Arts Advocacy Group we can help make the case for things that would make it more of a destination, like the Hotel.

Other Organizations, Businesses and Institutions that should he at the table

We discussed who should be invited to join us on this Arts Advocacy Board?
We plan to invite the Stanwood Historical Society, the Pilchuck School, and other Stanwood/Camano business leaders. We’ve already invited both the Stanwood and Camano Chambers. They have said that they are too busy to be able to send a person to sit on the Art Advocacy Commission, but they want us to send a member of our Commission to sit on their board. We talked about how we can do that, but that we want to push back a little with the Chambers and make the case that Art really can be a BIG economic driver in our region. Having a chamber member sit on the Arts Advocacy Board would be a strong symbol of buy in to the strategic importance of Art as an identity in our region, and our region a center and destination for the arts.

(Potential) Action Items of the Arts Advocacy

We talked establishing quarterly “Large Scale” events. We already have three large scale art events: (1) The Camano Studio Tour (May), (2) Art by the Bay (July), (3) Glass Quest (February.). We should continue to promote these and help grow them, doubling their size in the next couple of years. In the future we will consider ways that we can advocate for the current “large scale” events?

We also discussed launching a “Plein Air” competition in August that would draw artists from around the nation.  The vision is that in August we would host a big plein air event with significant prize money that would attract national talent. Our beautiful location, many parks, etc. would be an ideal location for artists to paint, and fans to watch. Classes could also be offered during this week. There are many popular plein air competitions nationally that we could draw ideas from. We agreed that this could be a powerful event at many levels. What are the next steps we should take in encouraging a large scale plein air event.

We discussed working toward having a physical location that highlights Art in this region that could serve as a center for the Arts, classroom space, etc. I shared how CAA is working towards having a physical location. We see this as a long-term goal. So this fits our objectives. SCAG already has a physical location. But they have to use their Gallery space for classes. It would be great if there was a place where classes could be taught.
The location of a facility is important. Because we desire it to tie Stanwood and Camano together it would be best if it was near the bridge or in a visible location in Stanwood, i.e. on the main street if possible. What are potential facilities? “The Shack” in Everett is a great example of a physical center for the Arts. We discussed different possibilities that could be a physical place/symbolic presence for the place of Art in the community.

What are the plans for the Twin City Foods Space? This could be an awesome multi-purpose space. It could be home for (1) a “Museum of History and Art” of our region, (2) it could have an “artist colony” and gallery where artists studio spaces could be built out and offered to artists at low cost, with a nice Gallery space for them to show their art at; (3) it could also have a multi-purpose performing arts/community space that could be rented out to theater groups, churches, etc.



The next Arts Advocacy Commission meeting will be Monday, December 18th, 2017, at 4:00-5:00 pm at Stanwood City Hall. I don’t plan on sharing such a full-length report from our meetings, but I thought that it would be interesting to recap the inaugural meeting. From the synergy and passion at our first meeting, I expect this group to make a big impact on the Art Scene and Identity of our region.



Fun opening weekend for second annual Dorsey Family Christmas Show

We had a fun opening weekend Sunnyshore Studio’s Dorsey Family second annual Christmas show, “Christmas on Camano.” Here are some of the highlights.

My brother Jed and I cut down our Christmas tree. Our plan is to “home grow” the Studio’s tree each year!

Jenny decorated it beautifully.


And, as she always does, mom made the space so beautiful with her gift of decorating and all the pretty things she has.


On Friday night Jenny led the “unveiling” of my  Dad’s annual Christmas painting and cards.


It’s a lovely scene from the Cedarhome area.


There was art from every family member. Fairie’s by Fanny Y. Cory.


Watercolors by Jack Dorsey.


Ann Dorsey had her bright acrylic paintings on display, as well as her new Camano Island poster!

The siblings all had paintings too. Jason’s watercolors.


April’s acrylics and mixed media.


And Jed’s acrylics.


Jed had top sales for the opening (no surprise there!), which we were all very happy at as he makes his living as an artist. He has quite a fan base in Washington, and his art is prized by collectors.

Jed painted live on Saturday, and it was impressive to watch his painting take shape.



The finished product is really quite impressive. I can’t show it here. But it will be for sale on Saturday for a mere 900$.

Most special was seeing friends and artist colleagues from Camano. We are trying to build community through art, and it’s awesome to see that happening.



We’ll be open the follow five Saturdays from 10:00am-5:00pm. We’d love it if you would stop by, view the art, shop for gifts for friends and family, and enjoy one of Mom’s cinnamon rolls.


“Christmas on Camano” The Dorsey Family’s Second Annual Christmas Show opens this Weekend!

The Dorsey family is putting on their second annual Christmas show, “Christmas on Camano”, for six weeks this November into December. The opening reception is Friday, November 3rd, from 6:00-9:00pm. It will run on Saturdays, from 10am-5pm, on November 4th, 11th, 18th, 25th and December 2nd and 9th.

Here are some of the highlights that you can look forward to. We’d love to have you join us.

Jed Dorsey in the house

We are thrilled to have Jed with us on opening weekend. He will be hosting at the studio on Friday, November 3rd and Saturday, November 4th. Friends of Jed and art patrons and collectors will want to come on these openings days if you want to have your pick of Jed’s beautiful and very desired acrylics!

a IMG_5349 resized

Jack Dorsey Christmas Card and Art

Legendary northwest artist Jack Dorsey will be unveiling his annual Christmas painting and Christmas card. Christmas cards from this years painting and previous years will be available. Here’s Jack’s Christmas painting from a few years ago.

Greeting Card

Quite a few of Jack’s new original works will be displayed too. Here’s your chance to collect a painting from one of Washington’s “vintage” artists.

Jack Dorsey, watercolor,2017 CAA brochure, 300 dpi

April Nelson artworks

People say, and this is generally agreed on in the family, that April has the most natural artistic talent, and could be the best painter of the whole family. April’s friends and collectors will be excited to see new acrylic, watercolor and mixed media works.

April Nelson, acrylic, 2017 CAA Brochure 300 dpi

Fanny Y. Cory

We are thrilled to share that we have the whole of our matriarch, Fanny Y. Cory’s classic Fairy Alphabet prints framed and for sale at the very reasonable price of $70. Here’s your chance to pick the perfect fairy for your child’s (or grandchild’s) bedroom, whether boy or girl!

Fanny Y. Cory, Daffodils

Jason Dorsey

New paintings by Jason Dorsey will be on display, as well as affordable prints. The Artistic Director of Sunnyshore Studio is slowly getting his art groove going and it’s fun to see his fresh new watercolors of Camano area scenes.



You can buy a wide, and growing, assortment of posters at Sunnyshore Studio. Here are a couple of examples. They make perfect gifts for family and friends.

In this home we let kids be kids

Camano Island Poster


Lots of books

Sunnyshore Studio is proud to be the publisher of a number of Camano and northwest themed books. Stop by to check out our growing collection!


And Ann Cory Dorsey Cinnamon rolls

Last but not least, stop by for a complimentary Ann Cory Dorsey cinnamon roll. Those who have tasted one of these sweet, warm, melt-in-your-mouth treats know what we are talking about. Because Christmas is about much more than art. It is about relationships. It is about community. It is about giving and sharing love, that was demonstrated in the greatest gift of all. God’s giving His only son for the life of the world.

We look forward to sharing this with you!

Crab Cracker Christmas Show Color



I was able to attend one day of Jed Dorsey’s October workshop

I was able to attend the first day of Jed Dorsey’s October workshop at Sunnyshore Studio that took place Wednesday through Saturday of last week. Jed started off the day with a mini-lecture on what it takes to make a good artist: (1) desire, (2) opportunity, (3) encouragement, and (4) practice.

a IMG_5351 resized

Jed is an engaging and encouraging speaker. I was struck by one of the goals for the workshop that he shared. He said that one of his goals was that people would feel loved as persons, not just for their artistic performance. I thought this was great because deep down we all want to be valued not for what we do but who we are.

I sensed that the workshop participants did feel loved.

It was fun to hang out with my dad and my sister, April, who both participated in the workshop.

Having Dad in a workshop is like having a second instructor because he spends a lot of his time going around and chatting, sharing tips, critiques, etc.

Jed demonstrated throughout the day. You always learn a lot by watching another artist paint. And he’s pretty good.

Everyone worked hard on their art paintings throughout the day.

And ended up with some great paintings!

Plus we had time together to visit and just be in community.

All in all it was a great workshop…We’re already planning for another Jed Dorsey workshop in October.

Here’s a fun little video I made up of our time together. Enjoy.

The Cultural Legacy of Fanny Y. Cory: Grandkids, Great Grandkids and beyond

On Friday, October 13th, the family of Fanny Y. Cory gathered at Sunnyshore Studio to celebrate her life and to be together as a family. Many came from Oklahoma, and one all the way from New Jersey. Over 70 were able to attend, and it was sweet to be together after all these years.

Each of Fanny’s grandkids that were there – Margaret Day, Bud Dodgson, Robert Dodgson, and Ann Dorsey – introduced their family “clan.”

It is remarkable to how many of the family are gifted artistically. In this blog we will introduce you to some of them through short videos.

We’ll start with the Day Brothers who provided great bluegrass music throughout the opening weekend.

The Day Bros Cropped Tractor

David Day

Daniel Day

John Day 

David’s daughter, Amanda Pearson, is a very talented, creative artist. Here is a little bit about her and some footage of her art. We’re hoping that she will display some of her art at the Mother’s Day show in May!



My daughter, Jackie Dorsey, is quite a talent herself.

Jackie Dorsey


My cousin, Beth Day, traveled all the way from California. She spoke about her son Patrick’s art.

Patrick Day


My Uncle Bud is a folk artist. He makes bolo ties out of old cd’s and dvd’s, each with a cross on it, each meant to share the love of God. I didn’t get an interview of Bud but I did get a video of his folk art. He gives them away for free.

Bud Dodgson


We also had art from Sayre Dodgson (daughter of Fanny Y. Cory), Ann Cory Dorsey (granddaughter of FYC), and Robert Dodgson (grandson of FYC). I didn’t get interviews of them either. But I do have a video that celebrates our family’s time together. Enjoy!



Release Announcement of Queen of Montana Beach: the story of artist Fanny Y. Cory.

Sunnyshore Studio announces the release of Toni McCarty’s biography of artist Fanny Y. Cory, Queen of Montana Beach.

In this fast-paced, engaging, captivating biography you will discover Fanny Y. Cory, one of the top illustrators and cartoonists in the twentieth century. You will watch her overcome great sadness and bring smiles to people across America. There is something in this book for everyone! Artists will be inspired by her artistic career, motivated by the desire to provide for her family. History buffs will enjoy snapshots of New York City at the turn of the century, life on a ranch in Montana during the years of the Great Depression, and life on Camano Island in the 1950’s and 60’s. And people who love children will be delighted at a woman who captured them in all of their innocence and whimsy.

You can purchase a copy at our Studio or our online store:



Thanks for Fanny Cory by David A. Day

Margaret Day, the granddaughter of F.Y. Cory and her husband Kenneth embarked on an incredible life adventure with their family starting in the late 50’s. Their relationship was forged in the fire of God’s love by the joining of 2 very different people who committed to one another to live life and raise a family in harmony with His plan.


Our family consisted of 5 children, 2 girls (Debbie and Beth) bookending the 3 brothers (David, Daniel and John).


Reflecting back on our experiences growing up, it now seems that just about everything in our lives did not conform to the societal norms. We wore hand-sewn clothes, rode in used cars that had been bought from someone Dad knew (never a new car), ate home-made foods (rarely went out to eat), drove 30 miles to church, and were encouraged to think and dream expansively.


Our parents wanted to do the best job they could in raising our family, and committed to sending all 5 of us to a Christian school in Mt. Vernon through 8th grade even though it was a big sacrifice. Mom and Dad did not want our brains to turn to mush – so no TV was allowed in our house for many years. Without the numbing influence of TV and secular radio, mom and dad intended for us to be creative and self-sufficient. I don’t remember any idea being squashed, or dream not having being attempted – we built tree forts, tanned a goat hide in the basement on the pool table (unsuccessfully…), made a wind tunnel and chickens were raised in the bathroom for science projects, Mom sewed a Daniel Boone outfit for Daniel out of a deer hide. By the way, this is just scratching the surface.

I didn’t realize how much Fanny Cory influenced my mom until sitting down with her earlier this year to ask her about her memories of her grandma and what she was like. Mom’s eyes lit up as she told me about the summers she and her siblings spent at the Canyon Ferry Ranch in Montana with their grandma and grandpa, and then the times spent at ”Meetsy’s” (Fanny’s nickname) Montana Beach cabin on Camano Island later in life.

I had made the commitment to my cousin Jason that I would write a tribute song to honor my great-grandma Meetsy to be sung by The Day Brothers at the celebration in honor of her 140th birthday. This song became “Thanks for Fanny Cory”

Music has played such an integral part of life in the Day family that it is impossible to even picture our life without music. Dad was an incredible singer, and had an infectious enthusiasm that drew people to sing along with him – whether leading congregational worship at church, playing his guitar or gathering around the piano to sing with the family. Mom loved music, and encouraged our musical adventures, but she was disappointed in her own musical contribution. We all took piano lessons until we could play a hymn of our own choosing, and most of us played musical instruments in school. All 5 of us can sing, and we can harmonize intuitively which is how our Dad sang – he could pick out various parts, and could sing with any of us, mixing in a harmony part that fit in to fill out the harmonious sound when singing with him. One of our special traditions in the Day family is to sing this grace acapella to the tune of the Doxology: Be present at our table, Lord. Be here and everywhere adored. These mercies bless and grant that we may strengthened for Thy service be. Amen.

We sang 4-part harmony to hymns in church or for special occasions as a family, but the 3 Day Brothers didn’t sing together until much later in life. I was 4 years older than Daniel, and while growing up didn’t work very hard to do things with the “little kids” (Daniel, John and Beth) and moved out of the house the day I turned 18, and was married to Karen by the age of 19! Daniel and John were only 1 ½ years apart and did many things together, and Daniel and John started singing and writing songs in high school and college. Our journey singing together as the Day Brothers started a decade ago when the 3 of us sang “Day by Day” at the church in Bellevue that John pastored. One of his parishioners heard us sing, and suggested that our strong vocal presence and harmony would lend itself to singing bluegrass.

At that time, I didn’t know what bluegrass was, and didn’t particularly think anything of that suggestion – but Daniel and John took that ball and ran with it. John started a bluegrass gospel jam in the basement with the help of his parishioner Mike who made that first suggestion. Daniel would drive down from Stanwood to go to that jam once per month and it was a howling success. Our dad had suffered a severe stroke that had silenced his voice – he would have loved this bluegrass adventure, but never got to participate with us in this endeavor. My melancholy perspective from watching my dad suffer and the death of my father-in-law changed my perspective on music. Prior to this, I was a strong advocate of contemporary music in the church, and was a worship leader with great enthusiasm for the role of music and worship in the church. But I found that as time went on, for the first time in my life, the response of my heart responding to music and worship had stopped. I would just sit in church – and be silent! That had never happened before. Dan and John invited me to drive up to Bellevue to their bluegrass gospel jam, and let me come bringing an electronic autoharp that I had bought to play something (at that time, I didn’t play any acoustic stringed instrument). I will never forget the experience of sitting at that jam, and as we sang songs like “Pass Me Not” or “In the Garden” tears would well up in my eyes, and my heart would leap once again as I thought about this amazing God who sent his Son to die for a lost world! My heart wasn’t dead after all it just needed a different perspective! For me, my journey to bluegrass was really a journey back to God.

The Day Brothers really jelled as we sang to comfort our brother John’s heart as he went through a very difficult season in his personal life. We found that as we sang together, time stopped, and we were transported to a very special realm where God was able to comfort and console. We now look for opportunities to share songs with others that move our hearts, and our hope is that by sharing these songs, it will touch the souls of our listeners. While John has been writing songs for years, Daniel was the next to add his voice in creating songs, and I have now dipped my toe with great trepidation into that adventure more recently. We love giving voice to experiences that have impacted our lives – our songs can be tender and heart-felt, tongue-in-cheek or even ironic.

Our great-grandma’s creative energy has flown through us in other ways. Daniel and I are now building instruments – this part of the journey started when Daniel moved to Oklahoma and found a luthier who taught a class on guitar building. I was able to find a similar program in Portland, and each of us now have built 6 or 7 instruments. It’s almost like we want to give new life and purpose to the wood from the trees, and we are especially interested in the quality and character of the instrument’s tone, while featuring the beauty of the wood.

One of the things that struck me while reflecting on Meetsy was that as she observed the world, she was able to see nuances of expression that she could somehow convey through her drawings. As I look at her painting “The end of a perfect day”, in my mind I can actually picture many times our family returned from some exhausting adventure or quest, and feel that tired satisfaction of having provided an experience for my family that they will never forget. That picture is the one that I was imagining while writing the chorus for “Thanks for Fanny Cory”. The first verse was taken from my conversation from my mother as she would share about how fun-loving and engaging that Meetsy was. She must have had an incredible imagination – and just maybe a part of her is influencing me since I am enjoying creating instruments that are unique and unlike any other instrument. She saw animals that existed, and imagined others that she saw with her mind’s eye – and brought us into that whimsical world. This is what I was alluding to in the 2nd verse of the song. My hope is that this song will speak to your heart, and like my great grandmother Fanny Cory, you will see the best in people, and that your curiosity about life will drive you on an unending, incredible quest for adventure.

Sunnyshore Opening Poster

The Grunt and Groan Art Club

I personally don’t remember not having my wonderful Grandma Meetsy  (Grandma Meetsy = nationally known illustrator, comic strip artist, Fanny Y. Cory) living across the road and down a lane from our Camano Island farm home.   I was the youngest of her daughter, Sayre’s, four children.

Dr. D, Bob Cooney, Mar D, Carol, FYC, Bud, Rob, Ted, Kay, Jean, Ann

Family picture with Fanny’s daughter, Sayre Dodgson’s, and son, Bob Cooney’s, and their children at the Dodgson farm on Camano Island. Ann Cory Dorsey is the little girl in the white dress, bottom right. Margaret Day  is standing third from the left in the back row. Fanny Y. Cory is at the top, far right. 

I also don’t remember there NOT being a “Grunt and Groan Art Club” but it was something that came to be after our grandma moved near us from her Montana ranch.   I grew up with it being an important part of our lives!

Meetsy's pictures I own, Robert scanned 007

Painting of a Grunt and Groan Art Club Member fast at work by Fanny Y. Cory

My older sister, Margaret Day, recalled her memories of the club’s early days, and how it came to be,  in a letter to her granddaughter, Amanda Day.  I could not say it better and being the youngest, I do not even know all these early details – and so I will share my sister’s story.

Margaret wrote, “Whenever we went over to her (Grandma Meetsy’s) house to visit,  we would sit around the big round oak table… which looked out on a lovely view of Puget sound.  There were always watercolor sets, brushes and Strathmore board small pieces sitting out and while we visited, we’d paint the view we saw.  We’d ask each other how we were doing on the sky, tree, sound, mountains and usually the only answer would be a congenial grunt ‘um hah!’”.  Or, as Margaret continued,  “One of the artists would exclaim over a less than perfect effect with a low ‘oh no!’ groan.”

Hence came the “birth of the ‘Grunt and Groan Club’” of which she was a charter member.  Of course, Meetsy and her daughter, Sayre, were the high officers.  My brothers Bud and Robert were probably charter members too .

Grunt and Groan Art Club postcard, Mar 4, 1957, Meetsy to Margaret resized b

A letter from Fanny Y. Cory to Margaret when she was at Nursing School in Chicago keeping her informed of the latest on the Grunt and Groan Art Club. 

However, personally as the youngest sibling, I remember worrying about painting something worthy enough to get myself into actual membership.  As I recall, I felt that I had achieved standing in the club with a piece I considered an exceptionally good art effort when I was about 12!

One thing about this art club, it was for fun.  It was not an instructional time at all.  I only remember two things about art that my Grandma ever told me all the years I knew her.  I treasure them like gold!

Some of Meetsy’s paintings during the “Grunt and Groan” sessions.

The club was resurrected many years later at my mother’s home in Stanwood.  Again young artists gathered around the same oak table.  This time it had been carefully covered with plastic tablecloths and on a certain day of the week for some months they all practiced painting with acrylic.

My mom, Sayre, now in her late 90’s was a happy observer, Margaret and I joined right into the fun one more time.  The youngsters were mainly Margaret’s grandchildren.  It ended up, some days at different times, there were maybe 9 of them who enjoyed this extra time of community art.  We older members gave some guidelines to the younger members, and we all did the proper amount of “grunting and groaning” as we attempted our great artist endeavors !

Once in a while, my husband, artist Jack Dorsey, stopped by and couldn’t resist giving an art pointer or two.  Unfortunately I can’t find photos of our larger group days together immersed in art – but did find photos of one day.


Anyway, may the “Grunt and Groan Art Club” live on forever at least in heart, as young people are encouraged to just try their hand in this wonderful world of color, form, design, creativity called “art”.

by Ann Cory Dorsey in collaboration with Margaret Day 


1 2 18
%d bloggers like this: