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HISTORY OF F.Y. CORY PUBLISHERS, INC. By Sandra and Robert Dodgson, August 1st, 2017

In 1947, a year after her husband Fred Cooney died, 69-year-old Fanny Y. Cory purchased a cabin across the street from the farm where her daughter Sayre and family lived on Camano Island, WA. It was to be used as her part-time residence during the sweltering Montana summers.

This cabin was originally attached to a garage further back in the woods and Grandpa George Dodgson sawed the “cabin” from the garage and moved it closer to the high bluff and built the brick fireplace. Later neighbor Bill Smith added a bedroom.  While Fanny was still in Montana she corresponded with Sayre about putting in an oil furnace and a big picture window. While she was in residence at her cabin, she continued her hectic daily schedule of creating her “Sonnysayings” and “Little Miss Muffet” cartoons.

Fanny moved to Camano Island permanently when her ranch near Helena, Montana was flooded in 1952. Even though her primary residence was then Camano Island, for a number of years she rented an apartment in Helena for extended periods to visit family and friends there. She continued her cartooning career from wherever she was, until the age of 79 years in 1956.

Living in the more mild climate of Washington State suited Fanny. With a longer growing season she grew  flower gardens as well as asparagus and other vegetables and enjoyed the apples from her fruit trees. Mostly she enjoyed her daughter Sayre and her family who lived so close and interacted with them on a daily basis. Her grandchildren fondly remember her homemade Snickerdoodle cookies and her imaginative reading of the classics to them or telling of original stories. An outgoing, social person, she made friends with her neighbors and others in the community and attended the local Episcopalian church. Modest to a fault, she never bragged about her world-wide fame and most of her friends and acquaintances did not realize the celebrity of their interesting, friendly neighbor.

FYC enjoying morning at Montana Beach a

Even after she retired from her career of cartooning, Fanny continued to paint for enjoyment in watercolors and even tried her hand at oils. The location of her cabin overlooking Saratoga Passage toward the Olympic Mountains and views of the woods and her gardens provided her endless subject matter for her many paintings. She was a great encourager of her daughter Sayre in continuing her art education by drawing and painting and encouraged her grandchildren to paint as well.

Over the years, Fanny had shown various family members, along with her other paintings, her original 26 watercolor paintings with verse that came to be known as “The Fairy Alphabet”. She had said how she always wanted to have them made into a book but because of the elaborate colors and the limitations of the printing systems of the time, she had always been told that making them into a book would be too expensive.

Fanny Y. Cory, Daffodils

In her later years, after her eyesight and hearing failed and she could not safely live alone, she went to live with her daughter Sayre and family in the nearby town of Stanwood.

FYC, Stanwood, Mike Cooney

Even though she lived full-time in Stanwood, she loved to be taken out to her cabin on Camano for visits. It still contained all of her familiar things just as she had left them.

In about 1968, in Fanny’s heavy, old sideboard drawer where she had stored much of her artwork over the years, mice had nibbled edges of paintings and in the bottom of that drawer, in a box with a hole nibbled in the corner, Robert and Sandra retrieved the aging but still beautiful original watercolor paintings of the “Fairy Alphabet”. In fact there was an extra “D” painting showing daffodils with girls’ faces that was painted at the same time as the other Fairy Alphabet paintings but because Fanny thought it did not fit in with the other fairies, she painted the Dryad painting to replace it (you can see this painting above). By this time, these painting were about fifty years old and although the paintings had been kept out of the light, the paper was beginning to show damage.

Worrying about the fragility of the original paintings, and with the permission of Fanny and Sayre, Robert made protective sleeves for each painting, hand-press lettered each verse on its sleeve and carefully inserted each fragile painting into its protective sleeve.  It became obvious to him that it would not be long before these beautiful paintings would be destroyed and lost to posterity.  Also there were discussions of what would happen to the Fairy Alphabet originals when Fanny was gone. Some family members thought they should be divided among family members. Thinking about what Fanny had said about her desire to have them made into a book and given Fanny’s advanced age and hoping to get a book published while she was still living and while the originals were still together, Robert and Sandra began to brainstorm as to how to get published  this work Fanny had so lovingly created. With modern printing techniques maybe it would be possible to have them finally made into a book. Thinking that anyone who saw this artwork would be anxious to publish it, with Fanny and Sayre’s blessing, Robert photographed each painting and Sandra agreed to hand carry the photographs and pitch them to a publisher when she was in New York in route to Europe in 1969. She had already researched how to get a publisher and had corresponded with many of them to no avail.

It was not lost on 26-year-old Sandra when she arrived at Grand Central Station, having traveled across Canada and down to New York City by train, and clutching the photos of “The Fairy Alphabet” in her hand, that she was about to embark on the same path Fanny had taken to see a publisher when she was only 18 or 19 years old. With her bags stored in a locker at Grand Central Station, Sandra called a taxi, handed the driver a piece of paper on which she had written the address of the publisher and sat nervously on the edge of her seat as the taxi headed for the derelict Bowery district. She was more than a little apprehensive when the taxi stopped on a deserted city block and the driver pointed to an old tall, dark building. Sandra exited the cab, paid the fare and headed to the flight of stairs leading up to a big, heavy door. She couldn’t decide whether she wanted the door to be locked or not. If it were locked, she could retreat to the cab that was still waiting below and escape this scary adventure. The door was unlocked, however, and she entered into a dark, cool vestibule with another flight of iron steps, steeply ascending to a higher floor.

It was totally quiet and Sandra could hear her footfalls on the iron steps that were worn in the center from so many hopeful souls having traversed them over the years. And they were slippery!  Sandra thought of Fanny’s story about her coming to see this same publisher (Harpers?) to get started as a commercial illustrator and realized that she was now putting her feet in the same footprints previous made by Fanny about 70 years earlier.

From what she could see, the building seemed deserted but when she reached the higher floor, there was a door with the name of the publishing company lettered on its translucent window. As she had prearranged, she met with the publisher and showed him the photographs of the paintings.. She presented all the reasons he should publish the Fairy Alphabet book not the least of which that his company had published her work in the past.

Recognizing Sandra’s naiveté, the publisher kindly explained some of the facts of publishing to her. The biggest stumbling block the family was going to encounter, he said, was the fact that there was no single authority to deal with the publisher. They would need the owner of the material to work with or if not the owner, than whosoever the owner gave such authority to. Also, the age of Fanny being by then 91 years old was a problem for a publisher who would worry there could be some disruption during the publication process. If Fanny were to give authority to someone else, it needed to be in a legal document, naming also a third person who would then have authority to speak for the owner. Sayre was then about 62 years old which the publisher said was also too old to be the sole entity.. “What about you?” he asked Sandra. He explained that having a young person with the authority to sign contracts and negotiate conditions would be an advantage in getting the book published. When Sandra pushed for some commitment by the publisher that if she got all of his suggestions implemented, that he would be interested in publishing the book, he politely declined. It was not the kind of book that would fit in with their current list of published works he said. It was a discouraging setback and nothing further was done with the Fairy Alphabet for a few years more.

In 1972, Fanny died at the home of her daughter, Sayre, and was taken back to Helena, MT, to be buried beside her husband Fred in the Cooney family plot. Fanny’s house and all her possessions including her paintings were inherited by her daughter Sayre.

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In late 1972, Sayre sold her mother’s cabin and property on Camano Island, WA, to her son, Fanny Y. Cory’s grandson, Robert George Dodgson, and his wife Sandra. Because the house was still full of Fanny’s belongings, Robert and Sandra began to pack them up and transport them to Sayre’s house in Stanwood. There had been so many years where no one had lived in the house that the mice had taken over. There was a mouse nest in the back of the stove and at night, little mouse feet could be heard scurrying across the linoleum floor. Although Robert was a full-time and then some, self-employed designer, marketer and builder of model sailplane kits that enjoyed international distribution, he began to immediately remodel Fanny’s 630 square foot cabin of three rooms into a two-bedroom house with separate kitchen, dining room, living room, bathroom and utility room. Their daughter, Heather, was two years old when they moved from their houseboat on Lake Union in Seattle to “Montana Beach” on Camano Island. Their second daughter, Megan was born in August of 1974.

The opportunity to have the “Fairy Alphabet” published in Fanny’s lifetime had been missed but living in her house, surrounded by memories of her life there and some of the scenery that inspired so many of her paintings, once again encouraged Robert and Sandra to consider how they could get the “Fairy Alphabet” published. Sandra had seen first hand that her father and aunt had formed a family corporation to handle the real estate and orchards they inherited from their mother. Also she had worked in law offices and  experienced handling corporate documents and  maintaining corporations and was also aware of liability issues of businesses and corporations. The idea of forming a family corporation to publish the “Fairy Alphabet” was starting to take shape.

Sayre repeatedly voiced her great desire to have “the Fairies” published in a book. Having inherited the original paintings from her mother, she offered to give them to the corporation so that they could be made into a book as her mother had always wanted. After Robert and Sandra talked to Sayre and her husband Tom and Sayre’s brother Bob Cooney and his wife Carol, it was decided that the family of Fanny Y. Cory Cooney should form a corporation and act as the publisher to get the “Fairy Alphabet” made into a book. Sayre’s other family members as well as her brother Ted and wife Virginia were invited to join in the venture but they all declined. A lawyer was hired to draw up the legal documents to create the corporation.

F.Y. Cory Publishers, Inc. (The Corporation) is a Washington Corporation, formed in July 1976 by Sayre and Tom Dodgson, Bob and Carol Cooney and Robert and Sandra Dodgson. The Corporation was formed for the purpose of getting published the Fairy Alphabet by F. Y. Cory in book form. To accomplish that end, The Corporation self-published the paintings as 4” x 5” cards and as 8” x 10” art prints to increase interest in the prospective book and to bring some income to The Corporation to meet its expenses. The cards and pictures were printed by Craftsmen Press near the south end of Lake Union in Seattle. Robert and Sandra supervised the process, giving approval at various steps. Each printing could do four designs of the large size and four copies each of the same four designs of the cards. The Corporation got a total of twenty four designs of the twenty six printed. The Shareholders above named each contributed $2,000 to get The Corporation started. Later, different Shareholders loaned money for various printings. After enough product was sold, all the Shareholders were reimbursed with interest for their initial investment and all their loans.

In 1986, Robert, Sandra, Heather and Megan moved from Camano Island to Bothell, WA. The official address of The Corporation is therefore: 21230 Damson Road, Bothell, WA, and Phone Number is 425-776-8067. It is crucial to keep the Montana Historical Society apprised of the current address of The Corporation so as to avoid their automatic trigger of taking of property if they cannot contact the “owner”. The Secretary of The Corporation, therefore,  confirms with them annually the current official corporation address and phone number.

No one in The Corporation received money for all the work they did on behalf of The Corporation through the years. It was an organization driven by the shared desire to see the artist’s work published in a book. The only expenses paid by the corporation were taxes (sales and corporate/annual report/license), storing the original paintings and printing costs, envelopes, plastic card packets and other materials sold for income as well as some postage to mail correspondence and product. The Corporation has not paid for storage of product since the date of inception nor gas money for sales trips to promote its products to individual shops nor gift show fees of thousands of dollars. Members of The Corporation always paid for expenses individually or volunteered their own time and energy: Sandra kept the records and met the legal requirements of meetings, minutes and the annual report. She and Robert manned gift show booths in Seattle and San Francisco and paid all the attendant costs themselves. Carol personally visited shops in Helena and got orders and reorders. Bob and Carol’s acquaintances at the Montana Historical Society stored the original art for many years in a heat and humidity controlled vault at no cost to The Corporation and ultimately published the first book of the Fairy Alphabet in 1991.  They paid a royalty to the Corporation for each book they sold.

2004 Dorsey Family Vacation to Yellowstone and Montana 005

Over the years since the founding of F. Y. Cory Publishers, Inc., The Corporation has made additional income by licensing some of the designs of the “Fairy Alphabet” to be made into puzzles and quilt squares to name a couple products.  A second book of the “Fairy Alphabet” was published in 2011 by Riverbend Publishing and the corporation was paid a royalty for each book Riverbend sold.

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The original six shareholders, all of whom were also directors, traveled to attend the corporate annual meetings. It was also a good time to see family and visit. Often Bob and Carol Cooney came from Helena, MT, to Camano Island or sometimes Robert and Sandra with their family would travel to Helena. For the meeting after Tom’s death, Sayre traveled with Robert and Sandra and family for the annual corporate meeting which was held in Helena. Occasionally the corporation paid for dinner at a nice restaurant for the directors after the meeting. Usually the family who hosted the meeting provided dinner. In later years when neither Sayre nor Carol were able to travel, meetings were held by Consent In Lieu of  Meeting where everybody signed off on the corporate actions taken or to be taken.

Whereas F. Y. Cory Publishers, Inc. had six stockholders when it was formed in 1976, through death and inheritance there are fifteen stockholders forty-one years later. The sole asset of The Corporation remains the original 26- watercolor paintings by F. Y. Cory and the licensing rights of those paintings. The  aging note cards, 8 x 11 prints and their envelopes and plastic packet holders were divided up among the shareholders in 2013. The first book published is no longer in print and is now a collector’s item. The second book can be purchased through The Corporation or other outlets. Robert Dodgson created, pays for and maintains an F. Y. Cory Publishers, Inc.  website online at http://www.fycory.com.

 

 

 

 

“The Pact” by Ann Cory Dorsey

This was written by Ann Cory Dorsey after her beloved Grandmother Fanny Y. Cory died. It tells of a sacred moment that she and her daughter April shared with Fanny, who the family called Meetsy.

The room was filled with photos of the past and school pictures of the present. There was a yellow painted chair beside the bed holding a large hand wound clock and several bouquets of flowers. The people walked softly and most avoided the room. Meetsy was dying. Certainly she was dying this time. We had thought she was three years before when a neighbor girl had found her unresponsive lying on her couch. The ambulance had rushed her into the room in this big yellow house that had been my other grandma’s while she had lived with us. Meetsy would joke afterward how she’d always wanted to ride in an ambulance but when her chance came she didn’t even know it. But nobody joked about it then. My father, a doctor, and my mother, a nurse, did everything they could. The house was in a state of “emergency” for weeks to help ease her labored breathing and physical decline.

But then, miraculously, Meetsy rallied. She wouldn’t be able to live alone again in her beloved cottage overlooking Saratoga Passage viewing the Olympics that arched up behind Whidbey Island on clear days.

She was confined to a wheelchair because her legs were so unsteady but as she had been remarkable all her life her spirit remained remarkable under adversity. A routine of napping, writing letters or a log of the day’s events with a heavy felt pen and eating became more and more her way of life. I remember her sitting at the kitchen table with the morning sun glistening on her snow white hair. Although much of the time she could not hear, she would tell stories of her life that might well make a toad stool smile or, if she could think of nothing else she considered entertaining enough, she’d relive the characters and plots of anyone of a number of Dickens’,  Scott’s or Cooper’s books. Very little happened in the kitchen about which Meetsy did not know from watching to make sure my mother had on her sweater to exposing the more grave infractions of a visiting great grand child.

Meetsy seemed to be particularly interested when one of her grandchildren was, as she described it, “in a family way.” My mother said that when she told Meetsy that labor had started when the birth of our first child was imminent, Meets had just bowed her head in silent prayer. My mom had tried to remind her that all births were not as difficult as hers had been. Meetsy had agonized for hours with her first child but because she was so small and the boy was so big, Meetsy almost lost her own life and the baby did lose his. She had been an invalid for a year afterward and the doctor had told her never to have any more children, But, as my mom would say, “Meetsy just had to have someone to love” and she successfully gambled giving birth to three more children, one girl (my mother) and two boys.

From the time she had been 17 until well into her seventies Meetsy had been a well known artist and one of the first professional women in her field. Under her maiden name, Fanny Y. Cory, she had illustrated books, designed magazine covers and been under contract with King Features Syndicate for two comic strips, Sonny sayings and Little Miss Muffet. Much of her art work featured babies and children which she depicted with great insight. I remember remarking that she must have loved children to be able to draw them so beautifully “No, but I did love my own.

She also loved her grandchildren and great grandchildren. The proud day I laid our three day old son in her arms the years seemed to vanish from her face and the softness of motherhood filled the silence. She was remembering her own and smiling softly she said it had been so long since she’d held a tiny one. During the next few years following Meetsy’s confinement at my parents we all hoped and prayed Meetsy from one event to the other. Days flowed swiftly into months and seasons like a handkerchief chasing tears. But now she was dying for sure. After a fall she’d been bedridden and stayed so almost, it would seem, by choice. Indeed her evening prayers had often carried the petition that she be “released” and each night she faithfully kissed the small photo of her beloved sister, Agnes, who had died when she was twenty five in Meetsy’s twenty year old arms. She had hemorrhaged from the mouth as a result of tuberculosis and Meetsy in telling the story would say that when the doctor finally came and announced Agnes was dead that she had told him, “I Know. I saw the life go out of her eyes.”

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Indeed it seemed Meetsy had grown weary of what had become to her a lonely, limited world. My dad often said in that last prolonged month when she couldn’t or wouldn’t eat and hardly swallowed even water that if she would try to get well as hard as she was trying to die, she would recover. I don’t know; All I knew was a brooding sort of sadness that wanted to run to Meetsy’s house once more like I did almost every day after school when I was a girl and eat her cookies, lemon drops and gum she kept for grandchildren. I would spend the rime laughing, visiting, playing cribbage and listening to her read an exciting book until the sun set over the water and lights would start shinning one by one on Whidbey. Then we would finally bestir ourselves and break the spell for another day.

When my other grandmother had died the entire family had been there. I was still living at home that morning Daddy called me down to say grandma’s heart that had been weakening had given out and she was in a coma. She never awakened from it and the family watched and prayed as within a few hours she passed through the gates of eternal life. But, oh dear God, Meetsy lingered so. My mom and dad cared for her physically and when she had the strength at the beginning of that last sickness she would fight them vehemently for disturbing her rest. My dad felt bad for my mom and mom understood that it was not really “mother” anymore.

I didn’t get too close too often because Meetsy seemed to sleep most of the time and I didn’t want to incur her wrath. But there were sweet times too during those endless days when she was herself and so happy that someone cared enough to visit her. Still she got progressively weaker and we could only marvel that she lived at all. Her hear that had worked for 94 years seemed reluctant to let her go and so she stayed. She seemed only semi conscious much of the time but once in a while you could tell she saw and knew like the Saturday before she died when my sister rubbed her back and shoulders while visiting with her. You could tell that Meetsy was pleased.

Later that same day when I was relieving my mom so she could get some groceries, I got up my nerve to go in all alone and just sit on the bed in the shade drawn room hoping that perhaps Meetsy might be comforted just sensing someone was there even if she didn’t know who it was. We didn’t speak. She, of course, couldn’t and my heart was so full that all I was able to do was stroke her hair that was carefully brushed off her neck forming a white sculpture on the pillow, hold her hand and hope she saw only my smile and not the tears because, oh God, she knew it was I. Meetsy knew I had come. She observed as I went to get our three month old baby who was crying and when I brought her in Meetsy reached out and watched April try to touch and slap her hand. As the three of us were together I felt a voiceless identity with eternity. It was as though one small piece of it had been given to me in those precious few moments that hung like pearls being knotted on a necklace. I was with a woman whose involvement with me hung heavy with fulfilled love and dreams –and I held a baby who gurgled with sweet promises. They both belonged to me in a special way and though the two were so different, they were somehow the same as I bonded then to each other. I sensed a pact was made that day between the three of us –a pact of love that transcends years and mortal life itself. My grandma knew, April didn’t know and it had been put in my trust.

Soon Meetsy wearied and slept. April and I slipped out of her presence quietly as though she had been delirious with fever instead of age. A few evenings later while my mother was caring for her Meetsy’s breathing became further and further apart until it at last ceased. Meetsy’s prayer had been answered. She was released. Her soul had lost the confines of her small, frail body and soared to her Creator and the long anticipated rendezvous with her beloved Agnes, husband and infant son.

Following Fanny (3): The Vault at Montana’s Museum of History and some concluding reflections

On Monday Julian and I rose early. I took a “spit bath” since our campsite didn’t have showers; Julian held the outdoor spicket on so I could splash myself and laughed at my contortions trying to get clean. I wanted to freshen up because we had a meeting set at the Montana Museum of History in Helena, known as Montana’s Museum. We ate breakfast, packed our tents, and headed to Helena.

Montana’s Museum is impressive. It sits next to the state capital.

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We were early so I stopped by the bookstore while Julian took photos and video footage outside. I chatted with Rodric, the Museum Store Manager. When he heard that we were shooting a documentary on Fanny Y. Cory, and that a biography on her life is going to be released in October, he said that they would be interested in having her biography at the Musueum bookstore. He also said that there might be an opportunity in the future to do an event where we show the film and make the book available at the Museum. That was, of course, encouraging.

We had time to take a quick peak in and see the western art of Charles Russell, who was an artist and illustrator based in Montana around the same time Fanny Y. Cory lived here.

Montana's Museum 3

The main reason we were here, however, was to meet Amanda, the Curator of Collections at the museum.

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Amanda led us downstairs, into the heart of the museum. She opened a vault into the room where the Museum’s permanent collection of Fanny’s illustrations (over 200 of them!) are stored and preserved.

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She had spread out many of those artworks on the table. We say Fanny’s Sonnysayings, Little Miss Muffett, and many other illustrations I didn’t recognize at all.

The second vault we entered led into a much larger room where many of the Museum’s historic artifacts are collected and stored, and where new displays are prepared. On a table in this room Amanda had set out 5 (or so) of Fanny’s original Fairy Alphabet paintings.

I had never seen these originals before. All I can say is that they’re breathtaking, exquisite. It would be so amazing to see them all displayed together in a show.

Amanda did a great job on her interview, which will be part of the documentary.

After finishing up at the Museum, and finding out that our interview with Jacquey Cooney had to be canceled, we headed back to Redmond.

Here are a few concluding reflections on Julian and my trip.

It was so great at so many levels that Julian and I were able to do this trip together. Many years before we had taken a similar trip. In 2004, Jenny and I and our kids, Mom and Dad, and my siblings April and Jed and their families had spent a week of vacation in Montana.

Just like Julian and I had, we camped next to and played in the waters of Canyon Ferry.

Like Julian and I did, we had enjoyed the colors on the distant hills.

And photographed the moon over the waters.

2004 Dorsey Family Vacation to Yellowstone and Montana 192 (1)

As Julian and I did, we had visited St. Joseph’s church where Fred and Fanny had been married.

And Mom and Dad had even tracked down the owner’s of the land where Fanny’s studio sits and had been able to take a tour of it. I was too exhausted at the time to go with them to see the studio.

Mom and Dad had also stopped at the Montana Museum. They had seen some of the original Fairy Alphabet pieces, and mom had her picture taken next to her grandmother’s photograph.

FYC honoring at Helena State Capital, 2004

They had also visited Fanny’s grave.

Back then Mom’s pilgrimage didn’t mean as much to me as it does now. And I’m sure it doesn’t mean as much to Julian now as it does to me. Time and life has a way of deepening our appreciate of our forebears and of their legacy in our life.

Nevertheless, what a beautiful thing that Julian was willing to go with me, and serve the project as our photographer and videographer. It was a sacred three days we spent together.

Julian’s middle name is “Cory” after Fanny Y. Cory. I can’t wait to see how he lives into the legacy of culture making that is his.

I’m honored to be the grandson of Fanny Y. Cory and that I get this chance to help tell her story. She faced so much suffering with courage, grit and zest; out of death and pain she brought joy and beauty and life. She somehow combined the hard work of ranch life with a continual stream of creative illustrations, bringing joy to thousands daily through the newspapers where he cartoons were syndicated.

And I’m honored to be able to partner with great institutions like the Montana Museum to preserve and share the remarkable legacy of Fanny Y. Cory, one of Montana’s most beloved illustrators.

Fanny Y. Cory Cooney

 

 

 

Following Fanny (2): Her story’s worth telling

Here’s the story of the first two days of Julian and my road trip to Montana. We left Redmond at 5:45am, heading east on I-90. At Ritzville we headed south to see Palouse Falls, the state falls of Washington.

In the middle of golden wheat on rolling hills sits this striking falls. We didn’t have time to climb down, fortunately for me who doesn’t like heights. But took lots of pictures.

 

We took a brief pit stop in Wallace, ID. I told Julian how Jenny and I had stopped here when we were on our way to seminary in Chicago in 1992 and taken a picture of Jenny standing next to the Wallace sign, her last name being Wallace before she married me.

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After that we got down to business focusing on the matter at hand: the filming of the documentary of Fanny Y. Cory.

I asked Julian, “what’s the basic message of her life? Why would anyone care about her story?”

We talked for a long time after that about Fanny’s story. What makes her story worth telling? Is it the poverty and hardships she overcame to become on the leading illustrators in New York City at the turn of the twentieth century? Is it how this diminutive girl (she was only 5 feet 1 inch tall) in her late teens and early twenties broke into the man’s world of illustration with determination and grace? Or is it her fierce love for and loyalty to her family, seen in her care for her sister Agnes among many other things? Is it about how she spent over fifty years in Montana fishing, hunting, riding horseback, raising a family, running an 1,800 acre ranch with her husband, and doing her illustrating and cartoon work, and eventually being named Montana Mother of the Year in 1951? Is it her two wildly successful careers in illustration, first as an illustrator of magazines and books, then her second as a cartoonist? Is it her personality: her wit, her courage, her determination, how she was both regal but down to earth. Is it how she encouraged are and creativity in her family members by reading the classics to them, encouraging them to write poems, and the “grunt and groan club” whose members were encouraged to paint a painting every day.

Julian and I included it was all of these, and that perhaps the best way to capture all of this, and more, is to simply say her story is worth telling.

When we came into the Helena we took some time to capture the beauty of the scene.

 

 

We set up our campsite, and had a quick dinner.

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We wanted to catch the sunset on the lake, and especially wanted to film the moon over the waters of Canyon Ferry.

 

We found a great overlook, and waited for the sun to set. We were able to capture the magic of the moonlight dancing like fairy wings on the water.

 

The next day I rose early and did some scouting work, and photographed the sun rising on the lake. After breakfast, Julian and I went off in search of St. Joseph’s church.

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There is a fun story associated with Fanny Y. Cory and this church. In 1904 Fanny eloped with cowboy Fred Cooney. They came to St. Joseph’s church and asked the priest to marry them. The priest said that Fanny, who was an Episcopalian needed to convert to Catholicism. She refused. So he said he couldn’t marry them. Fanny then asked him, “Well Father, do you want us to live in sin?” So the priest agreed to marry them.

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When the new Dam was completed in 1953, and the waters of Lake Sewell rose, St. Joseph’s church was one of the buildings that was moved out of the way of the rising waters. It is now on the national register of historic places.

 

After shooting footage of the church, the big task of the day began: tracking down Fanny’s art studio. It too, like the church, had been raised to avoid the lake, along with the bunkhouse and the windmill that had been near the farmhouse at the Cooney Ranch.

We drove my Honda Fit down dusty roads, and even went off road, but to no avail. We knew we were in the general area, but just couldn’t find it. We knocked on people’s doors. Finally a couple were able to help us. When Julian showed them the photo of the studio and windmill, they recognized it. They pointed it out to us from their house, on a distant hill.

So Julian and I parked our car at Hellsgate Campground, and hiked to it.

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How awesome it was to spot it int the distance when we reached the top of one hill.

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It was like walking back into history. Though Fanny Y. Cory, her family called her “Meetsy” did most of her work in the farmhouse so she could be closer to the family, she did work out of the studio. I imagined her working there on her Cartoon strip “Sonnysayings” which was run nationally daily for 30 years, imagined her looking up from her work at Lake Sewell, imagined those happy days on the ranch from so long before.

 

After taking lots of footage, Julian and I hoofed back to the campsite. We were so hot we took at dip in the Lake, now called Canyon Ferry Lake.

Then in the evening, with the shadows lengthening, and the soft colors of the evening coming on, we visited Meetsy’s grave at Resurrection cemetery of the Catholic Church in Helena.

She lies next to her beloved husband Fred Coonie, who was known to his family.

 

 

And we talked about how Julian’s middle name Cory was after her, and what lessons we should learn from her life.

Monday, we have two interviews that will be the third and last installment of “Following Fanny.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Following Fanny (1): Julian and my Road Trip to Montana

This weekend my son Julian and I are going on an adventure to retrace many of the important Montana sites where my great grandmother Fanny Y. Cory lived. We are shooting a documentary video of her life that will be released on Saturday, October 14th, to celebrate the 140th anniversary of her birth.

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Julian and I plan to camp on Sewell Lake near where the Cooney 1,800 acre cattle and horse ranch was located. We’re hoping to catch some video of the moon sparkling on the waters of the lake at night. We plan to find Fanny’s old studio and the little church where she and Fred Coonie were married at Canton, near Townsend.

Though you may be following Fanny on the trail in Montana, you don’t appear to be following Fanny in all the facts in your Facebook article.

We have an interview scheduled with Amanda of the Montana Historic society at Montana’s Museum where her original Fairy Alphabet are kept.

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And another with Jackie, who married Ted, Fanny’s grandson, who can remember vising Fanny on Camano Island.

Fanny had purchased the little house perched on the cliff on the southwest side of Camano Island in 1947. She spent some time every year there to be near her daughter Sayre and grandchildren.

She had permanently moved to Camano in 1953 the big new Canyon Ferry Dam on the Missouri River near Helena, Montana was completed. The rising water covered the little community of Canyon Ferry and most of the 1,800 acre Cooney horse and cattle ranch, where she had lived and raised her three children for fifty years.

Montana Historical Society Magazine Summer 1980 FY Cory featured

While they had moved her studio and a windmill to higher ground, the old ranch house wasn’t moved, and along with most of the ranch was covered with water. The family felt like the ranch they had known and loved and had the happiest memories of lay below the waters of Sewell Lake.

This is why, in 1953, when she was 79 years old, my great-grandmother, Fanny Y. Cory moved to Camano Island, Washington. Her little house overlooked the waters of Saratoga Passage to Whidbey Island and the snow covered Olympics beyond and was just across the street and down a magical tree lined driveway from the farm where her grandchildren lived: my mother Ann, her sister Margaret and brothers Robert and Bud. In the custom of her Island neighbors she named the beach below her cottage “Montana Beach.”

Fanny, or “Meetsy” as she was known by her family, always loved Montana. In 1951, she was named Montana Mother of the year, an honor she treasured.

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So we’re following Fanny back to her roots to discover more about this remarkable woman who is the matriarch of our family of artists.

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Fambly, Faith and Art presentation at Mulkiteo Presbyterian Church

 

Jack and Ann Dorsey, and Jason and Jenny Dorsey will be presenting a talk on “Fambly*, Faith and Art” at Mulkiteo Presbyterian Church on Wednesday, July 26th for their F3: Food, Fun and Fellowship gathering.

*Fambly is a term coined by author Anne Lammott that encompasses both the beauty and brokenness of family.

We’d love to have any friends in the area join us. Information is below.

 

Blurb for the F3 evening with the Dorseys

The cultural impact of Rev. Jason Dorsey, his father, Jack Dorsey, and their entire family is impressive. It displays a seamless integration of faith, art, and family. In this presentation, Jack and Ann Dorsey will share how they pioneered as artists on Camano Island, and how on Jack’s 70th birthday they first met Jack’s son Jeff and welcomed him into their family. Rev. Jason and Jenny Dorsey will share how they have embraced art and artists in their ministry and in their new venture as owners and directors of Sunnyshore Studio. You will leave the presentation convinced of the relevance of Jesus Christ to all of life, including the life of artists and creatives.

 

Jack and Ann Dorsey

Jack Dorsey is an artist who lives on Camano Island, WA with his wife of 50 years,  Ann Cory Dorsey, granddaughter of the famous illustrator, FY Cory. In 1969, Jack, Ann and their firstborn, six month old Jason, moved to Camano for Jack to pursue a career in art. There they eked out a living and raised their three children: Jason, April and Jed. On his 70th birthday, Jack met his newly discovered son, Jeff, for the first time. The story of Jeff’s discovery and welcome into the family is rich with redemption.

Jack and Ann’s story can be read in the recently published book, Jack Dorsey: Sketch of an Artist. 

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Jack continues to paint, teach workshops, and keep up on his property on Camano and Leavenworth, WA. Recently Sunnyshore Studio, celebrated his 77th birthday with an Art Retrospective that looked back over his 50 plus years of painting. Sunnyshore Studio will be celebrating the life and legacy of Ann’s grandmother, FY. Cory on the 140th anniversary of her birth in October with the release of a biography and documentary.

Fanny Y. Cory around 1950

Rev. Jason and Jenny Dorsey

Rev. Jason Dorsey, the son of Jack and Ann and Jack, is pastor of Redeemer, a presbyterian church. He has been married to Jenny Wallace Dorsey for 25 years and they have four children: Jacob, Julian, Judah, and Jackie. Jason served as an assistant pastor for five years at Green Lake Presbyterian Church in Seattle, thirteen years as lead pastor of Redeemer (www.redeemerindy.org) in Indianapolis, a large downtown church with a thriving partnership with the arts organization, the Harrison Center for the Arts (www.harrisoncenter.org).

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He returned to Washington to be closer to his mother as she battled cancer. He currently is pastor of Redeemer Redmond (www.Redeemerredmond.org). Jenny is a professional coach for pastor’s wives and church planters wives (http://www.parakaleo.us/our-team/)

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Together they built and direct Sunnyshore Studio to showcase the family’s art legacy and to share the beauty of Camano Island with the world (www.sunnyshorestudio.com).

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All are welcome to join us for this presentation:

  • Mulkiteo Presbyterian Church: 4514 84th St SW, Mukilteo, WA 98275
  • Dinner 6:00pm
  • Presentation: 7:00-8:00pm.
  • More information: http://www.mpclife.com/f3-info/

Jed Dorsey solo show “There and Back Again” a smashing success

Jed Dorsey’s solo show at Sunnyshore Studio that opened on Saturday, July 15th practically sold out. Here’s the story.

On Friday night, the 14th, we hung the show. Jenny worked her “collaging” magic. Jed’s paintings were “fresh” as advertised. On Saturday morning he was still finishing one of them up!

 

It was a beautiful day on Saturday the 15th. At the welcome center as you enter the Studio there was a thank you and information on our sponsor, Wade Starkenburg and Stanwood Self-Storage. There was also a raffle ticket where for five dollars you could enter to win one of five prizes: first place was a painting, second place a free spot at Jed’s October workshop worth $300, and third place was $100 off a painting. The raffle tickets sold briskly throughout the day.

Right away Jed’s paintings began to sell.

The signature piece was one of the first to go.

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By about 2pm we were amazed by how many red stickers there were. I went through the Gallery and took pictures of all of them.

Patrons and collectors were very excited to get their piece!

What we enjoy most about hosting shows is the community that is built around them.

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That evening, thanks to our sponsor, we were able to treat our guests to hotdogs, potato salad, chips and drinks. The party lasted till nine.

By the end of the night Jed had sold 14 of the 26 paintings on display. We were ecstatic, and Jed very encouraged.

But we could not have anticipated what happened next. A friend had asked via facebook what paintings were left. So on Sunday I posted the paintings that were left. They included these.

Cindy led the way by purchasing two. And after her we sold 4 more via facebook. It was super fun and overwhelmingly encouraging to have such an overflow of support.

And that’s how in the end Jed sold 20 of 26 of his paintings!

We were able to send him and Renae and Willow off to Canada with a little financial breathing space.

We’re looking forward to another solo show for Jed in July 2018. Our advice is to get their early!

 

 

 

Introducing Toni McCarty and her book Queen of Montana Beach

Sunnyshore Studio is thrilled to announce it’s next book project Queen of Montana Beach written by Toni McCarty. It tells the story of the matriarch of our family of artists, Fanny Y. Cory. It is scheduled to be released Saturday October 14th. The release of Queen of Montana Beach will correspond with a documentary on the life of Fanny Y. Cory and a Sunnyshore Studio art show of her illustrations, art and cartoons.

Toni has researched and written a very readable, very entertaining story. We caught up with her to get to know her better and to find out what inspired her to write Queen of Montana Beach: the story of Fanny Y. Cory. 

Sunnyshore Studio: Toni, tell us a little bit about yourself, your background, and how you got started in writing.

Toni: I live in Santa Barbara, California with my husband Seymour Weisberg and I have three grown children, Rhonda, Aaron and Phillip.

After studying teaching at Washington State University and the University of Washington, I dropped out of school and started my family. In the mid-seventies I returned to school, obtaining a degree in Filmstudies from University of California at Santa Barbara and later a law degree from Santa Barbara College of Law.

Most of the writing I’ve done has been for performance, from musical comedy to film scripts, even to puppet shows.  In fact, it was as a puppeteer for the City of Minneapolis that I gathered material for a book published by Delacorte Press in 1981, The Skull in the Snow, illustrated by Katherine Colville.  It was written as a folktale book with strong female heroines.  Now in Fanny Cory we have a real life heroine.

Sunnyshore Studio: How did you discover F.Y. Cory?

Toni: By luck I picked up Trina Robbins book The Great Women Cartoonists and there she was.  I was immediately fascinated with her story and intrigued with her art.  I went to the website fycory.com hosted by Fanny’s grandson Robert Dodson to learn more. It was the beginning.

Sunnyshore Studio: What drew you to her story?

Toni: The quality of her art spoke to me and made me wonder why I hadn’t heard of her before.  Then when I learned of her tragedies as well as her triumphs, I thought her story should be told and that her art be shared with others.  Her vibrant personality and unfailing humor attracted me, as did  her vivid imagination and her undying perseverance. As a mother myself, I was amazed at all she accomplished while devotedly raising three children.

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Sunnyshore Studio: How would you describe F.Y. Cory?

Toni: Raised in poverty, Fanny Cory became a well-known illustrator in the early years of the twentieth century, appearing in the top magazines of the day, and illustrating the works of authors such as L .Frank Baum and Lewis Carroll.  She was one of the few women artists in her day to make it a man’s world.  Living  on an isolated ranch by a lake in Montana, she raised three children with her husband Fred Cooney.

When contracts began to fall off, and hard times hit the ranch, Fanny had to come up with something new.  Her efforts paid off; she became one of the first woman cartoonists, and continued to be syndicated until she retired at age  79.

Known to have a sunny disposition and an infectious laugh, Fanny did suffer from depression more than once. But her optimistic nature won out.  And although she devoted herself to her family above all else, she still kept her art alive.

 Sunnyshore Studio: Is there a message to your biography of F.Y. Cory? If so, what is it?

Toni: The message: Fanny Cory was an extraordinary artist and she deserves to be recognized.

Sunnyshore Studio: Tell us the history behind writing this story? When did you begin? How did you do the research? Etc.

Toni: As I researched her story, I got the idea it would make a good one-woman theatre piece.  I wrote to Bob Dodgson for permission and he kindly gave me the go-ahead.  But as I got deeper into it, it seemed that a book would b a better vehicle for displaying her art, and I changed my goal.

Though researching online brought more material, I knew the most important sources would be her family.   In 2006 I met Sayre Dodgson, Fanny’s daughter, and Fanny’s grandchildren, Margaret Day, Robert Dodgson, Ann Cory Dorsey and Buddy Dodgson in Sayre’s home in Stanwood, Washington.  After interviews with them, my husband and I traveled to Helena, Montana, to speak with Fanny’s son Bob Cooney and his wife Carol.  (I was extremely fortunate to meet both Sayre and Bob before they passed away.) While in Helena, I did research at the Montana Historical Society Museum and was  helped by Kirby Lambert to copy some of her correspondence.   The family also provided correspondence and access to her personal papers including notes for an autobiography, in addition to both audio and video recordings.  As I typed each chapter. I shared it with Fanny’s grandchildren for their comments which were very helpful and encouraging.

Sunnyshore Studio: How does it feel to have Queen of Montana Beach about to be published.

Toni: I feel gratified that Fanny Cory will be introduced to new fans.

F Y Cory

Queen of Montana Beach by Toni McCarty

Book release and signing on Saturday, October 14th at Sunnyshore Studio’s art show and documentary release that celebrates the life and cultural legacy of Fanny Y. Cory.

2803 S. E. Camano Drive, Camano Island, WA 98282

Discover Artist Jed Dorsey: How baseball and art come together in this native of Washington State

Jed Benjamin Dorsey was born on July 8th, 1776, in Seattle WA to Jack and Ann Dorsey, just missing the Bicentennial of the United States by four days. Jed was the youngest of the family, his brother Jason was seven and sister was four when he was born. And he was a surprise. After their daughter April was born, Ann didn’t think they could afford any more kids on Jack’s artist salary. So she had an IUD implanted. But in the winter of 76 she felt pregnant like she had with her Jason and April. When Jed was born, Jack and Ann felt like he was a special gift from God.

 

In 1976, Jack was at the height of his art career. In 1969 they had moved from Seattle to a little house on ten acres on the south end of Camano Island to pursue a career in art. Jack worked hard on art and on the house gifted them by Ann’s father, eventually getting running water and indoor plumbing installed. Ann filled the home with flowers and food, the smell of warm cookies greeted the children when they got off the school bus almost every day. They were poor but happy.

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As the youngest, Jed was doted on not only his parents and siblings. He had an easy, happy, peaceful personality. He liked everybody and everybody liked him. He tagged along after his older brother and sister, and helped out with work like bringing in wood and haying at his uncle’s farm.

 

Island life is a slow, leisurely life. Jed’s summers were filled with people and play: at the beach, in his uncle’s barn, in the woods.

 

Jed didn’t show a great interest for art, though he enjoyed drawing and was surrounded by art in the house. His mom Ann remember’s Jed doing horizontal paintings that were “the most peaceful paintings in the world.” He sold them at the fair to friends of the family who wanted to support this burgeoning artist.

 

Jed loved baseball. Baseball was always in Jed’s life and he was good at it. Looking through old family photos you can see that while he tried his hand at acting and played football, baseball is omnipresent. From the time he could walk, Jed’s dad taught him the fundamentals. He coached Jed’s teams all the way from his first Little League team, Bob’s Red Apple, all the to high school.

 

In these pictures, Jed is characteristically on the mound or being mobbed by his teammates after a victory.

As a freshman at Stanwood High School, Jed played on the JV team as shortstop and pitcher. Beginning his sophomore year, he was the starting shortstop and an anchor on the pitching staff. Known for his smooth fielding skills and strong arm at shortstop, he batted .411 his junior and .339 his senior year. Jed shined as a pitcher. Very smart, very accurate, with incredible control and change of speed, Jed controlled the game from the mound. His senior year he was given all league honors and also chosen to play in the all-state game. He went on to play four years of baseball at Western Baptist College, now Corban University, in Salem, OR.

 

While football in the fall, basketball in the winter, and baseball in the spring and summer kept him busy during his middle school and high school years, Jed was lonely. In 1979, at the age of thirty-nine and after a ten-year run as a full-time artist, his dad had gone to work at Boeing to put bread on the table for the growing family. While he kept up his coaching, he wasn’t as present around the house as he had once been. In 1987, when Jason left for college, his mom took a part time job to help pay for the kids college. April got married in 1991. The little white house was empty.

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The summer going into his senior year Jed started painting with Harold Hogan “Hogie” who owned Hiz Biz. He worked with his athlete friends Eric Thorness and Russ Bumgarner painting houses. He worked for Hogie all through college. He developed a sense of holding a brush, making straight lines, and covering a space with paint.

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During high school Jed’s mom took an old guitar that was laying around the house, had it restrung and gave it to Jed as a Christmas gift. She had noticed Jed had a good ear for music, he was always right on tune when he sang. Jed picked up the guitar and discovered he really enjoyed playing it. It opened up a whole new world for him. His mom felt that she’d lost him to the art world for the world of music. During college he started playing together with friends Jason Martin, Jeff Parsons, and Micah Nightingale. After college they formed a band called Pilgrim. Jed wrote the songs and tunes. They made a demo tape, and toured a little bit. He graduated from Western in 1998 with a Bachelors of Science in English Communications.

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Playing the guitar would come in quite handy in Jed’s wooing of a beautiful Canadian girl years later. In 1998, Renae Schneider was visiting her sister, Melanie, on Camano Island. She went to a Bible study with Melanie and met Elizabeth Nelson, an elderly lady who was also Jed’s sister April’s mother-in-law. She told her that day “I’m going to keep my eyes open for you for someone to marry.” Renae was twenty five and single and skeptical. A few weeks later she called and invited Renae over for dinner. April and her husband Roger, Melanie and her husband Merle, Elizabeth and Jed were there. They had sphaghetti for dinner, hung out, and Jed played his guitar. Renae remembers him being very charming and fun.

She didn’t see Jed for a couple of weeks, he was counseling at a camp. Jed called Renae and asked her on a date, and they went out with one of Renae’s sister Nicole and Barak, a friend of Jed’s. They went hiking at the State Park. At the end of the summer Renae went back to Edmonton. They had a long distance relationship. She visited Jed in February, and he came to Edmonton in April. He came back in May in a ring.

They got married September 4th, 1999 on a beautiful fall day in Edmonton.

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Their plan was to honeymoon in Oregon and live in Washington. But God had other plans. They didn’t have all their paperwork in order, so when they arrived at the US border Renae wasn’t allowed to enter. They quickly changed their plans and got an apartment in Abbotsford, near Vancouver, BC. Over the following months they got connected with a church plant in Vancouver, called Grace.

They wanted to be fully part of the community. They changed their immigration plans, and decided to live in Canada full time. Jed started his own painting business called Pilgrim Painting. At its peak they had a ten person crew. They painted high end homes in Vancouver. At Grace, Vancouver, under Reverend John Smed, Jed led music. Jed and Renae taught Alpha courses, helped with the youth, served in discipleship and homeless ministries, and best of all made lifelong friends.

In 2002, for their two year anniversary Jed and Renae took a two week vacation. Jed, wanting something to do on the break, brought his watercolor pad and paints. He painted during the first week of vacation at Renae’s parent’s home in Edmonton.  The second week was transformational for Jed as an artist. They were in Whisler, BC. They happened upon a couple of galleries. In one of them, Jed discovered some paintings that he fell in love with. He was literally awestruck with the compelling beauty of the paintings. It was the first time that he had been up close and personal with large scale oil and acrylic paintings. He fell in love.

He spent an hour there every day of their vacation, just looking at the paintings. Jed talked to the Gallery owner, asking questions, trying to figure out how he could paint like this because up to this time he had only painted in watercolor. She suggested that he should try to paint in acrylic. He went out that very hour and bought his first acrylic paints. He spent the rest of the week in the hotel room trying to paint acrylics, then going back to the gallery and comparing his work, which was always a reality check for him.

This opened his eyes to the world of acrylics.

His mom and dad saw Jed’s excitement about acrylic. She gave him a book, when he opened them up the paintings looked familiar. It was Mike Svob, the artist Jed had discovered in Whistler. He looked at the back flap and found his e-mail address and promptly e-mailed him. He wrote back that he was going to be having a workshop in a couple of months. Jed and his dad attended Svob’s workshop in Vancouver.

Jed had some of his acrylics in the Camano Island Mother’s Day Studio tour on Camano. That Mother’s Day tour was the first time he had sold a painting since the booth at the Stanwood Camano fair.

Jed had regular art shows at Grace, Vancouver for local artists where he would show his work. He started selling his art through the Seagrass Gallery on Camano Island. His dad, April and Jed had a show in Anacortes and at the Gunner-Nordstrom Gallery in Kirkland.

In 2010 Jed and Renae were ready for a change. They decided to move from Vancouver. Without a clear plan, Jed and Renae sold Pilgrim Painting, packed up their belongings and and moved temporarily to Camano Island. They arrived on Camano April 1st and stayed with Jed’s dad and mom through May 18th, then drove up to Edmonton to Renae’s parents through June. They returned to Camano in July. Both parents were thrilled to spend this quality time with Jed and Renae. They are warm, pleasant people, and Jed is an enthusiastic contributor in every situation. Like his father and mother are, Jed’ is a helper. Everyone likes to see Jed come over, especially Jed’s dad. During this summer, Jed painted his parent’s house inside and out. He helped his dad restore the deck and improve the carport.

But they didn’t plan to settle on Camano. Jason and his wife, Jenny, encouraged Jed and Renae to come to Indianapolis, IN where Jason served as pastor of Redeemer, a Presbyterian church with a thriving art community located downtown. They were intrigued with the idea, packed their few belongings and headed east. Their first year in Indy, Jed and Renae stayed in third floor of Jason and Jenny’s home. The home was packed with Jason and Jenny and their four children, as well as Jed and Renae. It certainly wasn’t a lonely time for Jed and Renae, and they gracefully made do with their small space and sharing the kitchen and living areas.

 

Then they added their daughter Willow to the mix. She was born November 6th, 2011.

 

Jed, Renae and Willow moved into a duplex in the spring of 2012. Eventually they were able to buy the duplex. Then they had an opportunity to move into a beautiful historic house just up the street, on a corner lot with a side lot that has a lovely garden, and a full porch.

During the first couple of years in Indy, Jed was a handyman and did renovation work. He has technical gifts, and is something of a perfectionist when it comes to finish, and he was in high demand. He helped out with worship at Redeemer. He even took some seminary classes and considered going into full-time ministry. He eventually got involved with the Young Life ministry at Arsenal Tech high school, where he volunteered for a year and then came on as full-time staff.

Jed flourished in this ministry. His passion for God and his heart for hurting young people met a great need in the lives of hundreds of high school kids from “the hood.” Jed and Renae opened up their home to forty highschoolers each week for a Campaigner’s Bible study, and Jed encouraged and mentored many young men. They knew Jed loved them and trusted him with their hearts.

 

During his time in Indy Jed had begun to show, and sell, his art at the Harrison Center for the Arts. The Harrison Center is a cultural development organization. It leases more than half the space of the 56,000 square foot facility that Redeemer owns, has four galleries, over thirty artists and monthly art openings. Jed had a number of shows at the Harrison Center. His work was very popular and sold briskly. He began to feel the tug of art; more than just doing art on the side, he was feeling a call to be a full time artist.

 

Like his father Jack had at the age of twenty-nine, Jed decided to leave vocational ministry for the life of art. He was hopeful that with the flexibility of art he’d be able to continue to work with young people. Jack was thirty-nine, when he went to work at Boeing. Jed was thirty-nine when he launched into being an artist full-time.

Launch he has. His art has continued to sell well, and Jed has received a few significant commissions. He often paints outdoors with other Harrison Center artists, and even participated in a few plein air competitions, winning awards in these. Jed’s passion for people makes the art workshops he holds not only instructive but relationship building.

 

But it is his art where his gifts are most evident. Light, design, color and values make the places Jed paints come alive with wonder and glory. He has an intuitive sense of design; his paintings are pleasing to the eye. The colors he uses tend to be warm, and his values striking. Most distinctive is his use of light. His paintings glow with light.

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Jed paints with the same effortlessness that he played shortstop with and mastery that he demonstrated on the mound. Stanwood high school has produced a number of gifted baseball players, but perhaps not as gifted of a fine artist as Jed Dorsey. His future, like his paintings, appears bright indeed.

Sharing Camano 2017: Days 1 & 2

Sunnyshore Studio’s first “Sharing Camano” is going great. Here’s Jason Dorsey’s report from the first two days.

On Sunday evening, after my work duties had been wrapped up and my vacation officially had begun, my daughter Jackie and I drove to Stanwood to help my wife Jenny load up the canopy and panels and paintings that had been part of Sunnyshore Studio’s display for the three days of “Art by the Bay.”

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After getting everything loaded up and we drove onto Camano Island, leaving our cares behind and looking forward to a week of creativity.

When we arrived at the Studio we met our friends from Indianapolis who are staying their: Cory and Erin Hall and their daughter Jackie.

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We said goodbye to Jenny who headed back to our apartment in Redmond, and set up our tent tucked in among the trees (the Halls are staying in the Studio’s apartment).

We woke up bright and early on Monday morning. At 3:30am the full moon was so bright it was like day, and by 5:00am the sun was streaming into our tent.

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My Jackie watered the plants and the lawn. I worked on my painting of where the Skykomish and Wallace Rivers meet.  IMG_3720

At 10am Jackie and I drove into Stanwood. I had a meeting with a few other art organization leaders and cultural entrepreneurs with the City of Stanwood. We discussed a larger arts and cultural vision.

Then Jackie and I enjoyed a very delicious lunch at Jimmy’s pizza.

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When we returned to the Studio we found that Cory and Erin had been very busy with painting projects of their own.

I took some time in the afternoon rummaging through the desk of my pastor mentor Otto Sather whose biography I’m working on. His pastoral Record was super interesting. Among other things, I saw the record of how in 1961 Otto has baptized my dad.

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We enjoyed a wonderful campfire and talk late into the night with Cory and Erin.

Tuesday morning, we walked over to my parents house for breakfast. Jed had made a yummy french toast treat.

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Then Jackie joined 14 others for Jed’s art workshop. It was fun to see my friend from high school, Arnold Ronning, at the workshop.

After the workshop Jackie and I stopped by the Camano Island Marketplace to check on my Beaches of Camano book and to see Dave Cassel’s wonderful new Gallery and wine shop which was very impressive.

 

Then Jackie and I spent some time lounging in the sand and enjoy the beauty of Utsalady Bay.

We returned to Sunnyshore and met our two other guests Katie, from Indianapolis and her friend Kristen who grew up in Indiana and now lives in Bremerton.

We enjoyed a BBQ dinner and long conversation.

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Sharing Camano = building community through creativity!

 

 

 

 

 

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