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20th Annual Studio Tour Guest Artist: Amanda Pearson

Sunnyshore Studio is thrilled to have the fabulous Amanda Pearson as one of our guest artist for the 20th Annual Camano Island Studio Tour.  Mark Your Calendars for the 20th Anniversary Camano Island Mother’s Day Studio Tour this May Amanda comes all the way from St. Paul, MN and we think you’ll love the colorful, playful and detailed artwork of this emerging artist.

Sunnyshore Studio: Tell us about yourself:

Amanda: I currently live in Richfield, MN (just south of Minneapolis). I grew up in Portland, OR and moved out to the Twin Cities for college. But now I’m married and bought a house, so I’ll be here for a while even though the Pacific Northwest will always be my home. My husband is fantastic and is always supportive of whatever schemes I get us into. We have two cats and they are rambunctious and endlessly entertaining, although they do not appreciate when I spend more time on my art projects than hanging out with them.

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Sunnyshore Studio: How did you get started in art?

Amanda: I was an “artistic” kid. My childhood was spent making various doodads. I remember making a VHS player and videotape out of paper, and a briefcase out of a box that I took to school instead of a backpack (I was super cool). When I was waiting for my parents to be done talking to people after church on Sunday mornings, I would take the weekly bulletins and make little furniture or miniature scenes out of them.

In 3rd and 4th grade, I made a name for myself in my elementary school for making the best dioramas. Then in junior high and high school, my art classes were the best parts of my days (I always took as many as I could). I look back on the projects that I did in those days, and even in my freshman year of high school I was gluing sand or sugar or baking soda to fulfill whatever the assignment was. My mom “fondly” remembers all of the urgent trips to Michaels or the art store to try to make it before they closed on Sunday because of a last-minute scramble to finish something before it was due on Monday. In college, I majored in art education and graduated with my Bachelors in Visual Arts Education K-12. While my actual occupation is currently not art-related, I’ve found ways in my adulthood to incorporate art – I’ve taught elementary kids in an after-school art program, and taken community education art classes to keep me in this back in the days when I didn’t have the space or time to dedicate to it that I do now.

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Sunnyshore Studio: What has been your journey as an artist?

Amanda: It took me a little while to figure out how to incorporate art into my life after graduating. I had my art education degree, but wasn’t convinced I wanted to work as a teacher in a school. I spent a couple of years working retail and in a coffee shop, and then I secured a corporate job in the mortgage industry. Cubicles are not conducive to creativity. I did make sure to work in times to still create – since I was working a lot of hours and didn’t have a dedicated art space in my rented rooms/apartments, I decided that I would take a community education introduction to painting class. I enrolled over and over again, not because I wanted to learn the color wheel REALLY well, but because I could sit in the back and just paint. That way, there were a few hours a week where I had to make something. Painting has never been my favorite thing, but doing this enabled me to keep art a part of my life even when I had so many excuses for it to fall by the wayside. Each session, the other people taking the class were mostly empty-nesters or others who had the same tale of enjoying art when they were younger but with jobs and families and all the obligations that come with those, hadn’t made anything in 20+ years and wanted to go back to that part of who they were. I didn’t want that to be my story, but I could see how easily that could happen. So I kept taking the classes. Eventually with my corporate job, I was able to work less than 60 hours a week and had more time to do what I wanted.

Over the last few years, I started to move away from the once-a-week painting sessions and focused on the gluing projects. The reason was very practical at first – I wanted to make stuff but didn’t have the space, so I focused on methods that were portable. That way, I could go and work in Starbucks instead of being stuck in my apartment. So that’s what I would do! I would put whatever project I had in a pillow case and bring my Elmer’s glue bottle and bag of string and make my way to the nearest coffee place. It was not the most efficient way of doing projects that were already incredibly time-consuming, but I was able to finish one or two a year this way. I didn’t show them much, but joined a local art center and participated in their semi-annual member shows (and won a blue ribbon on one of my pieces). Then, my husband and I bought a house. It was a nerve-racking experience. I had gone into it with space for an art studio on my “please please have” list, but after our 5th rejected offer and skyrocketing housing prices, I thought I would have to sacrifice this (and my must-have of a second bathroom). But! We found our house! With a room on the main floor that made a perfect art studio. With my pieces, time is the biggest factor. Being able to have a spot where I could go to every day, even if I had only a few minutes, has made it possible for me to be much more productive and pour myself into this piece of what I do.

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I also needed to find my niche. Like I mentioned, painting is not a creative outlet that drives me. I also don’t have much patience for drawing. So what would I do? What would be my thing? What would be the way that I would express my ideas and views on the world? It came to me one night – at the time I didn’t realize it would be such a turning point, but it ended up changing everything. It was a Saturday night. I knew that I wanted my next project to be of Oneonta Falls in Oregon, but I didn’t want to paint it. Then it hit me – I wanted to glue embroidery floss instead. Well, I didn’t have that material at the time, and it was 10 o’clock on a Saturday night and I absolutely HAD to start and could not wait. So I went to Wal-Mart and bought some embroidery floss from their limited assortment and some little scissors, found some cardboard, and went to work. I was so proud of it, and I still am. Looking at it now, I can see a lot of flaws and things that I have learned with the medium since then, but I still am inspired by that moment and what came from it. It returned me to my instincts and tapped into what has driven me to “make” since I was a kid.

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Sunnyshore Studio: What about your future as an artist?

Amanda: Since I have now amassed a decent-sized portfolio, I am transitioning away from just making projects for myself to put on my walls for my own personal gallery. At this point, I am trying to find ways to share what I’ve made with others, through displaying art in public places that host artists, selling prints and smaller pieces at art shows, and participating in group shows at galleries such as this one. It is overwhelming at times and I am learning a lot. It is also scary – I am used to critiques from all of the art classes I have taken, but these pieces were made for personal reasons, and I’m putting them out there for strangers to have an opinion on. I have gotten a lot of very positive feedback and some good pointers as well, and I hope to keep learning and pushing myself to be better and share my work with others.

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Sunnyshore Studio: Why are you excited to participate in the 2018 – 20th annual! – Camano Island  Studio Tour at Sunnyshore Studio?

Amanda: The studio is an amazing place. Jason is my father’s cousin and my father grew up in the area, and this is a really special way to be connected even though I live so far away. It is an honor to have been asked to participate. There is something so special about an area coming together in a creative endeavor like an open art studio tour. The Dorsey’s and other artists who are showing at the studio are fantastic and their work is beautiful, so I am so excited for this opportunity to display along with them.

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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

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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.

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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

 

 

 

Jason Dorsey to serve as Camano Arts Association President

Jason Dorsey, Sunnyshore Studio’s Artistic Director, has been elected to be the president of the Camano Arts Association (CAA) for the 2017-2018 year.

He is taking the baton from Judith Seegert who has served the Association ably the past year and is transitioning to being the co-leader of the Annual Studio Tour.

Judy Seegert

Sunnyshore Studio caught up with Jason to learn more of his hopes and dreams for this coming year.

Sunnyshore Studio: Jason you’re relatively new to CAA. Tell us what you’ve discovered about the organization.

Jason: CAA is a grassroots art organization that has incredibly gifted and passionate members. Everyone is committed to making Camano one of the top cultural regions for the fine arts in the Northwest. It was started by a handful of artist-cultural entrepreneur, Jack Gunter and Karla Matzke to name a few, who collaborated to create an annual studio tour on the Island. Their dream was to make Camano famous for fine art, just like Snohomish is the place to go for antiques.

After a few years the Studio Tour really took off. After a few years a 501c3 was created called the Camano Arts Association. CAA now has close to 100 members and counting!

Sunnyshore Studio: What excites you most about leading CAA?

Jason: First, I’m thrilled to collaborate with the incredibly gifted and passionate artists and patrons of the arts that make up this organization. When our family moved to Camano is 1969 my dad was one of the pioneer artists, maybe the only artist on the Island at that time. Now there is a hole hosts of artists and friends of the art who are putting their shoulder to the plow to make our vision a reality!

Second, I just enjoy the CAA board team. Each member brings so much experience and talent to the table: Mary Pilkington, Beckie Tiland, Kathy Edelman Hutchinson, Michelle Rushworth, Vicky Ringen, Chris Tuohy, Kate Riley, John Ebner, April Nickerson, Roger Cocke and Judith Seegert. My vice-president Melanie Soerrels has a wealth of institutional knowledge and love for the organization. I’m truly honored to lead a team of people who have excelled in the business, academic, community-service and artistic world. And we have a lot of fun together!

Finally, I’m really excited that this year I get to lead CAA in a three year vision and strategic planning process. I believe that this process and the plan and communication that comes out of it will catapult us forward in achieving our vision.

Sunnyshore Studio: What is that vision?

Jason:  The vision of CAA is that Camano Island will become recognized as a major cultural center for the Visual Arts in the Pacific Northwest.

It’s interesting that back in the early 1900’s Camano was known as a logging community, then a farming and fishing resort community in the 30s-60’s. It has also been known as a wonderful place to retire and for second homes on the water for rich Seattlelites to play at in the summer. I’m thrilled that now Camano is becoming known as an art destination. And I’m excited to partner with other institutions in the Stanwood-Camano area like the Chambers, the City of Stanwood, the Stanwood-Camano Arts Association, and others to team up to make this dream a reality.

Camano Island views

For example, a good friend of mine, Wade Starkenburg, a business owner in Stanwood is sponsoring my brother’s “There and Back Again” July art opening. He’s doing this not only because he’s excited about Sunnyshore Studio’s investment in the community and because we’re friends, but because he sees the importance of cultural development and the arts in our region.

Sunnyshore Studio: What would make you most happy in your tenure as CAA President.

Jason: I’m thankful I get to be part of the cultural development and common good of Camano. I grew up here and I have a real love for this place. I want our community to be recognized – to shine – for being the amazing community of artists and friends of artists that it is. I guess you could say that Camano’s flourishing is my dream. Specifically, I would like to lead CAA into a bold and exciting and daring 3 year vision and strategic plan that we will someday look back at and say “wow, it’s amazing but we actually achieved it!” Most of all, I hope we all have a lot of fun partnering together in achieving our vision.

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