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Stop by and welcome Jed home

Lot’s of excitement at Sunnyshore Studio with the Camano Island Studio Tour opening tomorrow, 10:00am.

The excitement started on Monday, April 30th when Jed, Renae and Willow left Indianapolis to move to the Seattle area. They had lots of adventures as they traveled across the country including staying at a beautiful lodge in South Dakota. Jed is going to paint a commission for its owner.  They spent time at a wonderful water park hotel in Missoula, and hiked to the top of a hill that looks over the city.

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They had lots of others adventures. To many to tell now. Here are a few pictures.

Jed, Renae and Willow stopped for dinner (Zeeks Pizza) at our apartment in Redmond on their way to Camano Island. It was lots of fun for us to see them, and wonderful to have them close!

On Thursday we dropped the Adminstrator of Sunnyshore Studio, Jenny Dorsey, off at the airport. She is going back to be with our oldest son, Jacob, who is graduating from Purdue University. I’ll be joining them in West Lafayette on Saturday.

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Jed has worked hard building a “Gallery Annex” for his artwork at Sunnyshore Studio. It looks great.

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Jed has been hard at work painting so that he will have artwork to fill it up.

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Of course, his paintings are beautiful as always!

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Jackie helped me prepare the parking area behind the studio. It’s looking great thanks to Dad mowing the grass!

All the paintings are hung, and there is a calm tonight before the storm of visitors that will come tomorrow.  We expect over 1,000 guests over the first weekend!

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Will you be one of those that stops by. I hope so.

And when you do, welcome Jed, Renae and Willow home.

20th Annual Studio Tour Guest Artist: Melanie Serroels

Sunnyshore Studio is thrilled to have our neighbor and the Vice President of the Camano Arts Association, Melanie Serroels, 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   Melanie does so much to make the arts hum on Camano, and we’re thrilled to be able to showcase her sparkling watercolors.

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Sunnyshore Studio: Tell us about yourself.

Melanie: I’ve always lived in the Pacific Northwest.   I grew up in Portland, moved to Redmond WA in 1988 and became a full time resident on Camano in 2010. I spend most of my time volunteering for Camano Arts Association. Currently I’m serving as the Vice President, Acting Secretary, Volunteer Hours Recorder, and Website Committee member. I have a home studio. My husband and I are retired.  We enjoy traveling the USA seeing friends and visiting our national parks.

Sunnyshore Studio: How did you get started in art?

Melanie: Art has always been a part of my life. My parents were creative and I received good general art instruction throughout my elementary and high school education. I started taking watercolor instruction from a professional artist in1973. My style, technique, and palette is still influenced by my first art instructor, Charles Mulvey.  I have also taken watercolor workshops from Robert Landry, Thomas William Jones, and Jack Dorsey.  I enjoyed learning to use acrylics from Dianna Shyne, and Jed Dorsey.

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What has been your journey as an artist?

Melanie: I think the turning point in my painting career was moving to Camano Island and waking up everyday to the beauty and changing atmosphere outside my window.  When we first moved here I was possessed with painting whatever my eyes landed on.  I painted almost every day.  Today, I’m busy with lots of other activities, but I enjoy using that artist’s eye to observe and plan paintings of many beautiful scenes on Camano Island.

I don’t really feel it’s been a journey as much as it’s been a life’s practice to do creative things.  I have many interests, but being creative and creating art has always been my go to for personal satisfaction.  Sometimes it’s not doing, but sharing what I do, and helping others realize that they can do it too. 

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Sunnyshore Studio: What about your future as an artist?

Melanie: I was juried onto the Camano Island Studio Tour in 2009, and participated in the tour for four years.  I’ve also sold my paintings through our local galleries.  I regularly donate my paintings to fundraising auctions for local charities.  I’ve also been active in art mentoring programs, working with young artists at local schools.

Sunnyshore Studio: Why are you excited to participate in the 20th Annual 2018 Studio Tour at Sunnyshore Studio? 

Melanie: Over the past six years, painting has taken a back seat to life.  I am grateful for Jason and Jenny’s encouragement to get back into painting and exhibiting my work here at Sunnyshore Studios.  New works are starting to dance in my head and painting feels scary and good! 

20th Annual Studio Tour Guest Artist: Judy Sullivan

Sunnyshore Studio is thrilled to have the gifted Judy Sullivan 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 We think you’ll love the paintings of this Camano Island artist.

Sunnyshore Studio: Tell us about yourself? 

Judy: I’ve been living on Camano Island, for about five years now, in the Country Club neighborhood.  Prior to living in Washington State, there was Kansas, Texas, even Pennsylvania.  Along the way, I’ve been active in Art clubs and Artist Associations, including the Kansas Watercolor Society, Wichita Women’s Artists, and the Camano Arts Association.  I’ve shown my work in several galleries throughout the years, including the Top of the Line Gallery in Fort Worth, Buffalo Trails Gallery in Jackson Hole, and of course the Seagrass Gallery on Camano Island. 

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Sunnyshore Studio: How did you get started in art? Describe how you got started, what were influences and encouragements, turning points.

Judy: There has never been a time in my life without Art.  My earliest memories are of drawing horses and other animals.  

Sunnyshore Studio: What has been your journey as an artist? Tell us something about your journey as an artist. What have been some of the significant milestones, turning points, achievements.

Judy: My High School Art teacher was a great influence, helping me choose art as a career.  I went on to get a degree in Art from the University of Arkansas and was thrilled to be accepted into the Top of the Line Gallery in Fort Worth, Texas within a year of graduating.  

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Sunnyshore Studio: What about your future as an artist? Where do you hope to go with your art? Where would you like to be in five years?

Judy: I hope to someday have my home studio on the Camano Arts Association Home Studio Tour.

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Sunnyshore Studio: Why are you excited to participate in the 20th Annual 2018 Studio Tour at Sunnyshore Studio? 

Judy: I was fortunate to have my work shown on previous tours at the Seagrass Gallery in Terry’s Corner.  But, since their closing, I have been “Gallery-less in Seattle”.    I can’t even begin to describe how thrilling it was to be invited as a guest artist at Sunnyshore Studio.  The Mother’s Day Studio Tour is one of the best Art events in the world, and it’s a true honor to be showing and sharing my art here.

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Meanderings between an old and new Studio

Most kids are not privileged to have an art studio next to their house. I was one who did.

In 1969, when I was just a few months old, my dad and mom moved to Camano Island to ten acres with a weathered white house and some old fox sheds for my dad to make a go of it as an artist.

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Dad converted one of the old fox sheds into a studio and called it “Sunnyshore Studio”, named after the “Sunnyshore Acres” section of Camano of which our property was a part.

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It was in that studio that I watched dad paint, and at age 16 painted a full sheet watercolor myself and realized that I had talent as an artist.

For many years I dreamed of building a studio on a plot of ground my parents had given to Jenny and I, which was also a part of “Sunnyshore Acres”, just a couple of hundred feet  south of my parent’s home.

That dream came true, when our family  moved back to Washington State after 13 years of my serving as a pastor of a Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis, IN. By God’s grace, we were able to build the new Sunnyshore Studio to showcase our family of artists and to share the beauty of Camano with the world.

This Monday, on my Sabbath day, I pilgrimaged up to my new Studio.

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I spent the day working outside. It was a beautiful day, and I find yard work at the Studio one of the most relaxing things of all.

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I puttered around, planting new Shasta daisies in Jenny’s Daisy flower bed, a Clematis vine along the fence, and three Hydrangea bushes that mom had given me.

I worked on a biography of my mentor, Otto Sather, and did some reading and note taking for my upcoming sermon series on 2 Corinthians.

But I also found myself wandering back to my childhood home and meandering outside, enjoying the flowers that grow so abundantly there tended and cared for as they are by mom.

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And circling around the old studio where I had spent so many hours of my youth.

 

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I also hiked down into the woods and took some photographs that will serve as subject matter for my next children’s book: I Remember Running Through the Woods. And the woods were lovely, dark and deep.

Then I made my way back to the new Sunnyshore Studio and painted a watercolor of a Beach Treasure washed to shore on the south end of Camano.

I can’t help in these meanderings to think of what an honor and privilege it has been for me to have access to art studio’s over my lifetime: places of creativity and culture making, places of making and doing and rest and renewal.

Mark Your Calendars for the 20th Anniversary Camano Island Mother’s Day Studio Tour this May

Sunnyshore Studio is excited to participate in the 20th Anniversary Camano Island Studio Tour and welcome the thousands of people who will make the pilgrimage down to the south end of Camano to view the many studios and galleries here.

The Studio Tour opens on Mother’s Day weekend, Friday, May 11th and runs Saturday, May 12th and Sunday, May 13th (10am-5pm) with an Encore Weekend, Saturday, May 19th and Sunday, May 20th (10am-5pm). 

Sunnyshore Studio will represent five generations of artists of the Dorsey family:

Fanny Y. Cory

Matriarch of our family of artists

Jack Dorsey

Father of Jason, April (Nelson), and Jed

Ann Cory

Granddaughter of Fanny Y. Cory and wife of Jack Dorsey

Jason Dorsey

Son of Jack Dorsey and Ann Cory

April Dorsey

Daughter of Jack Dorsey and Ann Cory

 

Jed Dorsey

Son of Jack Dorsey and Ann Cory

Julian Dorsey

Son of Jason Dorsey

Jackie Dorsey

Daughter of Jason Dorsey

 

We are especially thrilled to welcome Jed Dorsey back to Washington State! He will have just arrived the week of the Mother’s Day show and we can’t wait to share his epic artwork with old and new collectors.

We will also be featuring three guests artist which we’ll be introducing you to over the next month.

Mark your calendars for the Studio tour. And make sure to stop by Studio #5 as you enjoy Camano’s colony of artists and natural beauty. You won’t want to miss this event!

 

 

Feeling Lucky?

Feeling Lucky?

Here’s your chance to win some great prizes and support a great cause with Sunnyshore Studio’s Vintage Watercolorists of Washington raffle.

For just five dollars you can enter the raffle to win one of these four great prizes!

Prize #1

Jack Dorsey’s biography, Sketch of an Artist: $40 value

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Prize #2

Two Night Stay at Sunnyshore Studio: Enjoy our peaceful apartment amidst the beauties of Camano Island.

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Prize #3

Jason Dorsey’s I Remember Fishing with Dad children’s picture book and an original framed illustration from the book: $350 Value 

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Prize #4

Signed Copies of the inaugural Vintage Watercolorists of Washington – Thomas William Jones, Jack Dorsey, John Ringen, Nancy Axell, and Genny Rees: Priceless

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The Way the Raffle Works

  1. Buy one (or more) raffle tickets at our online store. March 23rd is the last day raffle tickets can be bought online at our store here:  https://sunnyshorestudio.com/store/
  2. We will fill out your contact information on the raffle ticket.
  3. At 5:00pm, on Saturday, March 24th we will draw four lucky winners.

What the Raffle is going for

Your support in buying a raffle ticket will help us produce the Vintage Watercolorists of Washington book that we are working on and plan to publish after five seasons of the Vintage shows, in 2023.

Thanks so much for your support in this way!

Raffle Tickets are available here: https://sunnyshorestudio.com/store/

Sunnyshore Studio releases videos to celebrate and preserve the stories of five Vintage Watercolorists of Washington

On March 10th, Sunnyshore Studio released five short videos that share the artistic path of the artists chosen for the inaugural “Vintage Watercolorists of Washington” show: John Ringen, Nancy Axell, Genny Rees, Thomas William Jones, and Jack Dorsey.

A special shout out to Julian Dorsey who worked hard on shooting these videos, and to Kyle Liedtke whose music weaves them together.

Enjoy learning more of their stories in those videos below. We are honored to share and preserve their stories in this way.

John Ringen: Teacher of Artists

Nancy Axell: Artist Organizer

Genny Rees: Artist and Mother

 

Jack Dorsey: Artist of the People

Thomas William Jones: Artist of Place

Video is currently being edited & reformatted.

 

Thomas William Jones: Vintage Watercolorist of Washington

Thomas William Jones is an artist of place: a Master artist who paints his impressions of the places where he has lived and what he has loved. The rural environment of his native OH first inspired his artistic gifts. And since 1967, the Pacific Northwest with its low light, long shadows, and rich hues has drawn them forth, like a conductor draws forth the musical gifts and passions of his orchestra.

Tom was born on August 13th, 1942 in Lakewood, Ohio.  He was a kid when they first moved into their Bay Village home, located along the shoreline of Lake Erie. It was during those initial Bay Village days that he remembers discovering earlier paintings that his father had done. Finding those watercolor paintings was a real beginning for him. “I remember watching my dad set up his paints on an old card table, usually about every other weekend.” Although Tom’s father wasn’t an artist by profession, he painted all his life. When recalling his father working with his brushes, paper and Windsor Newton paints, Tom says, “I think I was born with the Windsor Newton gene! I developed a sense of watercolor watching my dad paint.”

Tom grew up painting at a table alongside his dad and listening to stories of life during earlier Bay Village days. And while he and his father painted, Tom was also observing. Those images and stories came together, transferred into Tom’s heart and soul. He learned how to develop paintings and how paintings can tell the story of a place. Watercolor became natural for Tom, and he developed the ability to transfer his impressions to a painting. From that point on, Tom has  always loved watercolors. He “thinks in watercolor” and visualizes completed paintings in that medium.

As a kid, Tom remembers exploring the fields and woods with his dad and younger brother who also had a strong ability of painting in watercolors. Discovering other areas of Northern Ohio with its unique history, weather moods, and wildlife impacted his love of the landscape. All were deeply impressed upon his heart, giving him a sense of place. “Those beginnings were sort of my essence, my DNA, as far as watercolor goes,” he says.

Tom was also very fortunate to have Russ Larsen as his art teacher throughout junior and high school. Around 1956 or ’57, unbeknownst to Tom, Russ submitted one of his paintings for the National Scholastic Art Awards. Although Tom didn’t realize it at that time, the gold key award he won was a turning point. This kept him going and encouraged his latent artistic gifts. Russ continued following Tom’s career and became a life-long friend.

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Amber’s Horse,  Artists of America Exhibition,

 

Education and beginning career

After Tom graduated from Bay Village High School in 1960, he attended the Cleveland Institute of Art. Tom recalls, “Art school was the best thing for me and I was fortunate to go to the Cleveland Institute of Art. I had some great instructors, some who had been there up to forty years.” 

Tom recalls at the time of not having a lot of patience for detailed studies, but instead wanted to ‘get to the brush’.  Being able to visualize what he saw as a completed painting, he knew he could get things down faster with a brush.

During the summers of art school, Tom worked as a ‘line boy’ at Cleveland Hopkins Airport. He obtained his private, commercial, and instrument ratings by doing aircraft paintings and landscapes for corporate pilots. Like with painting, he was inspired in aviation by his dad. (Tom continued his interest in flying and today flies his restored 1950 Cessna 140.)

After graduation in 1964, Tom decided he didn’t want to go on for a fifth year to get a teaching degree. He just wanted to get going! Knowing he was a good artist, but not having a lot of direction at that point, he then joined the National Guard. After the six months of active duty, he worked for an aviation corporation near Cleveland doing artwork. After a couple years, he got his first big break, a commission that would bring him West in 1967!

General Telephone Company of the NW was adding a new addition to their headquarters in Everett. The company president wanted the public to experience the rural areas they served through an artist’s paintings.

At that time, General Telephone Company represented the outlying areas of the Northwest: From rural Washington to western Montanaand down the coast into northern California. So there was a wealth of places for Tom to explore. He was able to travel to those places and meet the heads of the different regions. They took him around and showed him what was of interest in those spots. Then he was free to roam around and discover what excited him about those places. Tom says, “I was fortunate being able to have free reign. It was pretty special. It was a real challenge too. I agreed to do twenty five paintings and thought I could do two a month. Then thought, “Wow! I sure hope I can do two a month!”

The Northwest was new territory for Tom. He had never been west of the Mississippi. This challenging year also turned out to be a wonderful one. And he DID finish up on time!

In the middle of that year his technique changed from a more opaque approach to a looser transparent one. A lot of that change was due to the Northwest light. The sun was lower in the horizon due to the latitude, especially during the Fall months when he first arrived. Tom recalls, “I was totally immersed in the new angle of light compared to the Midwest and was simplifying my compositions because of it. The light was enhancing only portions of landscape, one side of a subject, part of a face. With these deeper contrasts and organic hues of the Northwest, I was ‘freeing up’ in terms of light and dark.”

The commission brought Tom to the Northwest and he’s lived here ever since. But roots go deep. Tom still loves that part of the country where he grew up. It is a part of him, as the Northwest has become a part of him too.

Another big change for Tom happened when he met a special person named Carrie in 1968 and they tied the knot in 1973. Tom says of Carrie, “Although not an artist, she’s developed an ‘eye’ for art and is a tremendous sounding board for understanding the ups and downs of painting. In Carrie I have the biggest fan when encouragement is needed. With her, I have another right arm!”

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Painting the White House

Tom had a second big break. Here is how it came about. He was part of the invitational Artists of America exhibition in Denver for twenty years; from 1980-2000.  During one of those exhibits, he met a gentleman who at the time was on the President’s Committee on Arts and Humanities. He thought Tom’s art would make a wonderful Presidential White House Christmas card, so made a presentation to Mrs. Reagan’s social staff. Mrs. Reagan liked Tom’s work and chose him to paint the Blue Room for their 1985 card.

Tom spent several days in the Blue Room creating preliminary drawings, but did the actual painting in his studio. Mrs. Reagan loved his art so much that she asked him to create the cards for the next three years (1986-1988). Those subjects were East Room, State Dining Room and North Entry Hall and he was free to choose any composition he wanted. As before, studies were done at the White House, but the paintings were created back in Tom’s studio. The artists are not compensated, but they keep their original art. He kept one and the others are in private collections. Tom was honored to have some of his studies included in the White House Historical Collection.

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A Moment Alone,  1st place, Rocky Mountain National

 

Influences

In addition to his dad & Russ Larsen, there are others who have influenced him as an artist.

Tom recalls as a child having latched onto watercolor artists featured in hunting and fishing magazines. Most notably, the New England artist, Ogden Pleissner. Years later, Tom and Ogden were both included in one of Artists of America exhibitions and their paintings were hung in the same room. “It was a special time to express to him how much I had admired his work and the inspiration I received from it,” Tom remarks. 

“I also recall in the early 1960s flipping through an issue of  American Artist and on the watercolor page was Donald Teague’s Gold Medal winner from AWS, The Façade, and it was absolutely beautiful! Many years later I had an opportunity to tell him so at an exhibition we were both in.”

Tom continues: “The Northwest has been fertile ground for developing friendships with great people, many of whom happened to be artists. Among those are Mike Burns, William F. Reese, Perry Acker and the Dorseys. Carrie and I have been blessed to have lasting friendships with many collectors whose support and encouragement are like adrenaline to an artist. All have influenced our lives in so many ways.”

On Watercolor

For Tom, the beauty of watercolor is having an impression of what you want to create on that white sheet of paper and then to see that magic happen…to see it come alive! It is having everything unified where one cannot tell where it started or ended. Tom sums it up, “To have that happen on watercolor paper is one of the joys of painting for me.”

When it comes to watercolor, it is the light coming through his pigment that delights Tom the most. “Actually I like the paper light more than the pigment itself”, he says. “That feeling is very elusive in describing. But for me, it’s that beautiful light that comes through the paint that gives it that vibrancy.

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Sioux Moccasins,  AWS Bronze medal

 

Lessons

When asked about lessons for the next generation of artists, Tom jokes, “Don’t do it! Don’t ever do it!”

Tom points out that artistic life is a journey. “The lessons and experiences are going to be different for everybody due to the nature of art itself. There are no set paths, but there are certain ‘givens’ that I try to follow. Find an artistic route that’s comfortable for you. Keep walking and building confidence in your abilities. Maintain high standards while believing in your talents. Show your art wherever and whenever you can. And if there are rejections, know that we all have had them. Accept those as positives and keep going with encouraging people surrounding you.”

Tom believes that at a certain point in time there is a need for a little bit of selfishness, so you have to paint for yourself first.

Legacy

Tom hopes that others have connected with what he has created over the years and in doing so, they will remember images or conversations about his art. He would like to think that others will ‘live’ in his art, as he has done. And it seems they have. Over the years, Tom has received recognition for his artistic gifts, winning many awards. His paintings are sought after by collectors nationwide.

Tom’s gift is to have deep impressions of places he has lived and loved and to be able to put those on the white of watercolor paper to bring you to those places with him.

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We want to thank the Northwest Watercolor society for their partnership in our inaugural Vintage Watercolorist of Washington show.

We also want to thank David and Mary Anne Keyser and the Jack Dorsey family for sponsoring this years show!

Vintage Watercolorist of Washington: Genny Rees

Genny Rees appeared upon the watercolor scene of Washington in the early 1980s. Her story is one of the merging of her latent talent with a close friendship that came together to cause her artistic abilities to bloom, much like the florals she loves so much to paint.

Genny was born on September 10th, 1927 in the little town of Winona, Missouri, home to three hundred and fifty people.  She was born into an immediate family of six brothers and sisters, as well as six half -brothers and half-sisters.  Her Father died when she was fourteen. Genny, her mother and sister moved to Oregon, but her mother quickly became homesick for Missouri. So Genny and her mother moved to St. Louis where she attended high school. After graduation, Genny and her mother moved to Seattle to join her sister who wanted them to move in with her.

Genny met her future husband, Donald, in Seattle. They were married for almost sixty years. After they got married they moved from Seattle to Mercer Island in 1951. They lived there ever since, apart from two years in New York where her husband tried out working for a different company. Upon returning to Mercer Island, Donald, resumed working as a Boeing engineer, and a watchmaker in his spare time. Genny spent her time as a stay-at-home Mom to their five children.

Artistic Path

Genny had a cousin, Charles Wesley Copeland, with whom she had grown up in that little town in Missouri. He became a talented and famous illustrator in New York. She had always admired his work, and remembered that he could always draw anything. “I think I had him in the back of my mind all these years,” she says.

Finding time to paint while raising five children was hard. Genny fit drawing and painting in whenever she could. As a Girl Scout leader while her daughters were involved in scouting, she was able to bring her creativity to enhance the arts and crafts activities for the girls. It wasn’t until the early 1980s that the artistic talent in her bloomed, almost overnight.

In 1982, she joined the Mercer Island Visual Arts League (MIVAL) which is a large group on Mercer Island that hosts a big arts and crafts show every year. In 1989, she joined the Eastside Association of Fine Arts (EAFA), and in 1993 she was voted into Women Painters of Washington. By 1985, she was a signature member of the Northwest Watercolor Society, which is quite a distinction since it requires being accepted into two national shows. Their shows are now international shows.

What was behind this blossoming of her art?

Genny had always been interested in painting and drawing. In the early ‘80s she started actively exploring her artistic gifts, first trying oil painting, and then experimenting with watercolor. She took a weekend watercolor workshop on Mercer Island with Jerry Becker and loved it. “We did little paintings,” she remembers. Then she started taking classes at the Community Center on Mercer Island, and at Bellevue Community College. She took several workshops and avidly observed the demos available at MIVAL meetings. She discovered that she thoroughly enjoyed watercolor. “Then,” she says, “I sold my first painting at a church art show and that sort of made me come alive. But I think it’s always been in me to paint.”

The other factor that has stimulated her emergence as an accomplished artist has been her long-time friendship with fellow watercolor artist, Nancy Axell.  They knew of each other since they both lived on Mercer Island, but did not formally meet until 1982, when Nancy’s daughter, who lived in Alaska, needed her watch repaired. Genny’s husband fixed it, and Nancy brought him a pair of  Mukluks that her daughter had made to thank him.  That was when Genny and Nancy formally met. They shared a common interest in that Genny’s oldest daughter also lived in Alaska. Since then, they have been painting partners, artist friends, and colleagues in the same organizations. They have been able to support each other throughout their artistic careers and have watched each other grow as artists. Nancy says, “I’ve watched Genny’s work get better and better over the years, as she has won all kinds of awards, and rightfully so. It’s been a joy to witness her growth.”

Genny says, “We’ve been friends for so long and it’s meant a lot to me. We’ve done a lot of things together. We support each other with our art, and have belonged to the same organizations: MIVAL, Women Painters of Washington, and the Northwest Watercolor Society. We’ve both been active on the boards. (Genny was president of MIVAL in 1989 and Women Painters of Washington in 1995.)  As friends, we could always talk about the same things. She knew what I was doing. I knew what she was doing. We took workshops together and enjoyed watching each other paint.”

Peony

Influences

Besides her cousin and Nancy, there have been three major influences in Genny’s artistic journey. When she started taking classes at the Community Center on Mercer Island, she studied under a woman named Marjette Schillie. She also took classes from Jess Cauthorn who was a highly respected teacher and, she says, “taught us everything he knew.” Finally, there was Ann Brecken who still teaches around Seattle. “She was, and still is, a great inspiration to me.”

Struggles and Joys

Besides trying to find time to paint while raising her family, a significant challenge for Genny has been how vulnerable it makes her feel when submitting her paintings to art shows. “Putting my work out there in art shows to let other people see and critique is daunting,” she says. “I’ve kind of gotten used to that. I just put it out there and whatever happens happens. Sometimes you get in and sometimes you don’t. There are so many good artists out there.”

When speaking of the joys of being an artist, Genny says, “I’m happy that people appreciate my work. My paintings seem to bring people so much pleasure and that is a wonderful feeling.”

Genny shared how she received a letter from a woman who had cancer and was dying. Genny had given her a small painting.  The last thing she did was write a letter to Genny. Her husband sent it. In it she shared how much she had appreciated the painting. “That really made me feel good,” Genny said.

Genny has also enjoyed meeting other artists. “I don’t think there is any artist that I’ve met that I don’t like. They’re all great. They’re all friends, and it feels as if I’ve known them all my life,” she says.

Iris

 

On watercolor

“Just being able to have a piece of white paper and apply beautiful colors to it is exhilarating. When I paint my florals they just come to life. I love all of them.”

The white of the paper doesn’t intimidate Genny. She typically works from photographs, and takes a long time to draw it all out since she’s very detailed. She loves the interplay of color, the light and the shadows. Sometimes she has to rework her painting, but even then, Genny enjoys the whole process: “It’s just a joy to paint. I’m never as happy as when I’m working on a painting,” she says.

Her gift as a watercolor painter has been widely recognized. When asked when she realized that she was a good artist, Genny deflects: “I don’t know. I never think I’m good enough and I’m always trying to improve. I guess maybe I’m good. I don’t know. It’s just something that I love to do.

Dahlias

Lessons and Legacy

What lessons does Genny have for young artists, especially for moms in the midst of raising children?

“Observe everything and learn everything you can,” she says. “Read books. I’ve learned a lot from books. I don’t take as many workshops as some people do, so get a lot of information from my books and videos and from demos at art meetings. I would just urge aspiring artists to paint or draw every day if they can. I try to paint every day. And just enjoy it. Just do it,” she says.

For the past twenty-plus years, Genny has been the facilitator for an “Open Studio” at the Mercer Island Community Center, meeting every Monday from 1:00 to 4:00 P.M. “It is a great opportunity to get to know other artists and to help each other or just work on their own art in an open, non-judgmental environment. If you can, see if there is something like this in your community where you can work on what you want at your own pace, get feed-back (if you want it), and not worry about meeting deadlines or being graded,” says Genny.

“My philosophy,” says Genny, “is that people should do what they love to do as well as they can and enjoy doing it along the way.” Joseph Campbell once said, ‘Follow your bliss.’ And that is what I try do as I paint my watercolors,” she says.

When asked about her legacy Genny says, “Well, I haven’t thought too much about it. I’m sure my kids have thought about it. I have lots of paintings and they’re going to have to figure out what to do with them when I’m gone. I just hope my paintings inspire my children and grand children, and bring them joy,” she says.

Genny’s patrons, collectors and fellow artists will no doubt say that her great legacy is the hundreds of bright florals that sparkle on the white watercolor paper brought to life by a masterful hand. But one could argue that Genny’s life is a lesson that one’s devotion to one’s children and one’s artistic calling do not have to stand in opposition, but can flourish together and in the same person.

 

Vintage Poster-01

Come see Genny’s beautiful paintings as well as the artwork of four other Vintage Watercolorists of Washington at Sunnyshore Studio:

Saturdays, March 10th, 17th and 24th, 10am-5pm

Reception: March 10th, 3:00-5:00pm

Sunnyshore Studio is on Camano Island

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

 

 

 

Jack Dorsey: Vintage Watercolorist of Washington

“I’ve made so many friends through art.” Jack Dorsey

Jack Dorsey was born March 12th, in 1940 in Seattle, WA. He grew up in the Redmond area and attended the Lake Washington School District. When he was sixteen his family moved to the small community of Plain, WA near Leavenworth. There Jack finished high school. He attended Wenatchee Valley College for two years, then transferred to Seattle Pacific College, where he graduated with a BA degree in Art Education. He taught art for a couple of years in the Highline School District. In 1966, Jack married his beloved “Annie”. In 1969, Jack, Ann and baby Jason moved to Camano Island where he launched out as a full time professional artist. “I’ve been a Washingtonian all my life,” he says.

Jack always had a desire to draw. He grew up drawing things around their house. Jack’s interest in art was perked on visits to his Aunt Marion and Uncle Norm’s home in Seattle. Displayed on their walls were paintings by Grady Spurgeon. “His art was phenomenal,” Jack recalls. “He did oils. He did watercolors. They were so colorful, so vibrant. It was awe inspiring. It was my first museum exhibit.” When Jack was fourteen, the elderly Grady, Spurgeon invited Jack to stay with him for a couple of weeks to study under him as an apprentice. Jack was too shy and declined. He regrets that to this day.

Jack took art classes at Lake Washington High School from Mr. Greer, who was a good teacher. When he was eighteen he met Walter Graham, who was a well-known commercial artist from Wenatchee. At one time Walter Graham had owned the 4th largest commercial art studio in Chicago. “He flew his own airplane,” Jack remembers. Jack met him at the old Columbia Hotel in Wenatchee where Walter was working on a mural of wild horses galloping over a waterfall that was going to be placed in the Rocky Reach Dam. Walter took an interest in the young artist. “We went out sketching together; painting together; we ate together. We had great times together. He was a great inspiration,” Jack says.

Besides all these encouragements Jack’s “undying desire to paint” propelled him forward as an artist.

Jack started selling his paintings in the early 1960’s. He had success at both the Burien Art Festival and Bellevue Art Festival. And then a big break came. Ann’s father and mother gifted Jack and Ann with a little white house on ten acres on the south end of Camano Island. Jack could now devote himself to painting full time, while carving out a rustic life for their growing family. Over the next ten years Jack had many successes, most notably two solo shows at the prestigious Frye Art Museum in Seattle (in 1972 and 1979), and a solo show at the Franell Gallery in Tokyo, Japan (1979) where Jack sold all 32 of the watercolors he showed. This gift of a house “gave me a wonderful opportunity to paint full time,” Jack states.

Jack worked hard selling his art from 1969-1979. He displayed his paintings in a chain of Turkey House restaurants from Bellingham to Olympia. Al and Ethel O’Brien were friends and owners of the original Turkey House Restaurant in Arlington. With their business partner Jack McGovern they went on to build seven new restaurants. Jack’s watercolors graced the lobbies of each of these restaurants and he sold his paintings on a regular basis. In fact, that is where Francis Blakemore saw his work and facilitated his show at her gallery in Tokyo, Japan.

Nevertheless, it was hard to pay the bills for Jack and Ann’s growing family. So in 1979 Jack hired on at the Boeing company. “For 15 years I didn’t paint at all, or hardly at all,” Jack says. He retired from the Boeing Company in 1995. Jack’s art career was revived in 1999 when he began to participate in the Camano Island Mother’s Day Studio tour. Jack continues to paint and his artworks fill the homes of friends, patrons and collectors all over Washington State and beyond.

Recently Jack’s son Jason built a new Gallery/Studio just south of the family home called “Sunnyshore Studio”, in tribute Jack’s original art studio on Camano. Sunnyshore Studio recently celebrated Jack’s 77th birthday with an Art Retrospective and a book that tells his story, Jack Dorsey: Sketch of an Artist.

Jack Dorsey Book Cover - March

Artist Friendships

Jack met Mike Burns while they were both taking art classes at Seattle Pacific College. During those early years they were both trying to sell their paintings, and starting out at the lowest rung as artists. Jack reflects on their growing friendship over the years, “Before we were out of school we double dated. After college I would meet him at different art association meetings and we’d talk.” Mike was a highly talented artist who was making a name for himself. Unfortunately, Mike passed away in 1991 when he was only 47.

Mike’s memorial service provided a connection with another artist friend. Mike Burns had been a good friend of Tom Jones. Jack had seen Mike and Tom together at the Puget Sound Group of Painters meetings. Jack tells how it was at Mike’s memorial service that he reconnected to Tom Jones. “After Mike passed, Tom and I started corresponding. I sent him a Christmas card. He was out on the ocean at that time. Eventually we got together. Our friendship grew out of a mutual friendship with Mike.”

“As artists we look for companionship and likemindedness,” Jack says.

Northern Moss

struggles and joys of art

Jack tells how in 1979 before he went to work for the Boeing company he told Bill Reese and Jerry Stitt, who shared a studio in Redmond, that he had hired on at the Boeing company. “I’ll never forget Bill’s words,” Jack said. “He said, ‘Too bad.’” Up to that point Jack had been getting a reputation as a good artist. Bill knew right away that it was going to be hard for Jack to continue with his art while working at Boeing.

Jack believes that the hardest thing for an artist is to be an artist and nothing else. And to make enough money to live.

When asked about what were the joys of being an artist Jack said: “The highest joy that I can possibly even begin to try to explain is the joy of having someone genuinely love your work to where they purchase it. I’m not talking about the purchase part. I’m talking about the gratification that comes from of somebody admiring your skills and talents.

Not only does their enjoyment of Jack’s art thrill his heart, as a people person Jack thrives on making friends of his collectors and patrons. When people buy your art they basically become you’re friend; you have a connection. “I’ve made so many friends through art sales, and even with people who don’t buy,” Jack points out.

Magestic Madrona

on watercolor
“I love the magic and the mystical and elusive challenge watercolor brings. Watercolor can be handled so many ways, It can go “loosy goosy” or loose and tight, there are so many combinations,” Jack says.

For Jack, the challenge is to find the spark, the quality that sets your work of art apart from anyone else. He’s studied art and understands art subjects. Sometimes he chooses a subject based on the unique way he wants to approach it. “I pride myself in being able to say, ‘I don’t think I’ve seen anything quite like this.’ A lot of art is the same old same old.’” Jack wants his art to be common to experience but uncommon to expression. For Jack finding one’s unique quality is a combination of many things: “It’s the technique. It’s the style. It’s the vantage point. It’s the perspective and so forth. It takes a lot of things to make a real fine piece of art,” he states.

Mystery Sailboat

lessons
For Jack a critical lesson that artists should learn is to really be themselves. They should not try to be another artist. “Yourself comes out in your innermost being,” Jack says. Jack tires of the same ole same ole; where people get a glitch. “They ride the theme to death.” Jack believes that finding your own artistic style takes hard work, a lot of hard work. It takes determination. It takes vision and purpose.

Jack knows firsthand that an artist might have to put being a full-time artist on hold so that he or she can make real money from a “real job” Art isn’t always an easy way to make a living. An artist may have to do their art as an avocation until they are able to do it as their vocation.

Left Hanging

Camano Island’s colony of artists
When Jack moved up to Camano Island in 1969 he was one of the few artists on the island. Watercolorist Wes Broten was on the Island. Slowly a trickle of artists began to move to Camano, including prominent artists and art entrepreneurs like Karla Matzke, Jack Gunter and Jack Archibald. Jack remembers how people got confused him with Jack Gunter and Jack Archibald a lot. Jack Gunter and Karla Matzke were behind the launch of the Camano Island Studio tour in 1998 and which was instrumental in reviving Jack Dorsey’s artistic career. Now Camano is called home to a host of artists. Jack says, “yeah, we have quite a colony of artists here. I guess I’m one of the older ones.”

legacy
Jack’s legacy can be traced back to Leavenworth, the “Bavarian Village.” When Jack was a young emerging artist there were a few developers who wanted to turn Leavenworth into a Bavarian town. They invited Jack to talk art in a meeting in downtown Leavenworth before it was remodeled and they gave him a leading role as a promoter in the “Art in the Park” program. Jack is mentioned in Miracle Town, a book about the story of Leavenworth. “I was just a small player” Jack says.

Jack has been involved as a member of arts organizations in the Northwest. He was a member of the Puget Sound Group of Artists, and is life member of the Northwest Watercolor Society (NWWS) which he served as president of in 1979-80. In terms of legacy, Jack is pleased to share the story of his solo shows at the Frye Art Museum in 1972 and 1979 and his one solo show of my watercolors at the Franell Gallery in Tokyo, Japan.

But perhaps Jack’s greatest legacy is the many friendships he has made along the way in his art journey. Friends like Mike Burns and Tom Jones; the many collectors and patrons who have purchased his art and who have become his friends. For Jack the ultimate end of art may not be merely in the art itself, but in the community the art creates.

Wind Blown

Sunnyshore Studio invites you to celebrate the art and legacy of Jack Dorsey as well as four other vintage Washington Watercolorists.

Saturday, March 10th, 17th & 24th, 10am-5pm

Reception: Saturday, March 10th, 3-5pm

SUNNYSHORE STUDIO

2803 S.E. Camano Drive

Camano Island, WA 98082

 

 

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