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Remembering Fanny, the Matriarch of our family of artists

Today we celebrate the birthday of the matriarch of our Family of artists, Fanny Y. Cory.

Fanny was born October 18, 1887, in Waukegan, IL. She endured many hardships growing up, including the death of her mother and beloved sister, Agnes, from tuberculosis. By her late teens and early twenties she had become one of the leading illustrators in New York City, a profession dominated by men.

She married a Montana cowboy, Fred Cooney. Fred and Fanny raised their three children on their 400 acre ranch next to Lake Sewell (Canyon Ferry Lake), close to Helena, Montana.

To put her three children through college, Fanny took up cartooning. Her daily strip “Sunnysayings”, published by King Features Syndicate in newspapers throughout America for 35 years, was beloved by young and old alike. Besides Sunnysayings, she also illustrated, and sometimes wrote, “Little Miss Muffet” which was King Syndicate’s answer to “Little Orphan Annie.”

You can learn more about her life as an illustrator and cartoonist here. http://montanawomenshistory.org/drawing-on-motherhood-the-cartoons-and-illustrations-of-fanny-cory-cooney/

Fanny had an incredible imagination. She was also a wonderful gardener. Those two things came together in the imaginary world of fairies. During her years in Montana she began a series of watercolor paintings of fairies which after her death was published as the “Fairy Alphabet.” She considered her Fairy Alphabet her greatest artistic achievement. Fanny painted twenty six watercolors of fairies and wrote rhymes for each letter of the alphabet. These watercolors are now stored for preservation in the archive of the Montana museum of history. They are compiled today in her popular “Fairy Alphabet.” Because of copyright, we can’t show the original illustrations. But this “Dancing Daffodil” painting was not used in the series. It shows the soft watercolor and brilliant imagination Fanny had.

In 1952, Fanny moved from her 400 acre ranch near Helena, Montana, to a small cottage on Camano Island perched on a cliff overlooking Saratoga passage and the Olympic mountains to the west. She called the beach below “Montana Beach.” Her cottage was just across the road and down a long driveway from “Sea Crest Farm”, the farm on Camano where my mother, Ann, grew up.

Fanny welcomed her beloved grandchildren into her home, including my mom, Ann. She formed the “Grunt and Groan Art Club” where each member was encouraged to paint a painting every week, and they often painted together at her cottage.

Fanny continued to paint fairies into her 80’s. Even though her eyesight was failing and hand was a little shaky, they are charming.


Fanny also painted a little watercolor every day, a scene from her window, looking out over the water.

And every day into her 80’s Fanny did pushups and sit ups and read a chapter from the Bible. At night she kissed the picture of her beloved sister Agnes that sat on her dresser.

Fanny passed away on July 28th, 1972, at her daughter Sayre’s home in Stanwood, WA. But her creative gifts, her imagination, and her zest for life live on in her family of artists and creatives.


This October, Sunnyshore Studio is celebrating the life and legacy of Fanny Y. Cory by releasing the second season of “Fairy Sightings”. This short videos were shot at the home of Betty Dorotik, just a few hundred feet south of the cottage where Fanny lived. Here’s one of those videos from Season Two:

If you’d like to learn more about Fanny’s story you can check out this documentary I made in 2017.


My son, Julian and I, spent a couple days of vacation in Montana. Visiting the sights and shooting footage. His middle name is “Cory” named after his famous great-great-grandmother Fanny Y. Cory.

Fairy Sightings: Season Two launches

The highly anticipated Season Two of Fairy Sightings is here. Fairy Sightings honors the life and legacy of Fairy Master, Fanny Y Cory, matriarch of the Dorsey family of artists. Fanny painted and wrote a delightful fairy alphabet that still charms children, their parents and grandparents today.

A painting of a Fairy by Fanny in her 80’s

Fanny taught her granddaughter, Ann Cory Dorsey, to spot fairies in flowers. In this episode, Jason Dorsey, who is on a quest to spot fairies, visits, with his mother Ann, the garden of another Fairy Master, Betty Dorotik. Enjoy their walk through Betty’s garden and learn the lore of the fairies. You may even spot one, or two!

Fairy Sightings – Episode Two: The quest to spot a fairy at the garden of
Fairy Master Betty Dorotik

Season Two

If you missed any of Season One Fairy Sighting episodes you can catch up on them here. Microwave some popcorn, scoop a bowl of ice-cream, settle in for binge watching, and let the magic begin.

Fairy Sightings – Fairy Houses
Fairy Sightings – Introducing Fairy Mystery Boxes
Fairy Sightings – Fanny Y Cory’s Fairy Alphabet
Fairy Sightings – First Fairy Sighting
Fairy Sightings – Fairy Master Ann Cory, My Mom, won’t tell
Fairy Sightings – Fairy Friendly Environment
Fairy Sightings – Jason Discover’s a Fairy Circle
Fairy Sightings – Jason sees fairies dancing at night
Fairy Sightings – Willow’s Discovery
Fairy Sightings – The Treasure in the Fairy Chest

Fairy Sightings: Season One

In season one, Jason, inspired by his great-grandmother, artist and illustrator Fanny Y. Cory, begins his quest to sight a fairy.

For most of her life, Fanny lived on a ranch near Canyon Ferry, Montana. There she began her famous watercolor series of paintings of fairies now known as the Fairy Alphabet. She also kept a luscious garden, where many fairies made their home among the flowers. In 1952, Fanny moved from Montana to a little white cottage on a bluff overlooking Saratoga Passage on the southwest side of Camano Island. Her family suspects that Fanny brought many of her fairies with her, though she never said. However, she did continue to paint watercolors of fairies, even into her late 80’s when her eyesight was failing, like this one below.

Fanny also taught her granddaughter, Ann Cory Dodgson (she was named “Cory” after her grandmother), now Ann Cory Dorsey, the lore of fairies. They searched for Queen Mav, one of the fairy queens, in Fanny’s flowers on Camano.

Having been trained by her grandmother, Ann is now one of the few Fairy Masters in the United States. In this first series you can learn from Ann fairy lore, and watch Jason begin his quest to sight a fairy.

Season One: Episode One, “Fairy Sightings – Fairy Houses”

In Episode One, Fairy Master Ann Cory Dorsey, shares about where fairies live.

Season One: Episode Two, “Fairy Sightings – Introducing Fairy Mystery Boxes”

In Episode Two, Fairy Master Ann shares about Fairy Mystery Boxes and how you can start your collection of fairy things and even create a fairy friendly environment where they can live.

Series One: Episode Three, “Fairy Sightings – Fanny Y Cory’s Fairy Alphabet”

In Episode three, Fairy Master Ann shares more about her Grandmother, Fanny Y Cory’s, Fairy Alphabet book.

Season One: Episode Four, “Fairy Sightings – An Abandoned Fairy Home?”

In this Episode, Jason begins his search for fairies and at his mother’s home, Fairy Master Ann Cory Dorsey, discovers possible fairy houses and signs of fairy activity.

Season One: Episode Five, “Fairy Sightings – Fairy Master Ann Cory, my mother, won’t tell”

In this episode, Fairy Master Ann Cory Dorsey won’t tell her own dear son Jason for sure and once and for all if fairies live near her home.

Season One: Episode Six, “Fairy Sightings – Fairy Friendly Environment”

In this episode, Jason begins to search around Sunnyshore Studio, which is very near Fairy Master Ann Cory Dorsey’s home, for places where fairies might live and play.

Season One: Episode Seven, “Fairy Sightings – Jason Discover’s a Fairy Circle”

In this episode, Jason, son of Fairy Master Ann Cory Dorsey, discovers a fairy circle in the woods near Sunnyshore Studio. He calls these woods, “fairy hollow.”

Season One: Episode Eight, “Fairy Sightings – Jason sees fairies dancing”

In this episode, Jason searches for fairies at night, and sees what he thinks are fairies dancing at the fairy circle in fairy hollow.

Season One: Episode Nine, “Fairy Sightings – Willow’s Discovery”

Willow Dorsey, niece of Jason Dorsey and granddaughter of Fairy Master Ann Cory Dorsey, discovers a fairy treasure in fairy hollow.

Season One: Episode Ten, “Fairy Sightings – the Treasure in the Fairy Chest”

In this episode, Willow shares with her uncle Jason the treasure in the fairy chest. She is now helping her uncle Jason in his quest to sight a fairy? Will you help Jason too?

Help Jason on his quest to sight a fairy

You can help Jason on his quest to spot a fairy. Send your fairy lore, photographs, and videos to him at Sunnyshorestudio@gmail.com.

Want to start a fairy collection?

You can purchase a Mystery Fairy Box at Sunnyshore Studio (2803 S.E. Camano Drive, Camano Island, WA). We can’t tell you what’s in the box, but we think you’ll like it. We can also ship Mystery Fairy Box. To inquire about a mystery fairy box write to Jason at Sunnyshorestudio@gmail.com.

Fairy Sightings and Fairy Mystery Boxes

Sunnyshore Studio is thrilled to introduce to the world Fairy Master Ann Cory Dorsey. Ann learned the lore of fairies under the spell of her grandmother, artist and illustrator Fanny Y. Cory.

When Fanny moved to Camano Island in 1953 she lived in a little white cottage just down the road from the farm where Ann’s family. It was then that Ann began her tutelage under Fanny.

Now Ann’s ready to share her knowledge of fairies with the world. And the world includes YOU!

Ann’s son and Fanny’s great-grandson, Jason Dorsey, is on a quest to sight a fairy. He’s begun a course of study under his mother Ann. He’s promised to record as much as he can of what he learns and to share it with you.

Here is his first video introducing Fairy Master Ann Cory Dorsey.

If you would like to learn more about fairies, or perhaps create a fairy garden yourself, you may want to order a Fairy Mystery Box created by Jason’s wife Jenny. They are going on sale in May of 2019!

We will be posting our Fairy Sighting updates on our Sunnyshore Studio blog. You can also check them out on our Sunnyshore Studio YouTube site.

Fun opening weekend for second annual Dorsey Family Christmas Show

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

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

Jenny decorated it beautifully.

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

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

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It’s a lovely scene from the Cedarhome area.

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

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Watercolors by Jack Dorsey.

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

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

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April’s acrylics and mixed media.

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And Jed’s acrylics.

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

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

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

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

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

 

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