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The story behind 77 paintings on Jack Dorsey’s 77th birthday


“Not every artist has a key to the Gallery but not every artist helps spread the gravel in the parking lot for his/her upcoming show,” Jenny Wallace Dorsey, the Director and Curator of Sunnyshore Studio told me in an interview this week.


In an interview this week Jenny said “At the beginning of February I went up to Jack’s house and laid out all of his paintings. We talked about which paintings he would show. At that time, Jack indicated that he preferred a show with fewer, well-displayed, high-quality artworks.  Jack and I walked through the Gallery space and discussed the best usage of each wall. We decided the far wall would feature a large, beautiful oil painting of a sailboat silhouetted against a sunset. The opposite wall would showcase Jack’s abstract art as well as three sculptures, and so on.”


“On Friday, February 24th, I drove up to the Studio and hung the show,” Jenny continued. “I was really happy with its flow, colors and the complimentary subject matters. I felt we had a very strong show and I was curious to know what my husband, Jason, would think since this is his dad’s art.”

On Monday, February 27th, Jason drove to Camano to see Jenny’s handiwork.  While there were a few paintings still to be hung on the wall, he was very impressed with her collaging of the artworks and the overall impact of the show.

He took the following video at that time.

Meanwhile, Jenny knew that Jack was still making the final decisions on what paintings he was going to display. And while Jenny expected him to swap out a few paintings, she was not prepared for what happened next.

“On Friday, March 3rd, Jason and I drove up to Camano. We arrived late, well after rush-hour traffic. When I walked in the door I stopped dead in my tracks. I wondered what in the world had happened. It didn’t take me long to figure out that instead of Jack swapping out paintings he had added many new paintings. In order to make all of the paintings he had brought over fit, he had had to re-arrange the whole show,” Jenny said.

“I wandered around curious to see if I could understand the rationale behind each painting and contemplated what I should do. I decided to go to bed and sleep on it. That night I had a troubled sleep, with multiple nightmares of setting up the show and then Jack coming in and re-arranging it,” Jenny lamented.

“The next morning I was cataloging the inventory of Jack’s paintings when I realized that the show would have over seventy paintings. I wondered to myself if we’d hit the magic number of 77 which would correspond perfectly with Jack’s birthday since he turns 77 on March 12th. I counted 74 paintings and realized I that was all the paintings. Then it dawned on me that I had forgotten to include Jack’s three sculptures. So the total number of artworks that Jack had unknowingly brought over for his show ended up being 77 on the dot. And that made the rationale for the show work!” Jenny said.

She went on to say, “You can argue that technically Jack only has 76 pieces of art in the show since one piece was done by his mother. But I have not shared this with Jack because I’m quite confident that he is going to bring one more piece over anyway and I’m hoping it’s only one, not two.”

After talking with Jenny I interviewed Jack to understand his side of the story.


Jack said, “I didn’t realize that the show was all hung. It seems like there was a miscommunication between Jenny and I. We had more paintings at the house that I brought over. Annie encouraged me to hang more paintings saying, ‘you can’t sell paintings that aren’t displayed’, and so we kept adding paintings to the show. It just happened.  And I had no idea that it would be a show with 77 artworks.”

Jack concluded, “If anyone is to blame it’s me. I didn’t realize that the show was all hung and set. “

Well, there you have it. In a stroke of unconscious genius or in the providence of God that is how Jack Dorsey’s “Past to Present” Art Retrospective ended up with 77 artworks ranging from watercolor, to oil, to acrylic paintings to marble and wooden sculptures, and from impressionistic to realistic to symbolic and abstract artworks spanning over 50 years of painting: a real tour de force of artwork, revealing the prolific art legacy of one of the vintage watercolorists of Washington State.

In the end, this process reveals the way family is supposed to work. Families are meant to stick together through thick and thin, bring our strengths and individualities to the table, work through out differences, and help each other out.  Jenny smiled and said, “it’s not every artist who has the keys to the gallery where his art is displayed. And it’s not many artists who spend their afternoons helping his son spread gravel to enhance the parking lot. I’m glad Jack has the keys to the Gallery and is such a great help to Jason and I in so many ways.”

Stop by Sunnyshore Studio (2803 S.E. Camano Drive) on Saturday, March 11th (10:00am-5:0pm) and on Sunday, March 12th (1:00 – 5:00pm) to see all 77 (or is it 76) of Jack’s paintings. Or give Jack a call for a private showing (360.387.7304). Jack’s “Past to Present” Art Retrospective will be up through April 1st.


Meet the Sunnyshore Studio Grounds Crew and see their great work prepping for the Jack Dorsey Art Retrospective

On Monday, February 20th, the Sunnyshore Studio grounds crew put in a big day prepping for the Jack Dorsey “Past to Present” Art Retrospective.

First let me introduce the grounds crew, then I’ll share their heroic accomplishments.

Jason Dorsey is the chief foreman of the grounds crew. But being a relative rookie at spry and youthful age of 47, he sometimes get bossed around or questioned by Jack Dorsey, who at the ripe old age of 76 knows a thing or two. When he’s not trying to be in charge, Jack Dorsey is the Master-Teacher as well as just a solid, old-fashioned-hard-worker. The last in the grounds triumvirate is Jacob Dorsey. As the youngest he gets bossed around the most, but learns quickly and is by far the most agile and strong so he gets the hardest and, consequently, most glamorous jobs like lifting heavy stones, digging deep ditches, and pushing heavy wheelbarrow loads of dirt. So there you have it: the grounds team.


Now, about the stunning amount of work they got done on Monday, February 20th.

Actually, the work began a couple of days before Monday. Jack took about two days to wash mud off the round rocks used for drainage ditches and load them into his trusty ford truck. Jason, early on Monday morning, before 8:00am, after a cup of coffee and hearty breakfast, moved this rock from the truck to fill up about 15 feet of a drainage ditch. However, it was not enough rock. So he drove Jack’s trusty Ford to Donny Watkins place and picked up another truckload of round river rock. By that time Jacob and Jack joined him in filling the rest of the ditch with rock.

Donny Watkins arranged to have a bid load of gravel dumped in the area just north of the Studio. Jack and Jason spread this gravel out. At that time Jacob was nowhere to be found, having gone into the Studio to eat a bit and do some “self-care” (i.e. reading a book). After a while Jack was ready to have Jacob’s strong back and arms joining in on the spreading of the gravel so he went into the Studio to fetch Jacob. It looks great, and will keep it from getting “muddy”. Princess Jackie thinks it’s a perfect place to build her tiny house.


But that’s not all they did.

Jacob and Jason moved some large boulders and stones by hand to create something of a “feature”, a divide, between the gravel and the dirt which will eventually become a lush grassy area. Being of an engineering mindset and older-and-wiser Jack suggested the use of a dolley, and Jacob also being of an engineering mindset liked the idea too. Jason, being of a less of an engineering mindset p00h-pooed the whole idea, but was voted down. So with the help of the dolley and the strong back of Jacob they built a nice rock feature.


That was not all their accomplishments. They also spread a huge pile of topsoil out on the grassy bluff east of the studio looking onto the water. This lawn will eventually be the outdoor gathering space for the studio, perfect for lawn parties, for outdoor concerts, and campfires.

In conclusion, the grounds are coming along nicely in time to celebrate artist Jack Dorsey’s 77th birthday with an Art Retrospective. It is strange to have someone on the grounds crew with the same name of a legendary artist, especially on such a small Island as Camano. You can meet the Artist Jack Dorsey at the Art Retrospective that looks back over Jack’s 50+ years as an artist. And you might also be able to catch a site of the grounds crew member too, if he happens to show up.

  • Saturday, March 11th, 10:00am – 5:00pm
  • Sunday, March 12th, Noon – 5:00pm
  • March 13th -April 1st: Gallery open for private showings (call 360.387.7304)






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