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Eric Locke’s big musical contribution to the We Are Family documentary

By Jason Dorsey

The We are Family documentary that tells the story of an inner city basketball team that won the Indiana basketball championship against all odds took a big step forward musically thanks to the generous contribution of my friend, Eric Locke. Here’s that story.

A couple of weeks ago I realized that our feature documentary, which is about 2.5 hours long having been cut down from over five hours, still has a lot of musical holes. Through the funds raised by the Kickstarter campaign, I had been able to pay a lot of gifted musicians for their original compositions.

But I was out of money and we we had musical holes to fill. So I reached out to some of my musician friends, including Eric. Months before, I had connected Eric to David to see if any of his music might be a fit. But I hadn’t heard back from David so I figured I would ask again. Eric sent David a link to his music on YouTube and David wrote back.

“…The thing is, his stuff is GREAT.  He’s got a positive vibe running through, and generally the right kind of high energy levels we would need for game footage, but also in some cases under the talking heads, to give those some energy.”

Here’s an example of one of Eric’s songs.

Eric graciously gave David and I permission to use his music for free, as a gift! This generous gift will allow us to fill musical holes, and it is another great example of how this has been a community project. I could not do it without friends like Eric who have stood with me.

Here’s a short interview I did with Eric.

Jason: Eric when did you first hear about the We are Family project?

Eric: Hmm…I probably first heard you talking about the project here and
there while getting to know you in the past couple of years before
getting a fuller appreciation of it when the Go Fund Me campaign went
live.

Jason: Months ago you agreed to let us use your music for the film (thanks so much!). But then you didn’t hear back from us. What were you thinking in those “silent” months?

Eric: I enjoyed and appreciated the interest but didn’t dwell on it much after doing my part as advice from wiser people (and personal experience) has taught me that it’s best to approach opportunities often but lightly.

Jason: Tell me about yourself as a musician.

Eric: I got my first guitar at 14, was in a few bands here and there while
growing up. In the late 90’s when digital recording for the masses was opening up the Mrs, (Stephanie) let us get some recording gear and I was able to start learning how to record to try and get these melodies and ideas out of my head. While I work primarily in fits and starts I’m grateful to realize at least some of the ideas and concepts that get stuck in my mind. I feel fortunate to live in a time where technology can allow an individual to
do that.

Jason: What were early musical influences in your life? Inspirations?

Eric: The earliest were probably movie soundtracks. My dad would have music from soundtracks and artists of the day playing through the house while he was cooking or some such. My sister and I would go skating at the
local skating rink almost every weekend so we were exposed heavily to
pop music of the day there. Rock, soul, etc. When I got into electric guitar it was an unexpected trip into heavier music due to a friend I had. One moment I’m trying to learn a Michael Jackson song and the next my friend is tossing it across the room and “forcing” me to learn Heavy Metal. I don’t think I’d be into composing music now if it wasn’t for that but I was a little chapped at the time as I had a pretty low appreciation of Metal.

Jason: Did you have training as a musician or are you self-trained?

Eric: Self taught though the thought of taking time out for training is very
inviting nowadays.

Jason: Have you been a part of bands?

Eric: Yes I have and I’ve met some truly wonderful people as well as having
some good formative experiences. I don’t know that I’m a good “band”
member in that I don’t do well improvising and I really lean towards a
singular vision but everybody I’ve ever worked with has been good sports
in letting me participate and maybe one day I’ll hit a tipping point and
“get it”.

Jason: Talk to me about your compositions. What is your style? What are you trying to do with your sound?

Eric: I really enjoy a wall of ethereal sound. The Mrs, (who has a beautiful
voice) has been kind enough to work with me and I’m really content with
what has come from the collaboration so far. I’m enjoying her soft voice
over heavier ethereal music. We worked up a version of The Mighty Power of God, music by Phil Peterson, (Grammy Nominated) who is an old Chief Musician of Grace Church Seattle and I couldn’t be happier with the sound and style achieved there and other compositions since then performed by The Undone Orchestra. We’ve hit a stride that I’m really content with and I look forward to exploring more of that style in the future.

Jason: What was it like after the months of silence to hear back from
David Lichty that your music would be a perfect fit for the documentary?

Eric: It was a true highlight for myself. I felt like I got a small taste of
the glory that these young men, their families, coaches and community
had all worked for.

Jason: Any last thoughts?

Eric: I’m looking forward to seeing the entirety of the We Are Family story,
how my music folds in and a big “Thank You!” to all for letting me
participate. All the Best!

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

10 Days left to apply for Acrylic University’s ACCESS TO ART program

Acrylic University is launching an ACCESS TO ART program to provide artistically gifted, underprivileged youth ages 13-22, with access to high quality art instruction, art supplies and a supportive art community for FREE.

The value of the two years of access to Acrylic University’s online art instruction is $800. Add to this the $200 of art supplies for a total of $1,000 of value. In short, the ACCESS TO ART students are receiving an incredible opportunity!

Our pilot program launches in November 1, 2019, has already received two applicants. We are working with four other youth who are currently in the process of applying.

We only have room for TEN in our pilot ASSESS TO ART program that will be facilitated by Jason Dorsey.

Learn more about the program here: https://sunnyshorestudio.com/portfolio/acrylic-universitys-access-to-art-program/

Here’s a link to Acrylic University. Check it out.

Reach out to Jason for an application by contacting him at: j.dorsey23@gmail.com

Announcing Acrylic University’s “ACCESS TO ART” Program

Synopsis

Many low-income, artistically gifted youth do not have access to art training, art supplies, and a nurturing artistic community. Sunnyshore Studio is partnering with Acrylic University (AU) to launch AU’s Access to Art program. Through a grant and the support of an Advocate, ten youth will receive two years of art instruction through Acrylic University’s online platform, acrylic art supplies worth $200, and inclusion in AU’s online community of artists.

Check out the introduction video to Acrylic University here:

The Need

Many young people have great artistic potential but do not have access to art instruction and supplies. Public education’s focus on the core subjects of math, English and science, and its value of athletics often means that these young people’s artistic potential is not encouraged. The cost of private art lessons and art supplies make the cultivation of young people’s artistic gifts available exclusively for the wealthy. Acrylic University aims to make access to art accessible for young people, especially youth from low income families. Access alone to art instruction and supplies is not enough. These young people need the encouragement and critique, nurture and support of a community for their artistic gifts to flourish.

The Mission

The mission of AU’s Access to Art program is to provide artistically gifted youth a two-year access to art instruction, art supplies and a supportive art community. 

The Vision

Over the next decade to raise up gifted, successful artists who share beauty with the world by providing the Art for Access Program to over 100 students.

The Program

Acrylic University believes access to art instruction, art supplies, and a supportive art community is the key to unlock the artistic potential of young people. Our program is aimed at providing this access to youth 13-22 years of age, and is especially geared towards youth from low-income families.

  1. Art Instruction: Acrylic University provides online instruction in acrylic painting from Master artist Jed Dorsey. Jed’s engaging, encouraging instruction style allows for youth to learn “over his shoulder and through his heart.” Much of what we learn is from watching someone else, learning from them. Acrylic University offers classes beginning with 101, the most basic class to more advanced classes. Because the instruction is on-line, the student can watch the lessons from his/her phone, or a computer at the library or at home.
  •  Art Supplies: Acrylic University ships a backpack with all the necessary art supplies to begin painting. See list below. It also includes a supply list for the student so that he/she can have a guide to purchase supplies in the future. It is important that all of the supplies fit in a backpack because many of these youth live transient lives, moving from apartment to apartment and they need to be able to carry their mini-art studio with them.
  • Art Community. Enrollment in AU’s Access to Art community immediately connects the artistically gifted youth into a supportive, encouraging community. This starts with an “Advocate” who knows the youth’s potential and pledges to support them in their journey. The advocate is someone who knows the student and is in their lives. It might be a parent, grandparent or guardian, or a teacher.  After filling out an application and acceptance into the program, the youth is connected to a multi-generation community of artists facilitated by a “Coach” who provides support, encouragement, and critique.   

The Process

An “Advocate” identifies a youth aged 13-22 who has artistic potential and on the application form pledges to support that youth in their journey.

  • The youth applies to the Access to Art Program. The application includes the signature of the Advocate. After acceptance into the program, the youth is placed on the waiting list for an Access to Art Program Grant (see below).  
  • After receiving the Access to Art Grant, AU (1) ships the backpack of art supplies to the Advocate who gets them to the student, (2) registers them for the online instruction portal, and (3) connects them to the online art community.
  • At this point the youth is considered a member of Acrylic University and welcomed to participate in all of the programs of AU including submission of art to the annual juried Acess to Art (online) Art show (see below).
  • After the youth graduates from the two year Art Access program of Acrylic University. They can choose to (1) continue in Acrylic University by paying the regular fee, (2) apply for being a AU “coach” and receive the AU instruction as their reimbursement for being a coach.  

Online Art Show

Entering artwork in a show, having your art juried, selling and shipping artwork, and paying a gallery commission are vital steps to grow and to be affirmed as an artist. In Partnership with Sunnyshore Studio, AU provides an online Art Art Show where Access to Art Students can showcase and sell their artworks. A 10% commission on student’s artwork that is sold will be taken to cover administrative and promotional costs of the online art show. Advocates play an important role in this art show by promoting their student’s artwork via social media and with their network of friends, and by helping walk the student through the shipping of artwork that is sold (if shipping is required).

Program Cost and Access Grant

The cost of providing access for one youth in Acrylic University is $350. We are looking for generous supporters who want to help youth have access to art. If you are interested in supporting a youth in the Access to Art program contact Jason Dorsey (see information at the bottom of this link). You can pay for all, or part, of a student’s access to art. The cost is broken down in this way:

  1. $100 = Art for Access “Student Rate” for online instruction
  2. $200 = Mini-Studio Supplies (backpack, easel, brushes, paint, etc.)
  3. $50 = Shipping and Handling of art supplies.
  4. $350 = Access Grant for one Student

The Pilot

In Partnership with Sunnyshore Studio, Acrylic University is launching the pilot Access to Art Program in October, 2019. Jason Dorsey, Artistic Director of Sunnyshore Studio will be working with advocates to identify ten artistically gifted youth. After the youth have are accepted into the Access program, they will be eligible to receive the Access Scholarship. In October 2019, Jed Dorsey will have a solo art show at Sunnyshore Studio. Sunnyshore Studio is donating 5% of the commission and Jed and Renae Dorsey are donating 5% to raise Access Grants to fund the ten students. In the fall of 2020 show, artworks by the students who are a part of the Access Program will be showcased in an online Art Show.

Advocate Commitment

Advocates are vital for AU’s Access to Art Program. They serve in three important ways.

  1. First, the Advocate identifies a gifted young artist (age 13-22) and works with them to complete and turn in an Access to Art Application.
  2. Second, once the student receives a grant, AU ships the backpack and art supplies to the youth. The Advocate ensures that the youth receives the art supplies.
  3. Third, the Advocate supports the student as they showcase their work on the online Art Show including (1) sharing the student’s participation in the online show via social media and with his/her network of friends, and (2) helping youth ship artwork to purchaser if this is required.   

The Timeline

August 15, 2019: Applications Due

September 1, 2019: Art Access Pilot Program Members Announced

October 2019: Jed Dorsey Art Show and Art Access Fund-Raiser

November 1, 2019: Pilot Program Begins

October 2020: Paintings of Access to Art Pilot Program Members online Art show

Art Supplies

The following art supplies will be provided for Access to Art Students along with a backpack to carry them in.

  • 23 Canvases
  • 9 Tubes of Paint (warms and cools of primary colors, plus gray, white and black)
  • Paint box (for holding paint)
  • Palette (Masterson Sta-Wet Palette – mini version)
  • Set of 10 brushes
  • Sketchbook  
  • Set of 6 pencils with sharpener
  • Tabletop Easel
  • Spray Bottle
  • Masking Tape
  • Value Finder

Note: Students and advocates will need to provide water buckets for cleaning brushes, and paper towels (or rags). Hair dryer and hydrogen peroxide are optional (used for helping Sta-Wet Palette stay fresher for longer).

Applying to AU’s “Access to Art” Program

We are only taking 10 students in the pilot Access to Art Program.

  • Applications must be post-marked by August 15, 2019 (or e-mailed by August 15)
  • Applications will be evaluated in the order in which they arrive.
  • Youth who are not admitted into the pilot program will be placed on a waiting list.

If you would like to apply for the pilot Access to Art program, please request an application by sending your name and e-mail address to Jason Dorsey. You can contact him via phone at 317.209.6768 or e-mail: j.dorsey23@gmail.com.

Second Annual Work Party at Jack and Ann Dorsey’s Home on Saturday, July 13th.

On Saturday, July 13th, Jason Dorsey is organizing the second annual work party at his parent’s home on Camano Island, WA (2772 SE Camano Drive). Work will begin at 9:00am. We’ll break for lunch and wrap work up around 2:00pm. After this whoever wants to stay is invited to an afternoon playing on a beautiful Camano Beach (2:30-5:00pm) and BBQ dinner at Sunnyshore Studio (2803 S.E. Camano Drive).

You can come for any part of the day you would like!

Last July, Jason Dorsey held the first big work party. A great crew helped out. We split and stacked wood for the winter, dug out and filled a drainage ditch, cleaned the shake roof, weeded the flower garden, pulled ivy and lots of other stuff.

Here are some photos from last year.

Afterward working we played at Inverson Beach, making a huge raft.

If you plan to attend the work party let Jason know (j.dorsey23@gmail.com) so that he can plan food accordingly!

We are Family, May 1 Update, Life Happens

We are plugging away at the We are Family Documentary. Here’s an update on where things stand May 1.

Hard Work and Life Happens

My friend and video editor, David Lichty, has been working hard. He has woven our footage together into 5 parts, each approximately an hour long. Think of this like a docu-series.

  • Part One: Background
  • Part Two: Season Starts: First part of season up to the ESPN game
  • Part Three: Golden Age, with Tech crushing opponents up the Hamilton SE game
  • Part Four: Teach character and into the State Tournament
  • Part Five: Championship Game and Impact

It’s a very interesting and well told story. I was watching one of the sections and my daughter Jackie started watching and said that it was interesting to her (she could care less about basketball) and “good”. That was encouraging.

Then Life Happens.

On March 28, David’s dad, named Bill, went in for a minor dental surgery. There were some complications, and the short of it is that Bill has been at Methodist Hospital three times, and the rest of the time at a care facility, and still has not gone home. In fact, he’s not doing well. David has been a faithful son. He’s at his side every night, and bearing a lot of stress in doing so, and sadness too. He’s exhausted.

I’ve encouraged David to be totally present with his dad and that the film can wait. Still, through the last month, David has continued to work. I hope in some ways that has been therapeutic for him. It is certainly not expected by me. So life happens, and you roll with the punches. You can pray for David and his dad Bill. I know he’s appreciate that.

Most of the Music has been delivered

Most of the music that we purchased has been delivered. We’re waiting to wrap up the feature documentary that will be approximately 1.5 hours to have Caleb Buse add his three songs, and Steve Wicks to do the final mixing and mastering, as well as filling out the sound track.

We have music from Daniel Dorsett (Tech fight song), Boyhood Bravery, Seaux Chill, Eron Harris, OsoKing Mezzy, and Malcolm Jordan. I can’t wait to share their awesome music with you in the film!

Eron Harris song “Titans”

Recruiting Tremayne Reed as Associate Editor for We are Family Feature Documentary.

David and I had the pleasure of working with Tremayne Reed to capture video footage. Tremayne also created our movie trailer. Check it out here.

We were super impressed with Tremayne’s professionalism, his eye for video production, and his work ethic. We’ve offered him the job of Associate Video Editor for the film and we’re hopeful that he’ll take it. This will really help move the ball forward with the Feature documentary.

Hired a Lawyer

I hired a lawyer to help us with some legal matters. For example, as I’ve shared about before, to get permission from the Indiana High School Athletic Association to use three of their videos in the documentary we needed to have Errors and Omissions Insurance.

As I began to work with the Insurance company I learned that I had to have a “Title Report” done by my attorney to provide proof that our title “We are Family” is not copyrighted and we have permission to use it.

So I had to bite the bullet and hire a lawyer. But this is ok. It is what it is.

Still, by God’s grace, somehow within budget

I’m actually quite amazed to be able to say this, but even with the extra costs that we had not anticipated:

  • $1,200 to put a lawyer on retainer
  • $2,000 Errors and Omissions insurance
  • $500 for IHSAA video usage

We are still right at what we were able to raise through the kickstarter campaign. I take this as a kindness from God. I just wanted to make a quality documentary to share a great story about some awesome kids and their coaches and a city that rallied around them. I had no idea of the challenges of doing this I would face along the way.

I’m so thankful for the generosity of about 110 people who gave 25K to make this project happen. The end result will be worth it all.

Animation

One last thing. A friend of my brother Jed from Indianapolis, Todd Gardner, heard about the documentary and was interested in helping out. He has a graphic design and video company, bitNbydesign, inc. Anyway, he said that he had been playing around with an animation for the movie and he gave us permission to use it, for free! I don’t know if we’ll use this in the film or for promotional purposes, but it was a great encouragement to receive this last week! Here it is.

Exclusive Screening in Indy

We don’t have a date for the exclusive screening in Indy. But we’re hoping in mid to late summer. I’ve learned my lesson about setting dates, and there’s still lots to do and hoops (no pun intended) that we need to jump through. But we’re making progress and the finished product will be great: it’s a story worth telling. And I thank God that I have the opportunity to share it!


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.

Meet Vintage Watercolorist Jerry Stitt: Artist of Emotion

BEGINNINGS

Jerry Stitt’s paintings captivate. They hover on the watercolor paper, even dance. In their presence you know that you are in the presence of a master. They touch you at a deep, emotional level.

Jerry Stitt was born to be an artist, but it took many years before he took the plunge. He grew up in Seattle on Queen Anne Hill. There was seven children in the family. Jerry had three brothers and three sisters. He was right in the middle. “We had a great life,” he says. As a youngster Jerry saw pictures in his head, and like a lot of children, he had to paint them; but we was really serious about painting, even from a young age.

The family lived a block away from the grade school. Jerry went to Queen Anne High School. He had to walk a mile and a half every day, and he was always late getting there. “That’s alright,” he remembers, “I enjoyed the walk all the way to the school because I’d see all these buildings and all kinds of stuff that I would want to paint and draw.”

Jerry remembers everything he’s seen since he was about six years old.  He doesn’t need to look at anything to draw or paint it because he holds it in his memory. He recalls not just the images themselves but the emotions of those images too, say for example, a building in the snow or a road in the heat of summer. He remembers his dog named Prince who loved to go walking with Jerry: “He was a collie, a beautiful collie dog, and he would go everywhere with me.”  

After high school Jerry worked a number of jobs, while going to art school when he could. “I did everything,” Jerry says. He was a stage hand for the Seattle Opera House for five years. He enjoyed that because he not only met a lot of celebrities from all over the world, but saw how the stage was created for a particular scene, like the cabin in Fiddler on the Roof. Without knowing it, he was picking up art and design skills. He drove a taxi cab for four years; two years during the day and two years during the night. “Believe me, there’s a difference,” Jerry notes.

He worked for the Parks Department of the City of Seattle for nine years, stationed at the Woodland Park Zoo. There he became a journeyman plumber after three and a half years of training. He spent a year and a half in the carpenter shop, learning how to build stuff. But his favorite was working in the paint shop for about four years. That’s what he loved.  He painted all the life boats for the summer season, and did a lot of lettering. “That was a lot of fun work for me,” he states. He also painted many Park and City of Seattle buildings. One building stands out.

Jerry was sent to paint the Elephant House at the Zoo. He put the five-gallon buckets of paint and all his gear in his truck and drove to the Elephant House. He came to the field where the elephant was, and the great big tall building that he was to paint. And there in the field was the elephant, and a hippopotamus too. The hippo was a good distance away and looking at him. “He was facing me, and he’s a big animal.” Jerry recalls. Jerry felt comfortable with the distance between them, so he grabbed his paint buckets, set them down over the fence, and climbed over the fence. He started to carry the buckets over to the building when “the hippo came running full bore at me, and in between me and him was this pond. He leaped in the pond and he was so big and fat that he bounced out of the water. And he was coming out of the water and I grabbed those paint buckets just in time and got them over the fence, and I leaped over the fence just as he got there,” Jerry tells.

Jerry thought to himself, “what an aggressive animal.” The Hippo moved back to where he had started, so Jerry went back over the fence. He eyeballed the hippo and thought to himself, “Well, I have to paint this building” so he bravely set out. He says, “I put the paint buckets over the fence and here he comes again, barreling right at me.” This went on a couple of times. Finally, Jerry told one of the zoo keepers about the hippo attacking him and asked what he should do. Eventually they figured out that when the zoo keepers feed the hippos they use the same paint cans from the paint shop, filling them with lettuce and other food that the hippo ate. When Jerry had put his paint cans over the fence, the hippo thought it was dinner. That was just one adventure of many that Jerry had working at the zoo for those nine years.

Jerry married Sharon Hyde, whose had a son named Rick who would become a gifted artist himself. Jerry and Sharon had three kids of their own: Ronnie, Rhonda and Christian. They were together for about ten years. Jerry’s second marriage was to Deanne Lemley, who is an outstanding artist herself.

PATH INTO ART

Jerry was inspired to take the plunge into art by a painter on television, who moved his brush effortlessly across the page. He was twenty-seven. During these years of raising a family and working for the City, Jerry took art classes at night, because he worked during the day, and had a family. He loved going to classes at Cornish Art School and another college on Capital Hill. He studied under a great art teacher whose name was Fred Marshall. Fred was an illustrator for the Seattle Times newspaper for twenty five years. “He helped me a lot because he could that I was ahead of the other people in the class,” Jerry remembers. Jerry took a shine to watercolor right away. “Yeah, those were the good ole days,” he says.  

Eventually Jerry decided art was what he wanted to do with his life. “It always came down to my art, that was what I wanted to do,” Jerry says. He knew he had to make a living at it. So he started teaching watercolor painting classes. He’d work his day job, then get a studio in the evening where he’d teach his classes; then it was back to work at the city job he had during the day.

Thankfully, art allowed for him to integrate work with his family. He was able to bring his oldest son along with him to art classes. They’d travel to art classes in different cities and out in the country. Jerry remembers that the country folk would sometimes trade him vegetables and other stuff they had made for tuition for his classes. They had a good time together, and his son learned a lot too. ”I taught him how to draw. He became a great painter,” Jerry says.

Jerry taught for the University of Washington for five years, and for the University of Puget Sound too. The University of Washington would send him on assignments to bring “culture to the outside world” as they put it. They sent him to all kinds of different places around Washington State, as well as Alaska and down to California. “I went everywhere, for a week at a time,” he says.  

Jerry loved teaching. He did his my homework and knew what he was talking about, and how to put art lessons is simple, memorable phrases like this one: “art is like golf, the winner is the one with the fewest strokes.” He had an acute memory, had years of architecture and design under his belt, and had the magic of being able to pull off a sparkling, even stunning watercolor with a class of students looking on. He always did a demonstration painting in his watercolor classes. They inspired the students, and Jerry would get inspired in the moment too.

INFLUENCES

Jerry has studied with such masters as Fred Marshall (AWS), Rex Brandt, Robert E. Wood (AWS), Christopher Schink and John Ringen. Regarding John he says,“I learned so much from John. He was a great painter. And he had a great sense of humor. He was fun to be around.”

Perhaps Jerry was most impacted by the Russian artist, Sergei Bongart. “He was a genius painter, the best,” Jerry says. Sergei told his students the story of how he got out of Russia. He and a friend wanted so badly to get to the United States that they walked from their hometown in Russia 2,000 miles to the German border. He and his friend walked day and night 2,000 miles to get to the German border. They walked day and night, and had to remain hidden as best they could. They found farms to stay on and would dig potatoes for food. Finally Sergei came to the Russian-German border. At the gate stood a border guard. And down the road towards him came rumbling a Soviet Truck with some soldiers in it. Sergei knew they would apprehend him. But so determined to leave Russia and go to the United States he was that he risked his life. “I’d rather die than go back to Russia”, he thought. So he walked through the gate. He waited to get shot. His pace hastened as he went through; he kept waiting for the guard to cock the pistol and shoot him in the back. He walked faster and faster. Still he didn’t hear the clicking of the magazine. Sergei got into Germany, and somehow got on a freighter that brought him to the United States. He made his way from New York to Memphis, Tennessee.

“He was one of my all-time great painter teachers,” is the way Jerry concludes the story. Those who know Jerry’s art affirm that he has some of the genius painter in himself, just like Sergei Bongart his mentor.  

JOYS AND STRUGGLES AS AN ARTIST

Jerry take art and painting very seriously. He just stayed with it, and he learned from everybody he could. Art can be a solitary vocation, but in it Jerry found camaraderie. He joined the Puget Sound Group of Northwest Painters, who had a reputation for high quality art above all else. They were great guys and gifted artists that he had looked up to. Jerry looked forward to all those meetings and soon became President of the group. “I was among all those other big guns,” he says.

Jerry had significant success in his art career. He became a signature member of the prestigious American Watercolor Society (AWS), based in New York, in a notable way. To become a member an artist has to enter only one painting in their once-a-year national show, and you have to get accepted into that AWS three years in a ten-year span. “Well I entered it three years, and got in every year,” Jerry says with well-deserved pride. Jerry became a signature member of AWS, and as a result can sign AWS after his name. “That was quite an honor,” he says.

Jerry is also a signature member of the National Watercolor Society (NWS) as well as many of the other big watercolor societies like the San Diego Watercolor Society, the Missouri Watercolor Society and the Northwest Watercolor Society, which he served in the past as president.

But art wasn’t all the easy street for Jerry. One of the things struggles that he faced was in dealing with galleries. “I went in with my eyes wide open, [assuming] that they’re all reputable, and honorable. Most of them were, but not all. They would sell your paintings, and the rent would be due the next day, and they would say, ‘we’ll catch up to you,’. I ended up paying the rent for their gallery to stay open and didn’t get paid,” Jerry recalls. As other artists have learned, galleries tend to take a pretty good commission, usually at least 33% of sales.

Still Jerry was very fortunate. People liked his paintings and he made a very good living. He was able to make a full-time living through his art. He got a studio with artist Bill Rees in Redmond. They shared that studio for eleven years. Jerry taught classes at his studio, and he and Bill painted there every day. While they painted they talked about the old times. Sometimes they would see would have friends from the Puget Sound Group of Northwest Painters stop by.

My dad, Jack Dorsey, who was a member of the Puget Sound Group of Northwest Painters, tells the story of how he stopped by their studio in Redmond around 1979. Dad had worked as a full-time artist for the past ten years (1969-1979). He told them that he had just taken a job at Boeing. He remembers Bill Rees saying, “too bad.”  

ON WATERCOLOR

The reason Jerry paints is that it’s an emotional thing. His watercolors are infused with emotion. “It’s just something you know how to do, it’s very easy, at least for me it was and is.” Jerry knows this is not the case for all students of watercolor. He remembers that he would get a lot of students in his classes and they would think that art is about getting every little detail right, and there wasn’t any emotional content in their work. Jerry would tell them to put their heart into it, to paint with feeling. “If you’re painting a trail or a road, and it’s horizontal, paint what it’s doing. Paint horizontally, with big brushstrokes. If it’s a building, paint vertically. If it’s a figure, give it a gesture. When you’re painting feel what you are painting. Get involved with it,” He says. Jerry knows that not everybody has that intuitive nature about them. They think painting is recreating a photograph. For Jerry, this is the wrong approach, “A painter, you’re emotionally involved with the painting. You feel everything you’re doing.”

Jerry has painted in all mediums. He started out in watercolor with Fred Marshall, and watercolor stuck. What was hard about mastering watercolor for Jerry is that you only have one shot at it. If you did a watercolor, and you had something in it that was wrong, and you tried to fix it, it would look like you fixed it. You have to “paint the thing like you own it”, Jerry says. “You have to get really involved with the painting. That’s the way I paint. I get so involved. I can feel everything I’m doing, whether it’s a dirt road or a shingle on a roof, or a gesture of a figure, whatever something is doing, that’s exactly the way I feel about it. Whatever I’m painting, I paint what it’s doing. And it paints itself. It just paints itself, if you paint what things are doing.”

LEGACY

Jerry has an impressive resume. His web page tells: “He was a United States Navy combat artist, has paintings in the Pentagon, in the private collections of King Gustav of Sweden and the King of Saudi Arabia. His work is in the collections of Alaska Airlines, J P Morgan Chase Bank, Boeing Company, and Foss Tug Company.”

Jerry doesn’t need to stand on his resume. His work speaks for itself. I have found Jerry Stitt originals and prints in many homes of artists and art lovers throughout the northwest. And when I do I always stop in awe and wonder, even enchantment, wondering how he did it. I have learned that for Jerry it is much more than a matter of technical skill, it is a matter of the heart! He paints with and through his emotions.You don’t have to be art critic to know, or maybe it would be better to say “to feel”, that in the presence of Jerry Stitt’s paintings, you have encountered 

VINTAGE WATERCOLORISTS OF WASHINGTON SHOW

You can see Jerry’s paintings, and the paintings of five other vintage watercolor artists, at Sunnyshore Studio’s upcoming Vintage Watercolorists of Washington Show.

  • Opens Saturday, March 9, 2019m 10am-5pm
  • Meet the Artist Reception, Saturday, March 9, 3-5pm
  • Also Saturdays, March 16, 23 and 30, 10am-5pm
  • Sunnyshore Studio wants to thank the Jack Dorsey family for sponsoring the show, and the Northwest Watercolor Society for partnering with us in celebrating the life and legacy of vintage watercolorists of WA.

THE BOOKS ARE HERE!

Last Thursday Jenny drove down to Salem, OR to be with her Dad as he went in for cataract surgery. The surgery was successful. Jenny was able to be a calm, encouraging presence for her parents.

She was also able to make a trip to Your Town Press where I Remember Running Through the Woods was printed.

1,000 books all boxed up waited on a cart to be taken home.

pick up day 6

With the help of her sister, who brought her van to help haul books, Jenny was able to get them all loaded up!

pick up day 7

Wow! That’s a lot of books.

pick up day 5

And while they’re not perfect, we’re super happy with how they came out and with the story they tell!

We’re planning a big Release Party on Saturday, March 9th, at the opening of the Vintage Watercolor show at Sunnyshore Studio. There are a number of book signing events in the works, and we’re hoping to roll out a more official “release” on this site.

But if you’re interested in getting the book in advance of these events, it is for sale on our Store on this site.

Store

I want to thank everyone who encourages and supports local artists and authors. It is a joy to tell these stories of a boy growing up on an island in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

Finally, it was a special joy to give the first gift to my son, Jacob, who helped me so much on this project. The book is, after all, dedicated to him:

“To Jacob, who loves the woods like I do.”

Sincerely, Jason Dorsey

Sunnyshore Studio announces our 2019 Artistic Season

Sunnyshore Studio is thrilled to announce our 2019 Artistic Season. We hope that you are able to visit us for one – or all! – of these shows as we “share beauty with the world.”

MARCH: VINTAGE WATERCOLORISTS OF WASHINGTON

Our season begins in March with the second of five Jack Dorsey Invitational: Vintage Watercolorists of Washington shows. We’re thrilled to partner again with the Northwest Watercolor Society (NWWS), one of the premier watercolor society’s in the US.

We’ll showcase the art and celebrate the lives and artistic legacies of five of Washington’s top watercolorists: Jerry Stitt, Seiko Konya, Nancy Fulton, Cooper Hart and Sandy Langford. Jack Dorsey will also have five of his paintings on display. And we are excited to have on display a watercolor by Elizabeth Warhanik, one of the founding members of Women Painters of Washington.

You won’t want to miss the meet the artist reception, 3-5pm, on March 9th. We expect it to be packed with watercolor lovers, artists and friends of the art as it was last year!

Check out the poster below for information on the show featuring one of Cooper Hart’s marine paintings.

Vintage Poster 2019 - Cooper

And here’s a video preview of the artists with some fun bloopers of Jack Dorsey and the making of the video.

MAY: CAMANO ISLAND STUDIO TOUR

Sunnyshore Studio will be participating in the popular “Studio Tour” hosted by the Camano Arts Association. The tour takes place over five days in May:

  • Friday, May 10, 10am-5pm
  • Saturday, May 11, 10am-5pm
  • Sunday, May 12, 10am-5pm
  • Saturday, May 18, 10am-5pm
  • Sunday, May 19, 10am-5pm

We will feature artwork by our family of artists: Fanny Y. Cory, Jack Dorsey, Ann Cory, Jason Dorsey, April Nelson, and Jed Dorsey, as well as guest artists who we’ll reveal at a later time.

Studio Tour Ad - 2019

The Studio Stour is a fun way to see beautiful Camano Island and experience the vibrant colony of artists there. Enjoy this virtual tour of some of our artists.

JACK DORSEY SILENT ART AUCTION

Jack Dorsey - Color

Jack Dorsey, the patriarch of our family of artists, is a well known northwest artist whose artworks are collected and prized. Jack has painted for close to sixty years and has an impressive body of art that ranges watercolor landscapes to still life and western oils. Here’s your chance to see a broad collection of Jack’s works, get your hands on a Jack Dorsey original, and maybe even a great deal on it too.

The silent auction will work this way. There will be a minimum bid for each painting. If you want to take the painting today there will be a price for that too. At the end of the show we will see what painting is going to a new home.

The show will take place over three Saturdays in June:

  • Saturday, June 15, 10am-5pm
  • Saturday, June 22, 10am-5pm
  • Saturday, June 29, 10am-5pm

OCTOBER: JED DORSEY SOLO SHOW

Jed Dorsey (1)

A highlight of our artistic season each year is Jed Dorsey’s solo show. Jed usually sells his shows out, and typically there are people waiting at the door to get in before the show opens!

Jed’s show will run on two Saturdays in October:

  • October 5th, 10am-5pm
  • October 12th, 10am-5pm

This year we’ll plan to host the show online as we did last October so Jed’s friends and fans across the US and world (remarkably, but it is true) can purchase his beautiful acrylic paintings.

If you want to learn more about Jed, or are interested in taking an online course in acrylics through his Acrylic University check out his web site:

www.jeddorseyart.com

DECEMBER CHRISTMAS SHOW

Each year we do a themed Christmas show. Last year’s show was “Christmas in Miniature”. We haven’t settled on a theme for our 2019 Christmas show. Maybe we’ll stick with the Christmas in miniature theme. Maybe we’ll branch out with something new.

But for sure we’ll have a wonderful time sharing new original art, and affordable prints, books we’ve published, and lots of delicious food and drinks. We’ll also have fun inviting guests artists who help us make this an especially festive show packed with friends!

Our family looks forward to welcoming you in to our creative studio-gallery as we share the beauty of Camano with the world!

IMG_7073

  • December 7th, 10am-5pm
  • December 14th, 10am-5pm

ART LIVES ON CAMANO!

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