Skip to content

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.

image2-6

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.

image1-11.jpeg

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

image1-10

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

image4-7

Of course, his paintings are beautiful as always!

image1-8

image3-5

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!

image2-10

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.

Cropped Photo Beach #1

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.

Country club resize

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. 

Triangle Cove Resize

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. 

cows_in_a_field

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.  

seagull

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.

squirrel_in_the_firs

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.

waterlilies

20th Annual Studio Tour Guest Artist: Amanda Pearson

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

Sunnyshore Studio: Tell us about yourself:

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

I See Skies W

Sunnyshore Studio: How did you get started in art?

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

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

Discover W

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

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

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

Coffee Shop W

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

Vessel W

Sunnyshore Studio: What about your future as an artist?

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

Landmark of a Beginning W

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

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

Reflect Retreat W

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.

image4-2

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.

image5-3

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.

image4-3

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.

image7-2

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.

image9

image3-2

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

 

image1-4

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

image4-10

Prize #2

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

Julian 2

Prize #3

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

image2-12

Prize #4

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

image1-17

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.

Amber's Horse

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!”

IMG_2482

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.

A Moment Alone

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.

Sioux Moccasins

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.

Vintage Poster-01

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

 

 

 

1 2 9
%d bloggers like this: