An upcoming three-week show on Camano Island, “Vintage Watercolorists of Washington,” offers an opportunity to see the works of five of the region’s premier watercolor artists.
Some 30 paintings by Jack Dorsey, Thomas William Jones, John Ringen, Nancy Axell and Jenny Rees will be displayed at Sunnyshore Studio beginning Saturday.
“The people featured in this upcoming show are amazing artists,” said Che Lopez, an Everett resident who is president of the Northwest Watercolor Society. “They’re the who’s who of watercolorists in the Northwest.”
Dorsey’s earliest shows date to the late 1970s, when his works were displayed as part of a one-man show in Japan and at Seattle’s Frye Art Museum.
His career as a painter was interrupted when he was hired by the Boeing Co. to work in technical illustration — a move to provide more financial stability for his family.
Dorsey worked there for 15 years, until 1997. During that time, “I didn’t really paint,” he said, because he had to get up at 4 a.m. to go to work.
He resumed painting after he retired, joining Camano Island’s artist studio tour in 2010.
The snows earlier this year at his Camano Island property provided some of his most recent inspiration. Two nearby lots are wooded. The work that resulted is called “Trail to Studio.”
“I was looking out the studio window,” Dorsey said. “It’s a little snow, old maple trees.”
He called Thomas William Jones, one of the other artists whose works are included in the show, “one of the nation’s best watercolorists.”
Jones, who lives in Snohomish, came to the area in 1967 to produce watercolors for what was then called General Telephone to promote its work in the Northwest, Dorsey said.
Jones is best known nationally for producing Christmas cards for four years for President Ronald Reagan.
“The general public will have a chance to see his beautiful work,” Dorsey said.
“He’s one of the nation’s best watercolorists who ever lived, and he’s in our midst,” Dorsey added. “We’re thankful to have him showing with us.”
Dorsey called Ringen, a Camano Island neighbor, a Northwest icon.
Ringen worked at Boeing while also undertaking a three-year project to complete a master’s degree in fine arts from the University of Washington.
Washington State University established a scholarship in Ringen’s name that’s open to undergraduate art majors in Idaho, Oregon and Washington.
Another artist on display, Axell, is showing works that depict scenes near the family’s former beach house on Camano Island, including one of the Stillaguamish River and an old island farmhouse. She now lives on Mercer Island.
Axell said she began seriously painting in 1984 after her children were grown and she had retired from teaching.
Axell said she loves painting landscapes and historic buildings “that might not be there in years to come.” Her work includes a series of paintings of Mercer Island churches.
Rees is known for her florals, which Dorsey said will “knock people’s socks off.”
She and Mercer Island neighbor Axell have been friends for years.
The show was organized by Jason Dorsey, Jack Dorsey’s son.
“This is celebrating some of the premier watercolorists in our state,” he said. “Each of the artists is different in terms of what they bring.”
This month’s show is the first of five vintage watercolorist art shows planned in collaboration with the Northwest Watercolor Society.
Jason Dorsey said he wants the community to feel welcome to come and see the artists’ works.
“There’s no pressure,” he said. “It’s a very relaxed, laid-back environment. Just come and enjoy.”
Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you go:
Sunnyshore Studio, in partnership with the Northwest Watercolor Society, is hosting the first of five planned “Vintage Watercolorist of Washington” art shows from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. March, 10, 17 and 24. The opening reception is set for 3 to 5 p.m. March 10. The studio is at 2803 SE Camano Drive, Camano Island. Call 317-209-6768 or go to sunnyshorestudio.com for more information.