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Artistic Roots

In my last post (written more than two years ago:) I said that I would tell why I stayed an acrylic painter. I will, eventually. First I want to share my artistic roots. They go back to my great grandmother on my mom's side, Fanny Y. Cory.

Fanny had great challenges growing up. Her mom died when she was young. Her father was an alcoholic and didn't provide for the Fanny. Her beloved sister Agnes got tuberculosis caring for their mother and eventually died from that.

Fanny’s brother Jack was a well-known newspaper illustrator, cartoonist and caricaturist for Pulitzer’s The New York World. Her break came when he sent her a letter with one hundred dollars and a note inviting her to live with him and his wife Bertha in Manhattan and to enroll in the Metropolitan School of Art. Fanny arrived in New York City in the spring of 1885.

Though only seventeen, Fanny quickly rose as to the top of the class. She was accepted into the prestigious Art Students League where many of America’s finest artists were instructors. After a year, Jack’s ability to pay her tuition ran out. Fanny left art school "to make her fortune."

By the time she was nineteen was providing a home for herself and her sister (and sometimes her dad). Her illustrations were in Scriber’s, Century, Harper’s Bazaar, Life, The Saturday Evening Post, McClure’s, Liberty, Youth’s Companion, St. Nicholas, and the Ladies Home Journal and she illustrated over 40 books too! She was one of the top illustrators (men or woman) in America.

Eventually she moved to Montana, married a rancher and raised their three children on a ranch.

My grandma Sayre is girl.

To put her children through college she went into cartooning. Her cartoon about a five-year old boy named Sonny was launched in 1925. Sonnysayings ran daily until her retirement in 1956.

In 1935, she was hired by King Features Syndicate for a second strip, Little Miss Muffet, to compete with the popular Little Orphan Annie. She was dubbed the “First lady of the Funny Papers.”

Fanny made her living through illustrating and cartooning. She didn't consider herself an artist. But she was an incredible artist! Here are a few of her paintings. You can see her gift of creating beauty can't you?

Fanny was an amazing woman. She broke into the male dominated world of illustrating. She provided for her family by her art. She faced the many sorrows and struggles of her life with grit and grace, and with a smile and deep joy.

My artistic roots go back to Fanny.

If you want to learn more of her story, you can buy her biography here:

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