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Will someone please tell Anthony Apsay I’m blogging about him?

How does the cosmos appear in the imagination of a nine-year-old? Anthony Apsay’s answer to this query is the striking painting pictured herein. Anthony’s vision of the cosmos is a multi-colored phantasmagoria of stars, comets, suns, planets, and other heavenly objects, boldly outlined in black, and executed with confidence, imagination and skill. I was captivated by this painting upon first viewing, circa 1994. I was able to rescue it, and it has hung in my home(s) for more than twenty years. The 12” x 18” tempura painting has long added color and whimsy to my daily life, and will continue to do so.

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My late, former spouse, Sally Jo Davis, was for many years, a Seattle, Washington school teacher. Having earned a Masters degree in incorporating the arts in the classroom, she enjoyed having her students engage in art projects. One assignment she gave her fourth grade class in 1994, was to paint the cosmos, as it appeared to them. She hung the results on the walls of her room, for students and visitors alike, to enjoy. After the art hung on the walls for perhaps a few weeks, SJ announced that any student who wanted his or her art was welcome to take it home, and many did. But not everyone….

It was my custom to help Sally Jo dismantle her classroom at the end of each school term. One task she gave me in early summer 1994 was to take down the art which had been left behind. This painting was included in that group.

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Perhaps Anthony Apsay saw something in his beautiful rendition of the cosmos that didn’t measure up to his standards, so he left it behind. I can’t imagine what that may have been. — There were at least a dozen orphaned “cosmos” paintings remaining on the walls; thus, I had quite a few from which to choose. Anthony’s jumped out at me. Being an art collector who was always on the lookout for more things of beauty, I asked SJ if I could have the painting. She said, “It’s either that or the recycling bin”. I removed it from the wall, carefully rolled it up, and took it home. I have not let it out of my sight since that day.

I remember in 1957, when I was a third grader in Yakima, WA, my mother found a tempera painting of a blossoming apple orchard, which I had created at school. It was folded up and stuffed in the back pocket of my jeans. She immediately placed it on her ironing board, laid a towel over it, and ironed the creases out of it, as best she could. She framed and hung it on my bedroom wall. She then asked me to bring home any future projects in a more pristine condition. She said, “Your painting is very good! Please don’t fold-up the next one”. — I think as children, we may be tough critics when it comes to judging our artistic endeavors. I thought my painting was pretty bad; Mom loved it.

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Again, Anthony must not have cared for this artwork. But I enjoy seeing it every day. Its bright colors, fantastic heavenly objects and outright excellent execution continue to inspire and delight.

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I have tried to locate Anthony. I want to return his “cosmos” to him. I’d surely love to keep it; but it belongs in his home. I’ve had no success in finding him. I’ve sent emails and postcards to different folks, trying to locate the now 30-year-old young man, to no avail. I guess the only thing left to say is this:

Will someone please tell Anthony Apsay I’m blogging about him?


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By Anthony Leata, Steilacoom, WA.

I recently spent a fabulous day touring and photographing the Washington State Fair, which is held at Puyallup, WA. I spied this painting which was included in an exhibit of junior and senior high school art. I’m happy to see the tradition continues! While examining the work, I fantasized that perhaps a teacher whom Sally Jo mentored in the Seattle School District had his or her class do a similar project.