M. E. Bilisnansky-McMorrow is a graduate of Moore College of Art in Philadelphia. Over the years, she has done wearable art, ceramics, stained glass, mosaics, and more recently, painting, iconography and jewelry making. For years she painted one-of-a-kind furniture for Mary Donald Floorcloths and was later represented by Ms. Donald for her own designs.

M. E. Bilisnansky McMorrow began Ground Dogs Inc. in 1989. At that time, her designs consisted mostly of hand painted, one-of-a-kind floorcloth portraits of dogs. These were sold nationally at exclusive boutiques and gift shops, including Mabel's of Madison Avenue in New York.

As their popularity increased, M. E. Bilisnansky McMorrow looked for a means of manufacturing one of the most popular designs, the Golden Retriever, and connected with Toland Enterprises, Inc. At that time, doormats were just that...doormats. They did not have the decorative qualities of the ones on the market today. Due to the uniqueness of her designs, Ms. Bilisnansky-McMorrow's first mat was an instant success. A licensing contract with Toland ensued, during which time tens of thousands of doormats, pillows, banners, and computer mousepads were sold not only nationally, but internationally as well. Her designs have appeared in countless catalogues and magazines. M. E. Bilisnansky McMorrow appeared on Joan Rivers' "Can We Shop" TV show where she painted Ms. Rivers' beloved Yorkies, Spike and Veronica live during the show.

A lover of nature and animals since birth, M.E. Bilisnansky McMorrow continues to create designs of the animal subjects she loves the most, which for many years now have featured bovines. For spiritual satisfaction, she continued her icon writing under the tutelage of the late Father Richard Cannuli of Villanova University, where she recently taught before moving permanently to Santa Fe. She taught calligraphy, drawing and painting while at the university.

Most recently, Ms. Bilisnansky McMorrow has begun creating one of a kind jewelry using sterling and fine silver combined at times with 24 K gold. Her jewelry designs are more like tiny sculpture pieces, as they are intricately engineered, often with movement of some kind. Most of the designs are based in her beloved subjects of animals and nature.

I began painting cows many years ago while spending a year in a rented studio/barn in the countryside. It seemed natural to be working on subjects found around the barn. The series began with all kinds of barnyard creatures, but after a few months of portraits of animals I began to concentrate on the ones I enjoyed painting the most. The cows were at the top of the list.

Oftentimes I would go deep into the farm country of Lancaster, Pennsylvania and stop wherever I saw a herd grazing by the road. I began to sketch the individual cows and realized how different each one is from the rest of the herd. Each cow had her own personality. I started photographing them, and have literally hundreds of photos now which I use for reference for my cow paintings.

Several years ago, I began the study of Russian iconography with the incredible Father Richard Cannuli at Villanova University (where I later taught calligraphy, painting and drawing) which added yet another dimension to my life not only as a spiritual being, but also as an artist. As my studies and number of icons written increased, I found my life reflecting that serenity which the spiritual art brought into my life. It has extended into my paintings. You may see by my website that I have worked in many different media over my lifetime. But nothing brought the inner peace and harmony to my work that was brought by the icons.

Upon arrival to Santa Fe eight years ago, my peaceful Lancaster County dairy cows were replaced by my instant fascination with rodeo bulls of the Southwest. Their incredible presence and size was naturally reflected in the larger canvasses I began to use almost exclusively. Most exceed 4-5 feet in height. I gradually incorporated my background in iconography into my newest animal series which I call “Icons of the Southwest.” By using metallic backgrounds which went from gold to mainly copper, my animal portraits took on the presence and style of an icon. Clients tell me they often just sit and stare at my paintings. There is a peace in each one of them despite the hard to ignore power of the beast. I like that balance.

The new series uses some of the techniques of classical iconography as far as the surface upon which I paint (often wooden panels), the simplicity, and the metal leaf backgrounds which have elevated their portraits to a more spiritual level. It seems a natural direction since my own journey of life continues towards attaining a higher level of spirituality.

The jewelry-making is a relatively new addition to my work. I began studying the jewelry-making about 2 years ago at Santa Fe Community College, under the guidance of two incredible teachers, Diane Tintor and Noel Aronov. I began working with silver during my second semester and I was instantly hooked! Never one to take a simple approach (which bores me to tears), I almost always chose a design that was way more complicated to achieve than my skill level and capabilities with a torch. But thanks to the above-and-beyond teaching skills and inspiration of Ms. Tintor and Mr. Aronov (unfortunately neither is currently teaching at the College), I pushed myself to the limits. Designs became more complex, more like sculpture, which often included the engineering of moving parts. I am still fascinated by nature and animals as I have been since birth, and they are usually incorporated into my designs. Each piece begins as a sketch and ends as a story, as the pieces seem to tell me where they want to go and what they want to be. By the time I am finished with a piece, it has become a friend with a history. I am totally immersed in the work. I am now looking forward to ending jewelry study at Community College and working in my own studio. There is so much more to explore with new design ideas every day.

I hope you will enjoy viewing my website, grounddogs.com. It is exciting to me to work in my studio each day and see how the work evolves as I evolve with it.



Poetic Threads
107 Don Gaspar
Santa Fe, NM 87501
Website: Shop | Poetic Threads (poetic-threads.com)



Currently, the work of Ms. Bilisnansky McMorrow is being represented by the following galleries:

The Art Shop @ Moore College of Art
1916 Race Street Philadelphia, PA 19103
Phone: (215) 965-8586
Website: https://moore.myshopify.com/

Visual Expansion Gallery
132 N High St
West Chester, PA 19380
Phone: (610) 436-8697
Website: http://visualexpansiongallery.com/