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About M. E. Bilisnansky McMorrow

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Me and Shelbs on Our Land 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 and iconography. 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 has featured cows. For spiritual satisfaction, she continues her icon writing under the tutelage of 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.




I began painting cows many years ago while spending a year in a rented 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 group. Each cow has her own personality. I started photographing them, and have literally hundreds of photos now which I use for reference for my cow paintings.

My fascination with these noble beasts grew. At first my paintings were small in size. Canvasses were usually about 14 X 18 inches. They quickly grew in size as my interest in cows increased. I have to admit, I am the most comfortable when painting them almost life sized. Many of my canvasses exceed 45 inches.

I believe part of the appeal in these animals is that I found the females SO female and the males SO male! There was such a beautiful contrast between the two sexes, sweet and nurturing as opposed to powerful and strong. Oddly enough, I don't dwell on these differences in humans. In fact, with human company, I am more fascinated by the individual sexes when they have a strong balance of male AND female. But I do realize that in order to be happy, everything must be in a carefully nurtured balance in order to achieve richness in life. Seeing the differences so obviously in the bovine world is my own way of visually expressing the difference in males and females, yet in my companion portrait series the balance of both produces a powerful image.

Several years ago, I began the study of Russian iconography, 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 art brought into my life which has extended into my cow 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.

While continuing studies in iconography, I have also continued photographing and painting the cows, which also bring me a tremendous amount of peace and joy. Recently, I began a series about which I am most excited. These are the Gilded Cows, which can be found at the beginning of my painting pages of cows.

The new series combines some of the techniques of classical iconography as far as the surface upon which I paint (wooden panels), the simplicity, and the gold leaf backgrounds. It has elevated their portraits to a more spiritual level, I think. And since the cow portraits are in a sense, my own journey into the make up of each one of us, it seemed natural that as the journey of life continues a higher level of spirituality is reached, or at the very least, should be sought.

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


Me and Ristras

Janet A. Bolye Bio

Janet A. Boyle, Jeweler/Sister

Just a few words about the work of my very talented sister, Janet A. Boyle, who is also represented on this site. It'll probably be a while before she actually sends me an official bio, but I didn't want her to not be represented on the artists' page while I am waiting for it to arrive.

Janet has been my idol since birth. Rather than living a life of frustrated attempts for perfection that comes naturally to Janet, I decided to be imperfect me and just keep her on a pedestal where she belongs. Her sense of elegance and style is always evident, and is reflected in her beautiful one-of-a-kind jewelry. Please visit her section to see more of her work.

A family of three sisters (poor Dad!), we all attended the same art college. Janet went on to be an incredible art teacher, first at a high school and now at a private Catholic elementary school. I am sure she has given so many students the gift of knowing that they were capable of creating beautiful art. I know she has enriched my life!


© 2014 M.E. Bilisnansky McMorrow