Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Mural at the VA Clinic in Carroll, Iowa

Bubba recently completed a mural at the VA Clinic in Carroll, Iowa. Here is a before and after picture along with his explanation of the whole process:

I was approached a couple years ago to paint a #mural in the VA Clinic in Carroll, Iowa and we were finally able to make it a reality. There was funding in part from the Ralph Neppel (Medal of Honor recipient) family and he is the focus of the mural. I attached a before/after pic and you can listen to a description of the thought process on the mural at the link below...

On a personal note, I wanted to share a few pictures I snapped at the mural dedication. Indie and I were able to attend and see it in person; very beautiful! Bubba pointed out our "hidden love notes" in the painting and it was funny to see so many people notice it as well. We are two blessed girls to have him in our life and are very proud of him. Thanks, babe!

Bubba and Indie in front of the Carroll VA Clinic mural.

Indie & I's hidden love note in the mural. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Sac City (Sac County) Freedom Rock®

Well, it's official-the first year of The Iowa Freedom Rock® Tour is complete! What an incredible spring and summer we had. We met a ton of amazing people, traveled around our beautiful state and accomplished something that was only a dream last year. THANK YOU to everyone who supported us and we can't wait to get back on the road again in the spring of 2014!

So where was the last stop? Sac City (Sac County), Iowa. Indie and I were able to join Bubba for a few days and we spent some time in this lovely community. We stayed at "The Guest House" with its famous phrase being "A Home Away From Home." And I gotta say-that is exactly what it felt like. It was a pleasant change from the regular hotel room we were getting used to. Here is a shot of Bubba and Indie in front of it. It's a quaint home with everything you need and was even updated very nicely. Thanks again, Denise for making this happen for us. If you would like more information about lodging at this facility, click here: The Guest House.

We also had the pleasure of enjoying a delicious dinner and lattes at "Tea with Lillian". Please check them out here: I really enjoyed not only the goodies they had to offer, but the atmosphere was out of this world-awesome job!

What was also great about staying at "The Guest House" was the giant yard Indie had to play in. I snapped a few pictures of her exploring the new territory. I love the simplicity of this shot:

Bubba and I have always said how wonderful it was to be able to grow up in small town Iowa. Well, it's almost like Indie gets to enjoy not only our little town, but all of Iowa's awesome communities combined, along with the people who make it that way. It's been so inspiring to meet such hardworking people who devote so much time to their towns, communities, towns and/or state. And we are honored that you think The Freedom Rock® Tour will be an asset to your communities.

And here is the beautiful Sac County Freedom Rock itself along with Bubba's explanation:

The final rock painting of the year in Sac City, Iowa (Sac County). They really wanted to involve local Veterans stories while saying thank you to all Veterans. The road facing side portrays a medic, tunnel rat, and soldiers silhouette. The west side of the rock says thank you to our women in service. The back side a soldier from Sac County being rescued by a couple Navajo Code Talkers and a P-38 surveillance plane. All with relation to Sac County Veterans. The POW/MIA on the east side of the rock is for those who'll never be forgotten.

On the top of the rock are two different Veteran's ashes mixed into the paint in the stars...making it the final resting place these Veterans.

Hope you all enjoy and stayed tuned as I have many projects throughout the winter months. Thanks for your support and thank you to all our veterans for serving our country.

We were also able to recently attend their dedication. We snapped a few photos of the event which was very moving:

A little update on The Iowa Freedom Rock® Tour, to date, we are scheduled into the 2018 year and we have booked 57 out of the 99 counties in Iowa. Again, we cannot express how extremely excited we are about this statewide project and the support we have had in making it a reality. Thanks again, everyone!

We will try to continue to stay updated as we have a lot of cool projects scheduled for the winter that we can't wait to share with you when the time comes. To learn more information about The Freedom Rock® Tour and how you can become a part of it, please visit

Monday, September 30, 2013

Lake Park (Dickinson County) Freedom Rock®

Wow, OK so this next rocks I should say, I cannot WAIT to see in person! What an amazing project this county pulled together and completed.
As you can see, Bubba painted not one Freedom Rock® for this county, but six! Everything right down to the brick work is amazing. Here is a shot before Bubba actually began painting:

Photo courtesy of county.
They also commissioned Bubba to hand paint their signage for their Veterans Memorial when visitors come to town:

Photo courtesy of county.

Photo courtesy of county.

And here are pictures of the completed mural(s) along with Bubba's explanation:

Photos courtesy of county.

"The Lake Park Freedom Rock in Dickinson County Iowa is painted. They are still working on landscaping but hope to be done soon. Speaking of the landscaping, that alone is a sight to see. They've artfully placed pavers around each rock...there are 6 (The big one, then one for each branch of the military). The pictures don't do it justice, this is one you'll definitely have to visit to soak it all in. Most of this is self explanatory but to explain the side with the faces and star- they are 2 KIAs, 2POWs, and a Nurse who cared for recovered POWs...all from Dickinson County.

Make sure you check the website: in order to see where each Official Freedom Rock® is located.

Thanks again to all those who've supported us in The Freedom Rock Tour and we'll see you at the next stop."             -Ray "Bubba" Sorensen II


Pretty moving, huh? One last thing I wanted to share really quick was how well this county embraced being a part of the official Iowa Freedom Rock® Tour. When you hire artist, Ray "Bubba" Sorensen II, you not only hire a professional, world-renowned artist, but also The Freedom Rock® name and brand. The Freedom Rock® is a registered name and trademark and can only be used with the artist's permission. Which means you're able to use a trusted name that is recognizable world wide. The Freedom Rock® brand represents honoring our service men and women and has proudly for the last 15 years; which is what it's known for.
Below is a wonderful example of how this county used not only The Freedom Rock® name but also Bubba's artwork to the best of their abilities. Our goal with The Freedom Rock® Iowa Tour is to show that Iowa wants to make sure our military men and women, past and present are never forgotten but also to encourage Iowa tourism and all this great state has to offer!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Centerville (Appanoose County) Freedom Rock®

Bubba & Independence in Centerville, Iowa.

I was lucky enough to spend a little extra time in this particular county on the Tour, due to the fact my mom has family from Centerville, Iowa. Family that I do not often get to this trip was pretty special to me. Usually there is not enough time to really relax and enjoy ourselves, but we made an exception this time and it was so worth it!

I took a few extra pictures and like I said took a few personal days to visit with family and enjoy what Centerville has to offer...which by the way is a lot. It was so cute and full of life. It felt like small town Iowa but with big city charm!

My mom and my aunt (pictured below) accompanied us on this trip. Here they are out to eat with us. 

Aunt Sheri & Mom at A & G's in Centerville, Iowa.

We all stayed at the Continental Hotel and it was also as interesting as the town. This place had so much history and was so unique. We really enjoyed our stay there. Here are a few pictures of it.

The Continental Hotel | Centerville, Iowa.
The Continental Hotel | Centerville, Iowa.
The Continental Hotel | Centerville, Iowa.

I kept making the comment that I felt like I was sitting in a little restaurant somewhere in the middle of Europe, but nope-we've got it all right here in small town Iowa people. At night the top of every building is lit with white lights. What beautiful scenery!

Also, this hotel features its own restaurant which is just delish! Here is a funny picture of my mother and daughter being goofy at dinner:

Mom & Indie at the Continental Restaurant in Centerville, Iowa.

Here is a picture of us enjoying a little family down time and pestering our favorite artist... :)

If you're in the area you should definitely check out The Gypsy Quarter. There are so many amazing things to look at in there from home decor, jewelry and much more. I'm so disappointed I didn't have more time to do so!
And of course, being the coffee addict that I am, I immediately scouted out a little cafe...and it did not disappoint! I got an iced caramel latte from Tangleberries. I had to take a picture of it because I love how cute the cup is and also this gives you an idea of how unique the town square is. 

And finally, here is the finished Centerville (Appanoose County) Freedom Rock®. Outstanding as always:

Centerville (Appanoose County) Freedom Rock®

"The Freedom Rock for Appanoose County is complete. I stayed at very nice hotel called the Continental Hotel on the beautiful Centerville, Iowa square. This was convenient because the rock sits just across the street on the courthouse lawn. The road facing side of the rock features Francis Drake (Drake University/Governor of Iowa and from Centerville) as a Union Army brigadier general. Behind him is the first USS Iowa which was the first ship commissioned in honor of Iowa and saw substantial action in the Spanish–American War. On the back side of the rock I featured a father hugging his daughter after returning from service. In the background is the Centerville square. Over the top of the rock is the American Flag as if it was laid over the top twisted by the breeze. At the end of the flag is a gold star in honor of those we've lost and around the star are the seals of each branch. Hope the residents of Appanoose County enjoy their Freedom Rock."  -Ray "Bubba" Sorensen II.

Thanks for having us, Centerville, Iowa. We truly enjoyed ourselves. Looking forward to coming back in the future for sure!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Lyon County (George) Freedom Rock®

Below is a picture of the George (Lyon County) Freedom Rock. As always, I'm in awe of my husband's artwork and I think he did a fantastic job! This is his explanation of the George Freedom Rock:

"The Freedom Rock for Lyon County in George, Iowa was finished on Sunday August 11th but I waited for some pics without a tent over the rock for a better view. The road facing side features a nighttime scene circa World War One. There is a lone soldier waiting to board a train at the old George, Iowa Depot. The lone soldier represents Jack Sauter the soldier from George killed in WWI. In the smokestack of the train is what Jack may have been thinking before boarding the train going off to war. In the background there are fireworks, which are important to the town of George. The eagle and American Flag are self explanatory but on the other feature side I painted all 5 branches marching in a parade because the 4th of July is a point of pride in George. The people of George are very welcoming so if you're in the North West corner of the state there are a few Freedom Rocks in the area as I've finished rocks in Hawarden and George and will be completing the Freedom Rock in Lake Park in September"

On a personal note, here is a fun picture of Reagan (our dog) and Indie on the way to George. We had a lot of fun accompanying Bubba on this trip and are so proud of him for all of his hard work. We love being his support team and we're so blessed to have our work be a family affair. For more information on The Iowa Freedom Rock Tour, click here:

Sunday, August 4, 2013

New Beginnings...

Hello There!

Been a long while and I have so much to update you all on but I will try to keep it short and sweet. Things have really changed here at Sorensen Studios. After becoming a new mommy, we decided to make the studio by appointment only so I can take care of our little one and Bubba does a lot of on-site artwork it just made sense.

I was still shooting weddings, families and senior pictures when I could find the time to schedule around being a full time mom but then last fall we announced the Iowa Freedom Rock® Tour and things really got interesting!!

As you can see from the Freedom Rock website, the tour was designed to "boost tourism and spread the message of thanking our Veterans while providing a unique to their area Freedom Rock for all 99 counties in the great state of Iowa." Announcing a project as big as this takes a lot of courage and I completely admire my husband for putting himself out there and setting such a high goal for himself, and it looks like others agree. To date, we have booked and/or painted 51 Freedom Rocks for Iowa counties. Our goal when announcing in the fall was to at least book 20 and now we are booking into the 2017 year...feels awesome-THANKS IOWA!

So as you can see, dealing with the whole state of Iowa as clientele takes some time and I am now the full time Public Relations Director of the Freedom Rock Tour. My job consists of answering all the phone calls, emails, inquiries etc. I book each county that applies for the tour. We are also booking inside murals for the winter months so it's not as if things calm down when the weather changes! I have been able to meet so many amazing people through this project and it's awesome to see each county have such pride in our military men and women.

My heart will always be in photography so I still dabble here and there, I even have a wedding to shoot this fall-I'm so excited! Speaking of feels great to still have clients email me and see if I'm available to take their photos, and if I am, I sure make happen what I can-so keep asking! And if I can't make it happen, I will refer you to some wonderful photographers who can!

Indie and I travel a lot with Bubba to each county when we can and it's so nice to have communities open their arms to us and see the excitement around a Freedom Rock for their county. Here are a few of the rocks already completed this summer:

Adams County Freedom Rock @ Corning, Iowa

Shelby County Freedom Rock @ Earling, Iowa

For a list of completed rocks and their locations, along with Iowa Counties already booked please visit:

And if you have any questions at all please give me a call at 641.343.7110 (leave a message) or email me at

Until next time...

Take care!!

Friday, January 4, 2013

The world is your canvas-paint it!

Some memories were made in the Sorensen household this morning. I would just like to say once again how incredibly blessed I feel to be able to work from home and not miss these moments! Although on the very busy days it can be quite stressful juggling parenthood and running our business(es)'s all worth it.

Moving on, Miss Indie completed her first artwork masterpiece today! While Ray and I were both getting ready for the day, I realized Indie was super quiet. While I think most parents would agree when you catch yourself hearing complete silence, you think ahh that's nice a moment to think, but then your brain quickly snaps into "oh my gosh!" mode. Quiet doesn't usually equal good things...we all know this.

I came around the corner to find Indie drawing on the wall. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm all about boundaries but how do you discipline a child for doing something she literally sees her father doing every day? You don't, well at least we don't. I grabbed the camera, yelled for Ray and I think he was pretty proud. I guess you could say that considering he drew "Indie's Art" next to her scribbling.

She seemed to really enjoy herself and stay at it for a good amount of time-which never really happens either. Not sure if she is going to be into art, bowling, swimming, softball or whatever, but I do know I'll try to capture her life in photographs.

Luckily the crayon she found was her washable one from the bathtub. But Ray did suggest we make that wall her canvas and invest in some more washable markers, even frame it in. I think it's inspiring to see her little creations on the wall (just this one wall of course). It's far better than anything I could buy at the store.

I hope you're all capturing these precious moments of your little ones as well. Isn't that what life is all about-the little things? :) Here are a few pictures from today's event:

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Hello 2013

Indie, Maria & Ray Sorensen at the St. Ansgar Rock.
Hi All-

It's been awhile since we last wrote (sorry we do that a lot through our Twitter & Facebook pages). Seems to be the quicker alternative! But in case you missed those updates...we'll catch you up to speed.

2012 brought a lot of changes with our business (Sorensen Studios). Maria decided to specialize in wedding/engagement and high school senior photography. She is home full time with the little one and the scheduling for those sessions are the easiest fit for a mommy job! We're also proud to say we have reached our full wedding quota for the 2013 season already. It's going to be a very busy year-but we're up for the challenge!

Bubba decided to specialize in mural paintings. Again, the same for him-large scale murals are what works best with our new parent schedule. He still does some canvas painting/drawings but they're usually personal and not for commission. He completed about four large scale murals in 2012 so it was a busy time!

One of our biggest projects we are looking forward to this year (and the reason for a fully booked wedding season already) is the 99 County Freedom Rock Tour. In the spring, we will be setting out to tour our beautiful state of Iowa while Ray aims to paint a rock in every county. If you visit the site, you will see we have already booked seven counties and we have just started promoting the tour! We're so excited to say the least and are really grateful for our home state's support.

We've already met some amazing people through this project and we feel very lucky to get to know so many fine individuals. We're also so thankful to our sponsors who are helping get this off the ground. We're hoping this [tour] can be a unique and beautiful gift to our military men and women, all the while benefiting our state with national tourism.

This will be our fifth year of business for Sorensen Studios and they say if you make it past year three, then you're good to go and that year five is when you're really "get started"'s to hoping!

Thank you all so much for your continued love and support. We will try to stay updated more often but will most likely be doing the majority of it via Facebook/Twitter. You can follow us here:

Sorensen Studios Twitter:
The Freedom Rock Facebook:
The Freedom Rock Twitter:

We wish you all a very blessed and prosperous new year.
Please feel free to call or email us with any questions (please leave a message): 641.343.7110 |