More Free Concert Sketching


 Pitt Artist pen and watercolor in Handbook brand watercolor sketchbook, 4″ X 8″

Hundreds of people on the Windsor (CA) town green in lawn chairs or on blankets, eating and drinking and listening to a free concert – Slim Jenkins playing Voodoo Blues.  After a glass of wine I just pick up my pen and go at it.


Something about the live music and relaxed summer evening and the only ones working are the musicians and food venders. . .allows random lines and deliciously sloppy watercolors. . . and then I get up and dance with the crowd in the still sunny evening light.


Then later in the week, we went to the Rivertown Revival in Petaluma on the river.  These Petaluma folks are rightly proud about their town and its lively spirit.  Lots of them were in Steam Punk regalia too.  Using the full spread I sketched the Incubators on one side and The Sam Chase on the other.  They were both seriously rocking! (the painting got done next day at home) I didn’t get all the members of either group but just the ones I could see from my seat.  Drummers missing!


Tombow brush pen which bleeds when wet – good for instant shading.

But I wasn’t done so at home I did a couple more sketches from Bob’s photos.



Some day I’ll get some Steam Punk attire. . .maybe. . .at least now I have one of those parasols!


Reaching for the sun


 acrylic ink texture printing, acrylics, collage on w/c paper, 10 X 11″

reaching for the sun 

casting it like a discus

he is both bound and bound-less

the child of volcanic eruption

all fire and molten rock

yet he is the lightest of fibers

fine filaments that fit between the tightest boulders

move them ever so slowly over eons

while we think, in our heavy footed earthen way

that the shape of things now has always been

we worship the god Mercury for his speed

misjudging the movement of time

thinking it can be held in a human hand

 One of my favorite themes – the human body bound and yet transcendent.  This theme of volcanic eruption clearly precipitated by my recent stay in Lasson Volcanic National Park.

The technique is a simple print making one using plastic wrap coated with ink for the transfer.


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Quicksilver and Effervescence


powdered charcoal pour texture, pigment powder, acrylic on w/c paper, 10 X 11″

there’s a loud flapping of wings from every direction

and I stand wondering if this sound,

this extraordinary quivering of air and shape and color

had been there all along

while I was lost in useless thought

patterns emerge and dissolve

awareness opens and closes off

colorful orbs merge and dissolve

I want to name them all, set them free for all time

but they are quicksilver and effervescence.


Alcohol resist


acrylic, alcohol droplets, collage on w/c paper, 10 X 11″

the heart hangs in suspension

waiting to beat out a tune of desire and longing

waiting to climb the ladder of more


there’s never too much and there’s no limit

yet it gets harder with the climb

the air gets thinner

the bag must get lighter

as one by one attachments are discarded

the heart beats heavily

it sighs and bleeds a bit

it collapses, then fills again

but keeps on climbing

Monday afternoon muse lesson:  alcohol resist.  Coat the paper with gesso and let dry.  Glaze on some light value color.  Create some interesting shapes with masking tape.  Then come in with some richer color.  While it is still wet but just about to dry, sprinkle some drops of alcohol on.  The alcohol pushes the paint aside revealing what’s beneath, a red beating heart and more.


Juniper Lake Camping


pen and watercolor in Handbook brand watercolor sketchbook, 4 X 8″

I have a habit of many years now, that I take my sketchbook and the tiniest little watercolor palette with me on trips. Over time it’s become less about making art and more about recording events so that I don’t forget.  I also take photos, but they never seem to reflect my experience like my haphazard sketches do. I want to remember things like my campsite number and the wildlife I saw and the things I forgot to bring, like wildflower identification books.

My good buddy Katya and I met up at Lasson Volcanic National Park this year, where she had been camping for 10 days before I got there.  She had the campsite already set up and I sat the first morning while we drank our tea and coffee, and sketched some of that camping paraphernalia.


Each day we hiked up to a different lake or lookout point, with me huffing and puffing from the altitude.  The birds and insects appeared to be in a frenzy of mating – the birds calling out passionately to each other in song, the insects joined in embraces that were not broken by winged flight or even hopping!


Bending and bowing to the elements of nature over time, the trees took on personalities and attitudes that made it impossible not to anthropomorphize them! (or maybe I was hallucinating from the lack of oxygen at the mountains altitudes!) I wanted to name them and assign stories.


Without a doubt the highlight of the trip was at the top of Mt. Harkness where we could see mountain ranges in all directions, all the way to Nevada and Oregon and learned how the ranger spots possible fires and deals with lightning strikes!



Happy 4th!


pen and watercolor in sketchbook

In conversations with the Muse I mix paint with vision, collage with story, word with meditation and prayer. And out of the mixture comes a release of energy and healing and a lightening of the load of everyday living. You'll find most of it here, where I've been showing up for the past few years, along with collectible paintings, travel sketchbooks, figure studies and an invitation to join me in art play and discovery!

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By Susan Cornelis


All images and text are the original copyrighted work of Susan Cornelis unless otherwise attributed.


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