acrylic inks and gesso on w/c paper, 10 X 11″

I see you peeking out everywhere, spilling out of those gopher holes in the ground after a storm.  I see you in the tic tac toe patterns of leaf much and clover.  I see you in the mudslides and mushroom pop ups. . .


I am a rocket sitting in dock.


acrylic inks on w/c paper, 10 X 11″

I am a rocket sitting in dock, sending and receiving signals, text messages, radio waves, energy signatures.

I am a dam holding onto a Niagara of feelings, my own and others.

I am a presence in this kingdom, sending out prayer flags to harness the grace of the winds, gathering the forces for take off.

I am a captive in these cords holding me on the earthly plane.

So I decorate my balcony, look out my picture window and imagine the freedom of a hawk soaring on the updraft. 

What’s the relationship of all this sketching of late to these experimental Muse journal pieces I do in my groups?  Lately the love of LINE has taken over. Doodly lines on dry paper and wet, made with droppers and dip pens and bamboo pens and spiced up with iridescent acrylic inks.


Goaties and woodpeckers


Lamy Safari fountain pen and watercolor in Strathmore w/c sketchbook, 7 X 5″

When you first walk up to the fence (at the bottom of my road) the goats are all where you think you want them to pose for you.  But some of them get suddenly very interested in you. . .like this one.  Cute, huh?!


My first pen lines were too tentative.  This new fountain pen takes some getting used to.  Going over the lines darker isn’t the effect I want either. . .and then there’s the aspect of drawing standing up.  I tried supporting the sketchbook on the fence top, but with that hard goat head and horns so nearby, it didn’t seem like a good idea.


I have an idea for a new APP. . .a Google Translate for woodpecker chatter.  These guys seemed like they were having an argument, but maybe it was all in fun.  I certainly couldn’t guess.


Thanksgiving was a day for cooking and visiting, and of course eating, but I had a few minutes to sketch the table decoration.


Angelic Voices

The holiday season is my favorite time to enjoy choral works.  My friend Laura and I treated each other to “Angelic Voices” at the Green Center yesterday and managed to score perfect seats – perfect for listening, watching and sketching!


Tombow soft Fudenosuke Brush Pen and watercolor in Strathmore w/c sketchbook, 5 X 7″

I’ve been experimenting with some new pens, and keep changing my mind about which I prefer.  So to keep from driving myself crazy I brought just one – Danny Gregory‘s favorite, which produces a bold line.  Scary when you’re doing quick sketches without a pencil line first, but it makes a great line!  The choir totaled about 40 boys from very young (the sopranos) to teens. While they were, indeed, singing like angels, I did my best to capture the moment.


While the singers stand still providing the the feast for the ears, the conductor provides a feast for the eyes with the gesturing and subtle hand signals.


And in the case of Bruno Ferrandis, the orchestra conductor, (oh, how miserably I have failed to draw this!) the music flows through his body with such lightening speed that it feels like it must originate beneath his feet and whip through him like an electric shock.  You rock, Bruno!


And then there were the musicians. . .


grounding the music each in their own instrument.  And there was more, but I couldn’t capture it all.


Chris Carter’s sketching in the dark


Hopmonk Tavern crowd, sketched in the dark by Chris Carter.  For more see her blog post http://chriscarterart.com/night-out-at-hopmonk-tavern/


Sketching in the Dark

When my friend and colleague Chris Carter was in town teaching workshops, we teamed up for some fun sketch-ventures.  I wrote about this one in my newsletter (see link on the previous post).  Sketching in the (almost totally) dark of a night club (Hopmonk Tavern in Sebastopol) is something Chris is comfortable with, so I borrowed her confidence for an evening, and here’s what came of it on my end. (Check our her blog to see my inspiration). Since this is illustrated journaling and storytelling, I’ll share the whole story from beginning at 10pm when the doors opened and we grabbed the only table near the stage, until after midnight when we left the night to the young people.


black ink and dip pen with watercolor in Strathmore w/c sketchbook, 5″ X 7″

10:15pm I guess it’s good to not be able to see the faces or any detail.  You get the overall feeling. . .and color doesn’t much matter either.  There’s dark colors and then there’s light colors.  Period.


10:45pm  Now I’m using my Japanese brush pen and drawing and painting to the music. There’s a DJ, but where is the headliner, we’re wondering?


10:55pm I’m just trying to capture the “vibe” with my pen, and dancing a bit myself.


11:15pm The headliner, Ras Attitude, still hasn’t come, but the crowd is definitely warmed up. . .and then

ras_attitude11:16pm  Ras Attitude enters, lights up the stage and audience. My pen goes a bit crazy. . .


Then settles down enough to get the stripes in his 3 foot high hat drawn in.  What a colorful character!

12:15am  We pack up our pens and paints and leave the night to the young people.


Imagine With Art Newsletter

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Get your free copy of my November/December Newsletter here.

Included in this newsletter is an article on sketching in the dark, an art play lesson called “masking and dripping”, new images, an updated workshop schedule and more.

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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