Four Hands Painting: The Golden Thread

Screen shot 2014-10-23 at 11.59.52 AM

Next Thursday is the opening for my collaborative project’s show with Suzanne Edminster, my dear friend and painting buddy.  This is actually the second show of paintings we have created together in a process where we not only paint on the same paintings, but collaborate every step of the way.

People always ask how.  Short version is we both paint simultaneously on different canvases and then switch, giving full permission for the other person to proceed as she sees fit.  Along the way we talk about our intentions and try to solve design issues together.  We keep switching until we both think we’re done.  What about the artist-ego thing?  Well it’s so much fun and such a relief to share the burden of creation that we’re able to just let it go and enjoy.  And I think you’ll enjoy the outcome – abstract acrylic paintings to take you on a colorful mythological journey!

We hope you’ll come to the show to see how a golden thread has woven a third artist out of our two styles.  You will also see whimsical mixed media portraits we painted of each other along with a new video of us painting together on the same painting.  Opening Reception next Thursday 6-8pm at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts.


Andy’s Garden


acrylic and image transfer on w/c paper, 10 x 11″

In Andy’s garden are all manner of plants, and one can bet there are critters in there too. Camouflaged as a flower he hides out, hoping to catch some action as it slithers across his path.

There’s helium in Andy’s balloon garden and all manner of silliness. Tread lightly or you’ll blow his cover!

My Andy is a 6′ 2″ Andrew now, and wears the camouflage of an adult. But thank goodness he’s still got some of the pixie in him.  Guess I’ll have to wait a bit for grandparenthood to be able to play in the helium garden with a little child again.  Or. . .I’ll just keep painting!

We did image transfers using clear contact paper in Monday group. . . Copy a picture in black and white on a toner based copy machine.  Cut it out and put it ink side down on the sticky side of clear contact paper and burnish to get it to stick.  Soak in water a minute or two, then carefully rub off the paper pulp, leaving just the ink.  Wherever the paper was white, with no ink, it will be transparent.  Glue it onto a colorful painting so that you can see the paint through the transparent part.  Keep painting, and if you don’t tell, no one will know how you got that photographic image onto the painting!


Sketch a Story


pen and watercolor

An art opening. . .I go to lots of them.  Always wine and snacks and people standing in groups talking and scrutinizing art.  Great subjects for a sketch story.  The only problem is dealing with the impossibility of being invisible while sketching.  Especially when you know most of the people . . .but then you realize that no one cares, and you can just stand there minding your own business (sort of) which is ART after all and scribble your pen around and a story appears.  Not the one you saw when you started, but a new one of your own making.

melaniehomework3Artists DO love color, which is why they’re so fun to paint.



. . .and they’re likely to understand what you’re doing, and even be willing to stand still for a couple minutes while you scribble them down in your book.




acrylic, collage pen and ink on w/c paper, 10 X 11″

Jack’s lesson in the green sphere. . .

Jack on his bean stalk emerges to a strange land where the affluence of money is less than the wealth of a single leaf on his bean stalk ladder. 

Next we focused on GREEN in Muse Group.  A pleasing color known to relax and harmonize the body and spirit (unless you’re nauseous or envious).  We mixed a variety of greens with all our yellows, oranges and blues.  I decided on a neutralized, olivey green for dominance and cut up the color swatches to bring in a bit of “bounce”.   Things got a bit out of hand at some point!  But it’s all in good fun.  Jack came in at the last minute when I realized I had grown a pretty fantastical vine, much like the Jack in the children’s story. (Then I got all nervous that there was some other connotation to “Jack’s stalk” which was NOT my intention!)


Fire in These Rooms


acrylics and collage on w/c paper, 10 X 11″

Fire burns steadily within, from tiny embers to raging flames. What choice have we but to walk through these rooms each day and face whatever glows and with courage?

Another yellow painting, in the Saturday Muse Group.  The yellow got very hot.  It does that sometimes when there’s too much of it.  The blue comes in to cool it, the black becomes the ashes from the hot fire.

A shack appeared on the wharf, and then one of the students saw the clothes rack.  Lover of surrealism that I am, I couldn’t resist.  It’s so important not to take it too far though.


Fulton X Gallery Opening


“Vasculum” (Latin for Pod) acrylic on canvas, diptych 4′ X 6′

You are invited to the opening of a preview show for Sonoma County Art Trails open studios at the new Fulton X Gallery, 1200 River Rd., Fulton, CA.,  this Wednesday Oct 15, 6-8pm.  It’s a wonderful gallery space to show larger pieces.  The featured artists will be showing three of their works.  I welcome the chance to show some of my larger works for which I have no space in my studio, such as this newest painting “Vasculum” and two others.  If you can’t make it to the opening, the show will be running through November 2. For gallery hours visit the Fulton X website.


On the Art Trail


 view of my studio in Sebastopol, CA today!

If you didn’t make it out to my studio(#82) today for Sonoma County Art Trails, not to worry.  Come tomorrow or either day next weekend.  We’re open 10am-5pm and welcome all visitors.  The studio never looks so good as it does once a year after a good cleaning and gallery style hanging of the art.  Look for the blue building down the walkway at 2550 Lewis Dr., just off Vine Hill Rd. in Sebastopol.

My photographer husband Bob Cornelis (#81) is showing his newest palladium, cyanotype and image transfer work (you’ll have to see this!) as well as other favorites.  Phil the cat is around to great you and get a belly rub, and of course you are welcome to take some art home with you!

If you’re hitting the open studio trail to see some fabulous art in our neck of the woods, you can plot your route at the SoCo Art Trails website.

And  you’re invited to the opening of a preview show at Fulton X Gallery,1200 River Road. Fulton, CA, this Wednesday Oct. 15, 6-8pm.  I am showing three of my largest recent paintings there.

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


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