Earth Week Map

Earth Week is good time for some personal geographizing.  I recently bought the book Personal Geographies:Explorations in Mixed Media Mapmaking by Jill K. Berry and was trying out a couple of her ideas in the context of the Monday Muse Group.

mapoflivesacrylic inks and map collage on w/c paper, 10 X 11″

Like many of us at a certain age, the map of my life is a bit messy, like this one.  I have lived all over and back again, yet remained stable, at least in my home in Sebastopol, for the past 14 years. I’m a Californian through and through at this point.  But I spent almost 2 decades on the east coast, some time in the center, and lived in four different countries.  I hope this qualifies me as a citizen of the world and not just the USA.

What does your personal geography look like?



Sketching the Spring Garden

Here’s a little video I recorded a few years ago at this time of year, with the juicy caterpillar activity and flowers!



Free Demo at Rileystreet Art Supply

Join me this Friday for my free painting demonstration at Rileystreet Art Supply, Santa Rosa, CA, 2-4pm!


Acrylic Glazing With Textures

Oh, the variety of fun textures you can achieve with any of the acrylic gels, pastes or gessos!  You will feel emboldened when you see fluid acrylics and inks mixing and settling into the textural designs in surprising ways.

Debossing, embossing, decalcomania and other textures will be demonstrated and combined with glazes of fluid acrylics and inks for dramatic effect.  Stencils, stamps, color shapers and some household items will be employed!  Hopefully you’ll go home and be inspired to find your own texture making tools.

Santa Rosa
103 Maxwell Ct.
Santa Rosa, CA

Register online:


My Brain Child


Acrylic inks, Citra Solved collage papers on w/c paper, 10 X 11″

My brain child is wired for great complexity

all those filaments and fibers conspiring

to make me brilliant one day and a fool the next

to utter great truths or spew wormy banalities

My brain child is a hothouse of growing things

hungry caterpillars chomping on leaves

threatening to break out and run free

Will they embarrass me or

earn me a reputation for a fertile imagination?

Oops! Here comes another!  Look out everyone!


Pipevine Swallowtail caterpillar, picture taken 5 minutes ago in my studio garden

One never has to look far for the source of the ideas served up by the imagination.  I often don’t see the connection until a day or week after the art is made.  I’ve been visiting our hungry caterpillars each day, touching them on the head so they throw up the bright yellow flags!  I hadn’t realized that they’d become my brain children!


Apple (blossom) Time


acrylic inks, gesso, maps, Masa paper, etc collage, pen’n’ink on w/c paper

On Saturday I started a new mixed media workshop series in my studio.  The theme - Inks and Gesso!  Playing with them on paper – squirting, smooshing, scraping, rollering, finger painting, combing, splattering, etc.

I had this painting “start” which was reds and greens and reminded me of a brightly colored plate of food. Maybe I was hungry. I have a foodie magazine and started cutting out pictures of food.  But the only one that seemed right was the apple.  In Sebastopol, CA where I live, the biggest celebration of the year is the Apple Blossom Festival and parade down Main St.  Here is Sonoma County we celebrate grapes and wine year round, but when the apple blossoms burst out, the old fashioned apple trumps everything else for a while.


Bird Sunday


Falconer Sara with her redtailed hawk, Enola, at Armstrong Woods in Guerneville, CA

Isn’t she beautiful?!  We got to sketch Enola in the redwoods before heading out to Goat Rock beach, in the second session of Bird Arting with Jonqui Albin, sponsored by the Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods.


Myself, Suzanne Edminster and Karen Mason bundled up and at the beach sketching those impossibly fast flying gulls, cormorants and terns.  Those lumps on the beach in the background are the harbor seals and their pups. Just draw a tube and put some eyes in it!


9 X 12″ pen and w/c sketch

Our reward. . .a delicious lunch at Cape Fear Restaurant in Duncans Mills and time to sketch people and share pens and paints with each other.  I love the way this woman looks like she’s biting her nails, which seems to go with the title “Cape Fear” even though that was unintentional. She was eating, after all.


Sketchbook Skool

I got back from Portland earlier this week and heard that my painting buddy had started Danny Gregory’s new 6 week online sketch workshop, Sketchbook Skool, and immediately signed up, not wanting to miss out on the fun.  I used to teach a lot of sketchbook workshops and one can always learn something new!  Actually as I recall, it was Danny Gregory who first incited me to sketch things like worn old tennis shoes and the contents of my breakfast plate.

The Sketch Skool started a week ago, but you could still catch up, if you haven’t already enrolled. I didn’t have time for sketchbook shopping, so I found a still pristine 9 X 12″ Mix Media Canson sketchbook on my shelf and inaugurated it.  Over the years I’ve collected an insane number of pens, brushes, paints, etc. So I decided to tackle this rather large sketchbook with a variety of things, as if sketching for the first time!


Being a very practical sort I started by using some of the leftover paint from my stay wet palette which had been moldering away while I was on vacation.  The first week’s homework is to sketch your daily life, with words about your thoughts/feelings.  I learned that the paper was too thin for using a dip pen, since it leaks through – good to know. And the black Pentel brush leaked all over my hand as I held it.


A few minutes sketching in the garden in the afternoon and after dinner, forgetting for a while whatever I was “supposed” to be doing instead.  Once I started copying Rumi poetry I could have kept going for pages!  And then I followed Bob into the family room.


 Started with a Uni Ball Vision pen and switched to a Sharpie for a more defined line.

He would be appalled to hear me say this, but yes, sketching beats out watching a basketball game most of the time.  However I may have to put down my pen for a few minutes during a Downton Abbey.

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


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