In the Operating Theatre

inks, gesso, collage on crinkled Masa paper mounted 10 X 11″

a performance in the bleeding heart tent
the operating theatre
where ghoulish surgeons dance
above veins that open and close

Tomorrow I’m having vascular surgery on my leg.  Could you guess?  On Tuesday this week when Muse Group met I was aware of an underlying anxiety about this upcoming event, but put it out of my mind with the busy-ness of demonstrating and helping students.  There was just a bit a space and a few minutes to do a bit of cutting and pasting on this piece, with nothing in my mind but to decorate and balance shapes and harmonize colors.

I didn’t realize until we did the Free Write part (where we write stream of consciousness about our art pieces) that it had become a rather graphic illustration of my fears.  Even the black “hole” on the bottom along with the paper texture was an accurate representation of the ultrasound image I’d seen!  The separation of art and life had vanished.

An overactive imagination, one might say.  My surgeon is not a ghoul and he will have a state of the art surgery center and I doubt his team will be dancing on my veins!  But that story would not make for compelling art.

7 Responses to “In the Operating Theatre”

  1. 1 Ardy Lane
    August 31, 2012 at 4:00 am

    Hope your surgery goes well. Love your art!


  2. August 31, 2012 at 8:10 am

    Wishing you the very best, Susan, and a quick recovery!


  3. August 31, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    Wishing you well from New Zealand.


  4. September 9, 2012 at 7:03 pm

    I love this… it does portray the feeling of what I imagine is a surgery room.. cool, sharp, lots of metal, blood…
    I’m glad you are well! This is, in a strange way, beautiful.


    • September 10, 2012 at 7:18 am

      Funny thing is. . .I don’t remember even seeing the operating room because by the time I got there i was floating on the drug cloud which acts sort of like that memory zapper the Men in Black use to wipe out your memory of it. Not a bad deal at all. I’ll stick with the colorful art version!


  5. September 21, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    Oh Susan, had no idea you were going through this. Would have checked in with you this evening…I so much love the transparency of your words and art. This is quite a striking piece of work. Amazing to contemplate whether our unconscious is able to see with our eyes closed.


    • 7 Susan Cornelis
      September 22, 2012 at 7:46 am

      Thanks for your concern Peter. I am (and was) quite well and actually had a dream before surgery of a big white bird that was wild and powerfully able to protect me through the surgery. . .and I guess it did! Good to see you last night.

      > From: “comment-reply@wordpress.com” > Reply-To:


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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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