Author: Susan Cornelis

Gator Nation

This Tuesday the Healdsburg Summer Concert series featured Gator Nation with their South Louisiana, Cajun, Zydeco, and New Orleans style music. They quickly revved the audience up for dancing. I moved my little stool up to in front of the dancers. Gulp. And quickly realized that my proximity meant total engagement with the music and these wonderful performers that were constantly moving around, interacting with each other, and looking like they were having so much fun. How could I sketch when I felt like joining the dancers?

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Here’s the challenge. How to get them all on the spread with no time to plan it out first. But honestly, it’s so much fun to do this while the music is going on and seeping into the sketch. In the end I did just jump up and join the dancers. It felt like we were on the bayou with these guys!

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This is band leader Willard Blackwell. Not only did I get to meet him and take a picture, but he gave me a CD so I could take the music home. (I think this was the best part of the evening!)

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Volunteering at TLR

I was talking to the volunteer coordinator at The Living Room (the day shelter for women and children in Santa Rosa) while I was there this week. Katie coordinates the 120 weekly volunteers who offer their time and skills to support this amazing program. The onset of summer means that some volunteers have moved on or gotten jobs and left vacancies in the schedule. Just saying. . .if you have time and the inclination, I can’t think of a better volunteer gig than this.

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This poster shows some of the countless ways volunteers can provide vital services to these families.

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The moms who come to the Living Room are not only dealing with the challenges of mothering, but the added burden of not having shelter or financial means. Here they have a safe place to get counseling, eat nutritious meals, and have some fun time with their children, or even take an art class here while a volunteer plays with their child.

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There are so many things to figure out when you’re homeless. Add these onto the already complex array of life challenges when you have a home: laundry, showers, a nap (to catch up on sleep you missed), calls and emails to services you’re on the wait list for, connections with people who have said they will help, forms to fill out, buses to catch so you can make it back to the shelter in time to have a bed for the night, friends who need help more than you do, pets who are like family you cannot abandon just because you lost your home.

The Living Room is a lifeline for these women and children. For me it always feels like walking into a beating heart. I am so grateful for the new friendships I have formed with the women who endure with such strength and fortitude and such generosity of spirit with each other.

If you have some time to offer and want to support these homeless women and children, you can contact Katie Phillips at the Living Room or contact me with any questions.

F Words

It was too hot for thinking straight that day, so I puttered in the studio and wrote about this new piece. Forgive the silliness. I should probably not even post, but then, why not. You can probably relate.

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Acrylic inks, pencil, gesso, collage from an old alphabet book, etc.

F is for Fear that sends me running when someone points a Finger for even Flimsy reasons.

F is for Frozen –  on a day like today, the ice cubes in my tea for the second before they melt.

F is for Famous, which I may never be for more than a Fleeting day and certainly wouldn’t want to be for more than a Fortnight.

F is for Foremost, the thing I overlook when rushing into the Fray of the day.

F is for Fooey! and Fiddlesticks! and this F—-’n poem which may be headed for the Trash (which isn’t even an F word!)

 

 

 

Summer is arriving

The thermostat just hit 100, so summer has officially arrived. I’m hunkered down in air conditioning with time to catch up on blogging a bit. Here’s some sketches of recent outings.

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We lucked out with weather over the weekend and the Ready, Set, Sketchers (aka North Bay Urban Sketchers) met up in Valley Ford on Saturday. It was sunny-warm enough that I just looked for a shady spot to sit in a parking lot, and fell in love with this old “shack”. Did someone live there? Was it storage for the little store next door? Or maybe even the post office?

Valley Ford is a block long and surrounded by rolling grass lands and stands of trees, a big draw for plein aire painters, but also a lunch stop for cyclists and others on their way to the shoreline. The parking lot was a crowded with all of the above, but somehow none of them made it into this old-timey scene.

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As you can see I didn’t get close enough to the band, Roy Rogers and the Delta Rhythm Kings, to sketch them at the opening of the Healdsburg Jazz Festival in the Plaza. That evening I was content to sit in my chair along with all the other folks, eating and drinking wine and people watching. If you want to see the band, you can look at last year’s sketch.

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Same place, Healdsburg Plaza concert series, with the band, the King Street Giants.There’s always space to plant my mini-stool on the side or in the back of the stage to get a closer view.

And tomorrow is another concert there, but I think I’ll have to pass. Another 100 day tomorrow, and my melting point is 90.

Bouquets to Art 2019

You have to take a deep breath before plunging into the scene at the de Young art museum in San Francisco for those few days when the Bouquets to Art exhibit reigns each year. There must be many thousands of floral enthusiasts in the Bay Area who live for this show, which pays homage to the art of floral arranging. What I love about it is that the stunning floral displays are inspired by the collection of artworks in the museum and actually the museum architecture itself.

I brought my sketchbook and pencil and took pictures so that i could add color later.bouquets1

The floral displays use live flowers, which is why the show only lasts 5 days. I imagine by the fourth or fifth day the flowers can get pretty limp and brown around the edges. The structures are as mind-bending as the flowers.

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Everyone was taking pictures and trying to get the right angle for a shot. People were particularly respectful of the sketcher, standing valiantly in their midst. But I was trying to stay somewhat out of the way as well, and choosing subjects that were not as mobbed.

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This was one of my favorites and a really interesting challenge. Here I’m sketching my reflection in the mirror in the arrangement structure as well as the art that inspired it!

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And this one challenged with another reflection, of the dangling roots on the shiny surface beneath.

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The petroglyph-inspired art behind the arrangement was the inspiration for this magical piece!

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At some point my feet were quite tired, not to mention my ears. The din and press of humanity made me seek rest in the native art section, where there were no floral arrangements or people! A bench across from this statue beckoned. I was sure I was looking at an androgenous figure, more male than female, until I read the sign. Surely a male artist at least, certainly one who had never witnessed childbirth!

While in S.F. last weekend

We stayed at a friend’s apartment next to Ghiradelli Square at Fisherman’s Wharf so it was easy to find a nearby bench and catch the morning crowd assembling for their tours. I was reminded of the Urban Sketchers Symposiums I’ve been attending the last few years, with the leaders holding up their signs and greeting people as the excitement built.

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I’ve often been to the DeYoung Art Museum in Golden Gate Park, but not to the California Academy of Sciences right across the way, at least not since the boys were little. So, dear Bob humored me (my interest more than his!) for a day, so I could explore my favorites – the planetarium, rain forest with its butterflies, aquarium, and natural history museum. Yes! all under one roof.

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. . .the roof top being a garden, where I had a few minutes for a quick capture.

 

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Believe it or not I have a soft spot in my heart for praying mantises, and not just because they stand still to be sketched. When I had to deny my boys a pet dog due to allergies, I allowed some insects and reptiles/amphibians, including a mantis who did his praying for months in Ben’s room.

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Another attraction that remained still for me right across from a bench where I could rest my weary feet was these zebras. Sketching the stripes was a kind of meditation.

If you’re thinking of visiting this exceedingly popular museum you will hopefully find it quieter (than we did) on weekdays now that school is out. Unless that is you have a particular fondness for sketching children everywhere in motion. . .

Betsayda Machado

I have to admit that, being a sketcher, I go to concerts not just for the music, but for the colorful visuals. If the music is good too, that’s a big plus because the music seeps into the sketching.

Sometimes the music is so, well, engaging that it’s quite hard to keep the mind on the sketch page! That was the story with Betsayda Machado, an Afro-Venezuelan group performing at the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival in San Francisco on Saturday.

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I had to throw down my sketchbook and join the dancers on the grass.

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Afterwards Laurie Wigham, my sketch partner for the day, and I went up to the stage to share our sketches, and this is what happened. . .

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Warm hearted people! Their gratitude to us was so unexpected since they had just given us the abundant gift of their music.

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And one last picture of Laurie with the exotic lady (not in the group!) we both sketched as she danced in front of us on the grass. Laurie’s quick sketch captured the moment in her lyrical watercolor style!

There’s a free concert at Yerba Buena Gardens every weekend this summer. I know I’ll be back for more.