image transfer

Spring Session of The Playful Muse Workshop!

The Playful Muse workshop series returns for a Spring Session starting April 10! If you’re an Olympia, Washington local, I hope you can join us. If not, I’ll be posting about the lessons here as I’ve been doing for the past, gulp, sixteen years.

Put the PLAY Factor back into your artmaking. Learn to recognize your intuitive voice as it takes you in new directions. Each session adds a new mixed media painting technique to your repertoire, pushing the boundaries of inks and acrylics, adding textures, collage, and more. Meditation and writing are added to the mix to evoke that powerful Muse energy!
All experience levels, beginners to advanced, are welcome.
Six weekly classes and each week an all new lesson. This season will feature new textures, image transfers, Wabi Sabi effects and acrylic skins. Here’s a sampling from previous years!
Coffee texture!
acrylic skins!
Image transfer
Wabi Sabi!
Monday Morning Muses (meets weekly for 6 weeks)
Dates: April 10, 17, 24, May 1, 8, 15, 2023
Time: 10am-1pm
Cost: $210
Location: 1230 8th Ave SE, Olympia, WA
For more information visit my website.
To enquire about the workshop or to register contact me by phone or email.



I pulled out all my dry media materials last week for Muse Group; pencils of all sorts, pastels, crayons, charcoal. Lots of those things which I normally stay away from so my pieces don’t get all smudgey when I put them in the loose leaf books.

But there’s something so satisfying about delineating with texturey marks or coloring in, not to mention, smudging on purpose. I pulled out a piece I’d begun weeks ago, and then played around on it with a charcoal pencil.


acrylic, photo transfer by Bob Cornelis, collage, charcoal pencil on w/c paper

Windows have eyes on the world

Everywhere. Stand still and gaze out. Or

Stand outside. Pick a window that has movement beyond it. Now

You’re a peeping Tom, a busybody. So

Be discreet and tell yourself you’re just an artist, a storyteller,

A poet, a blogger looking for “material”.

Privacy no longer exists.

Perhaps it never did

For the artist.

Ah! such a one am I. Not a snoop by nature. But there’s something about looking closely at things, people, landscapes, animals – looking at the details – which leads to a growing fascination and a curiosity. And that leads to words and paragraphs.

Oh dear please. I am not a busybody, am I?

Image Transfers – Two Ways

In my Muse Groups rule-breaking is encouraged, so there’s a groove of free thinking which we enjoy. Serendipity is encouraged!

We’d been enjoying the splatter and spray techniques, and then I introduced the idea of transferring a photographic image transparently onto a painting, and suddenly there were some rules! For instance, this method only works with toner copies (not ink jet prints!) and it requires a certain careful handling. There was much to practice.


The first method I taught uses clear contact paper. You press the image ink side down onto the sticky side of the contact paper, burnish it, and then wet it so that you can rub off the paper pulp, leaving the image on the transparent contact paper. Then you glue it down on your painting in a spot where the image takes advantage of the underpainting showing through!

In the case of this dragon I had a lot of fun painting over the transparency as well, once it was down. I had to give the dragon credit for the inferno, and suggest his jewel-laden body.


Here I used the dry gel transfer method. First I collaged the music pages, using a Valentine sweetheart theme.

Then I printed out a toner copy of my face – a picture taken in Photobooth on my computer with the comic strip filter. I painted a layer of acrylic soft gel onto the surface of the music and pressed the image, ink-side down onto the wet gel, making sure that it made contact all the way to the edges. After letting it dry for 24 hours, I then wet the paper and rubbed the paper pulp off gently with my finger, leaving the black ink image. See what I mean? Several steps to pull it off.

The rest was glazing with ink washes, stenciling and collage with the doily shape.

And here’s what came out in the writing. . .

Talk to me Baby! Tell me what’s on your mind. Bad Hair day? Watched too much TV news? Wondering what to give the hubby on Valentine’s Day?

Or. . .remembering the good old days, when the Beatles occupied your mind, and your heart was a fresh young thing. Before the glasses. . .Before the thousandth hat worn and taken off again. So many lives in one, until it’s hard to pin down who this is.

Happy Valentine’s Day! Sending love your way!

The Native in Me


acrylic paints and inks, collage, image transfer on coffee baked w/c paper

I like to think I might have Native American blood, (though it’s doubtful).  Maybe then I could feel like a true American? or maybe not. My claim is shaky and based on strange preferences like feathers, drums and repetitive native chants.  Also there’s something about my high cheekbones. . .

My ancestors were settlers, Norwegians who took advantage of the fertile prairie lands of the dakotas.  Perhaps they even read this sign (which I found in an old Look magazine) that read “2,000,000 farms. . .to be had free of cost” and “simply by occupying it”.  I cringe to think of this.  Free of cost to whom? We now know that the price to nature, to human life, not to mention that next most essential staple of human life – culture and tradition – was obscenely high.

My feelings about this, my confusions come to occupy the paper, even as I demonstrate a lesson in aging paper by soaking it in coffee and baking it, using antique ephemera, sepia toned inks, and even image transfer (the native on horseback and the feather).

My Norwegian relatives, the Buskeruds and Loffswolds were “good” people as far as I remember. So I can’t help wondering if they had any Native American friends, and perhaps even a little bit of the native gene pool entered the blood line somewhere along the way?

Moose Guardian


acrylic inks and paints, image transfer, collage, Uniball Signo pen on w/c paper, 10 X 11″

The message:  BE PREPARED!  -Moose Guardian Angel

. . .because we’re all in need of a guardian angel (or several) I like to periodically incite students to join me in creating our own. It has to be humorous, but also deadly serious. . . like this one. I’ve created many over the years and I’d like to think they’re all watching over me, or at least keeping me from taking myself too seriously.

If you’re interested in creating your own, please check out the latest issue of my Imagine With Art Newsletter, which has directions for how to create your own wacky and wonderful angel (or alter ego, or personal clown, or whatever you want to call it).



acrylic inks, image transfers on w/c paper, 10 X 11″


She’s downloading a map.  She’d hoped for a simpler one.  And then she got distracted and had to start over again. That has happened so many times in her life!  With all the detours along the way, it’s a wonder she’s found herself even this far along.


She may be here a while, lips pursed in concentration.  Hopefully she’ll discover there’s fun to be had where all pretense of solving life’s thorny questions has been abandoned.

I have tried a great many image transfer methods over the past few years, but I really love the “instant” transfer method using matte medium, which I learned from the Golden website.

I have a toner copy machine in my studio, so in my group we can copy any black and white image, either from a printed photograph, book, or printed off a free internet site.  For this piece I used a picture of myself mugging for the camera in Photo Booth (built into my computer) with the comic strip filter applied.  I cut out what I wanted from the picture, then printed out a children’s game board image from a free internet site for parents (found by Googling “Mazes”) and transferred both images together onto the painted surface.

It’s wasn’t a surprise to find that this piece seemed to illustrate some of the issues in the book I’m currently reading The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing To Our Brains by Nicholas Carr.  Our brains are getting worked by our addiction to the Internet in new ways, both exciting and disturbing. As with most confusing life issues, my answer is Make Art of it.

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!

The Family Pyramid


acrylic, image transfers, collage on w/c paper, 10 X 11″

The Family Pyramid

Solve the riddle and the sphinx will offer access to the tombs and the secrets therein.

Skeletons are to be cherished, regardless. All families have them. We are none of us above the business of heritage, our automatic download of burdens, talents, angels and demons acquired at birth.  We imagine we are free to start afresh while inadvertently walking in the well worn shoes of ancestors.

This was an exercise in recycling old paintings, as in cutting them up and piecing together.  The figure on the left is actually my maternal grandfather, and on the right, his mother or aunt.  I’m not sure.  I wonder if she was half as formidable as she appears here. They were pretty tough stock, Ohio farmers and educators. I hope they knew how to kick up their heals and have fun!

Coffee Bean Antiquity


acrylic inks, contact paper image transfer and collage on coffee soaked w/c paper, 10 X 11″

My shadow and I traverse this ancestral trail together – she always a few steps behind and silent.  Does she wonder as I do about their lives on the homestead in the verdant Ohio valley?  Were they peaceable, industrious, well read farmers and teachers as my mother said?  And did the bible rule their lives along with the seasons?

In Muse Group this week we took a journey into antiquity with a start of coffee soaked paper.  I pulled out some old family pictures- one an aerial view of the Finly farmstead back in the 1800’s.  Then I raided my Illustrated Travels book from the same century and foreign stamp collection for collage elements.  The girl is actually a Persian beauty whose hand made clothes I loved.

We get to take a trip around the world when we do our art and mix it all together in a dreamy, rich stew.

Magic Carpet Ride


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

Suzy redhead rules her world, takes her magic carpet ride each day, orange cat by her side.  There’s no place too far to fly on her magic carpet bed with the apple trees outside, and the cows next door. The fabric of each day has enough colors to last, enough textures and smells, sights and sounds to entertain. And then there’s the firefly nights.  . .

Every once in a while I like to pull out some old pictures and do an image transfer with them.  I recently discovered that if you’re careful, you can do an instant transfer with gel or even matte medium (using a toner/laser print, not ink jet).  That’s what I was demonstrating in Mon. Muse group.

When I was in first grade we lived on Cowenton Ave. in Maryland, next to the cows and down the lane from the chickens. And there was a mini apple orchard in our front yard.  Small wonder I once again have found my way to living amongst the apples. And something we don’t have here in California – those magic firefly nights!