Watercolor and Pastel Artists at CHAW

Ellen Cornett’s drawings to be featured at Frame of Mine

Ellen has a gallery show coming up, and it is as twisted as she is. Appropriately, the show is titled “Twisted: Recent drawings by Ellen Cornett.”

Running until November 30, the show opens this Saturday, November 3, at the renowned framing shop, Frame of Mine, 545 8th Street, SE, in Washington. Below are some examples of the art in the show.


Ellen Cornett Wolf Turned Shepherd

Ellen Cornett: Wolf Turned Shepherd. Carbon pencil. Here’s the back-story: “Wolf Turned Shepherd” is a Grimm’s tale about a wolf who successfully disguised himself as a shepherd, until he tried to speak to tell the sheep to move and a growl came out. The dog falls on him and kills him.

Ellen Cornett An Unkindness of Ravens

Ellen Cornett: An Unkindness of Ravens. Carbon pencil. This drawing is part of a series of self-portraits Ellen has been working on. Three other self-portraits are also in the Frame of Mine show. She notes that her self-portraits are intended to illustrate aspects of her personality.  Believe it or not, “unkindness” is the name for a group of ravens, just as “herd” is for buffalo and “parliament” is for owls. Ellen may have thought there was some connection between unkindness and an aspect of her personality, but I’m not buying it, and neither is anyone else who knows her.

Ellen Cornett Black and White

Ellen Cornett: Black and White. Carbon pencil. Ellen says this drawing is about how things have more in common than not—kind of like how we share many genes with all other living things. I’m wondering where the panda and the magpie are. And by the way, a group of pandas is called an “embarrassment” and a group of magpies is a “charm” or a “murder.”

Ellen Cornett Feathered Hats

Ellen Cornett: Feathered Hats. Carbon pencil. After Ellen drew this whimsical and nonsensical group of animals, her friend Roxi wrote a fabulous story about it, below.

Friends Like That
By Roxi Slemp

Two mammals walk into a bar. One is a rabbit and one is a dog. The bartender is sure he would have remembered if he’d seen these two before. They were surely memorable, as each sported a live bird right on top of his head. “What’ll it be?” he asks.

“Pint of ginger beer,” Jack barks, planting his front paws on the bar.

“Make it two,” says Jitters.

The bartender gives the tap a long pull, overfilling the glasses, and watches the liquid slosh over the rims as he slides the pints across the lacquered top. He studies the curious customers. “What’s the gig?” he says. “I can’t help noticing . . .” but Jack starts a growl, and Jitters’ nose is going a mile a minute. So the bartender zips his lip and goes back to polishing stemware behind the bar.

“The bus to Mineola stops right out front, don’t it?” Jitters asks.

“Every evening at 6:20 sharp,” says the bartender “So you fellas taking the bus, huh? I had you pegged for strangers to these parts.”

“Jury duty,” says Jitters. Jack excuses himself to the bathroom. Jitters waves the bartender over and says in a confidential manner, “Hey, listen, be a good guy and don’t say nothin’ about Jack’s bird, okay? He’s had his fair share of reproof. Sensitive as can be about it. He ain’t a bad dog. Just got that bird on his head is all.” From his wet, black nose to his pointy-topped ears, Jitters face was a study in sincerity. Jitters’ bird, like that of his partner’s, shows no particular expression and doesn’t utter a peep.

The bartender gives Jitters a long silent look. “Sure,” he finally says. “You’re the boss.”

Jitters interests himself in the jukebox, drops a dime down the slot and pokes a selection with his big hind thumper. A sweet steel guitar lights off a Texas swing, and the bartender produces a dish of Wheat Chex and peanuts.

“Hope you washed your paws this time,” Jitters pronounces when Jack returns.

“Of course I washed my paws,” Jack shoots back but gives them each a guilty lick nevertheless.

“He never washes his paws afterwards,” Jitters snitches. “Raised by wolves.”

Jack cocks his head and arches one ear. “Bob Wills.” He nods appreciatively.

“Yeah, I played it,” Jitters brags.

“You played it? You can’t even read your own name, boy! How you gonna play Bob Wills on a jukebox?” the dog mocks.

Jitters looks to the bartender for corroboration, “I played it.”

“If you got jukebox money tell me why the heck I had to come down here to fetch you! You lost your bus money just like you’d lose your own head if it wasn’t fastened on.” He catches the bartender’s eye. “He came on the bus for jury duty. Then he calls up cryin’, says he lost his bus fare and can I come get him”.

The bartender wants no part of refereeing these two mammals’ haranguings. “How ‘bout another round?” he smiles.

“I just remembered I had that dime is all. So I played Bob Wills,” Jitters says meekly to no one in particular.

“Sure, give us a couple more pints and if Jitters runs across any more money he can pay for them,” Jack allows.

The place goes still after Bob Wills plays out. The mammals settle in to second pints. The sun is setting and its rays cast a pleasing honey shine on the black and white tile floor. “I keep thinking it’s Saturday because I’m not at work,” observes Jitters.

“Like you’ve ever known what day it is,” Jack interrupts, drowning Jitters out with his greater volume and dogged determination to have the last word. “Not since your doe packed up and run off with that big buck from Arkansas. Didn’t you ever notice that none of her bunnies look like you, you jumpy fool? Every one of them’s got spots. You got spots?”

“Well at least I’ve had me some gals!” retorts Jitters. “This guy ain’t never been with no female not once in his life!” he tells the bartender derisively. “He’s way too ugly for that.” Then he takes a determined sniff in his friend’s direction. “Dirty too,” he adds.

Now it’s after six and Jitters’ turn for the restroom. Jack lines up four dollars worth of quarters and tells the bartender, “You’re a real prince for not bringing up the elephant in the room, so to speak.”

“Yeah?” the bartender says, allowing the conversation to lead where it will.

“Yeah. That dang bird on Jitters’ head. He’ll burst right into tears when someone calls him out about it. And it definitely ain’t his fault. If you only knew what that rabbit’s had to go through in life. I’m just so darn proud of him,” Jack says. The bartender sees the dog’s eyes are rimming with tears. “For him to be able to bide his time waiting for the bus here and you giving him the same respect you would give any mammal is a real comfort to him. Bless your soul to heaven.” He touches his front paw to his heart.

Jitters emerges just as the gasp of air brakes sounds from across the street. The dog leaps down from the bar and trots to his friend’s side. The rabbit gives the bartender a grateful smile, a wink and a wave. As they exit, they plow right into two birds flying through the door. They excuse themselves politely and are gone.

The bartender takes away the empty pints and wipes down the bar. “The usual?” he asks the birds as they alight, one on the bar, the other on a stool.

“What in the world do you call that?” says the bird on the stool.

The bartender places two cut glass thimbles of raspberry liqueur in front of his regulars. “Just two mammals from Mineola, each looking out for the other,” he replies with bartenderly wisdom.

Marian Wiseman

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This entry was posted on November 1, 2018 by in Carbon pencil, Exhibitions, Gallery and tagged , .
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