Thursday, February 11, 2016


india ink on bristol board with watercolor

Senior Diego Estantino is my trusty 2nd period T.A.,
and graciously agreed to pose for my students
so they could draw only the shapes of the shadows on his face.
In order to make this easier,
 I isolated the kids in my art lounge,
turned off the lights and put a spotlight on Diego's face.

After they were done inking in the shapes,
I asked them to do bring in one additional medium to make the piece more special. 
Four of the kids chose watercolor except senior Katherine Ku above.
She asked if she could make a special filigree border around the piece
in place of a medium.
I told her to go for it.
And what a fabulous result.
Makes me rethink the assignment for next school year.
Thanks Kat!

I really liked how senior Bernice Lin
 splattered and dripped watercolor down her background.
Looks very fresh.

Senior Risha Bhakta did more of a sponged effect with her watercolor.

Then senior Kyla Balquin used a mask product to isolate
tiny little stars before she brushed on her watercolor.

And senior Hazel Cruz used more of a stippling effect
 when she applied her watercolor background.

Great job girls!



We saw in the Graphite Sphere post the playful work of Salvador Ortiz
Once again he delights up with his subject matter.
He also makes sure we know who is the artist of this work.  LOL

Monica Lee once again brings her sophistication to her work thru her design and use of the medium.
I especially enjoy how she has moved the backdrop from light to dark.  
Adds a touch of atmosphere.

And ooh,
what do we have here Stella Hong?
Love the texture and scale you have brought to your work!
Brave and bold and wonderful.  :)

And no post is complete without Aaron Amaya.
The quality of his work is so beautifully sensitive,
his craftsmanship so clean.
I can totally see Aaron getting into illustration for children's books.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016


acrylic paint & paper collage

This piece is senior Elias Rodriquez's largest work to date.
It measures 24" by 36".
He wasn't required to work this large but he wanted to challenge and push himself
(I love that :)

The assignment was to use text as 60% of their subject matter.
In the past the kids have lettered out words and painted them in,
but Elias being Elias,
 wanted to change it up and do it differently.
He asked if the words could come from newspapers that he could collage down first,
then lightly paint over.
I really liked the idea so he tried it out.
The rest of the subject matter was up to the kids,
so he gives us this very thought provoking figure partially hiding behind a mask.

Bravo Elias for always pushing yourself farther!

Friday, February 5, 2016


graphite & colored pencils

Will you just look at this talent???
Only their second assignment and they are super stars already!
Their assignment?
To draw a graphite sphere with at least 5 values that transition seamlessly.
And an added extra,
to construct a border around the piece so it doesn't float,
to anchor it.

Let's start with Monica Lee.
It's apparent that Monica is one of the best drawing/designing students in the class.
This piece is highly sophisticated for one so young.
Makes me wonder if she has had outside art lessons?
I forgot to ask her. 
But it's obvious that she has been drawing all her young life.
I really like how she thought to add the light bulbs to balance her composition.

And then check out this super fun piece by Salvador Ortiz.
Love all the smaller balls he brought in,
and the stars he added to them.
It adds a playful element that is very pleasing.

And not to be outdone is Ana Son.
First of all, 
brilliant of her to use a Complimentary color scheme of blue and orange
 even before I taught them about color schemes. 
Her border is very well thought out and executed,
and her sphere has a great range of value.

And check out this pretty piece by Stella Hong.
Where do they think of these great ideas?
Her border is highly original,
and I love how she took the time to bring in color.
Was color required?
only if they wanted to put it in for extra credit.

And here is Aaron Amaya again.,
Standing Out  :)
We saw his value scale,
and his natural talent just keeps taking him onward.
 notice the light and delicate touch Aaron displays with his media.
So lovely and sensitive!

And lastly is Parth Patel.
Parth confided in me that he was anxious about being in art,
as are most of my students.
All thru elementary he felt he wasn't any good at it.
(I also back in the day thought the same thing about myself
 until I had a fabulous junior high  instructor who showed me differently  :)
As a new arrival,
 I reassured him he'd end up enjoying it and that he'd be just fine.
And looky, 
looky Parth,
you made the cut onto the blog
 where your work is being viewed around the whirled for hundreds to see and enjoy.
So happy for you.
Just shows you never know until you try.  :)

Thursday, February 4, 2016


clay, glazes, oxides, ceramic watercolors, sawdust firing, & embellishments

I'm so excited to finally show off these amazing Rainsticks
 that my 2nd year clay students created.
They are simply marvelous.
The kids really got into the assignment and gave me everything they had.
Let's take a look.

Senior Sitara Puliyanda
(scale on this is about 30" tall)

It's all about the inside of the cylinders that make these sticks sound so magical.
Before they roll their slabs into a cylinder,
 they must attach short coils to the inside wall,
as well as make hundreds of very small clay balls.

Then they will roll those cylinders closed,
attach a base on the bottom and pour in their balls.

And finally attach another slab to close the top portion.
What is so interesting to me is how the kids figure out the physics of the placement of the coils.
Some put them in a straight line,
 others stagger them.

Sitara is planning such a large piece that she has to build hers in sections.
We see her piecing it together here.

Senior Celeste Zambrano is attaching her top piece.
And below we have seniors Klyne Madayag,
Efrain Quintero,
Eyrn Burnett and Celeste all finishing up.
The kids needed a lot of table space to construct these.

A close-up of Efrain putting on his final touches,
Below his finished sawdust fired piece.
He also brought in metallic rubbing compounds for accents along the arm.

Here is Klyne's finished Rainstick.
Note the castle walls at the top and the flag?
A bit hard to see due to the backdrop fabric.
If I remember correctly,
the kids felt that her's had the most beautiful sound as the balls came trickling down the tube.

Next is senior Sandhya Raghvan.
The surface of her cylinder came out so lovely and soft looking from the sawdust firing.
And I love the subtle movement throughout her cylinder.
She was looking for something special to put atop.
 I knew about this cool rock and gem store on the mountain,
so I bought several pretty hand blown marbles that she was able to chose from.

Here is Eyrn's Rainstick with her sweet butterfly on top.
The kids had the option to glaze or sawdust fire their sticks,
so Eryn first glazed hers then used nail polish to embellish with for a very cool look.

Here is Celeste's finished instrument.
I love that she incorporated nails into the side of her stick,
and that they got all charred from the firings.
And the spiders and webbing were the perfect accessories.

And lastly we come back to Sitara's Rainstick.
it was the most impressive for many reasons.
First off the scale. 
 It was almost larger then she was.  ha ha
And I adore the fact that the scale of the flowers are so much smaller then the piece itself
And the obvious,
 that she spent hours painstakingly painting on multiple glazes
 before we sent it thru the second firing. 
She also used wire to wrap around the stems of those tiny flowers on top of the stick
which I feel gives it a whimsical quality.
Some close-ups of all her labor.
If you are wondering if we have that many glaze colors,
we actually have 17,
 a goodly amount.
But we don't have red or purple,
 yet you are seeing them on Sitara's piece.
How she got those were with very expensive watercolors made for clay.
I get them at my clay supply place,
Aardvark Clay and Suppy in Santa Ana, Ca..
The kids brush them onto the bisqueware,
 then put transparent glaze over top.
Gives them more color choices but it is also very time consuming.
But as you can see,
totally worth the effort!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016


Junior Avanthi Dev,
student of mine and close personal family friend,
 aspires to be a professional chef.
She has been wanting to start a sustainable garden on our campus,
so I told her I would help with the start up costs.
She's hoping to draw in other would-be gardeners and chefs within our student body
to share her passion. 

This is what she and a few of her volunteers,
 Alan Lim, Dea Kunika, and Justin Hogenauer have created over the past month. 
Avanthi is second on the left.

These students are hoping to eventually expand the garden even more 
and make the entire area behind our lunch hutch a working produce garden. 

The garden is being run to align with certain sustainable practices
 that Avanthi has researched and practiced at home in her own chef's garden.
She even did an internship up in Bakersfield this last summer learning much
 that she hopes to implement here at Whitney High,
 like recycling water, 
using compost, 
and collecting seeds. 
Avanthi wishes to popularize the implementation of sustainability 
into our everyday lives and tie it in with food, 
showing students that they can easily grow their own produce at home as a way to eat healthy
 and care for the environment but enjoy doing so. 
The garden consists of two raised beds that are filled with organic soils and compost, 
like coffee grounds,
 tea leaves, 
and worm castings. 

The students built a beautiful,
 rustic-looking trellis out of sticks and branches
 that they collected from CPE (the park adjacent to our school).
They connected them by doing a diagonal lash out of re-bar. 
For the Winter season, 
one of the beds is currently growing peas,
 and beets.
 The other bed will have flowers put in until the spring 
when they can be replaced with vegetables.
 To conceal the clay surrounding the garden,
 landscaping stones will be lain and the beds may be painted or stained.

Stay turned for more pix and updates. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016


graphite & colored pencil

As the 2nd Quarter 7th grade group leaves,
I'm finally getting to post their work.
There is always so much talent to be found with these crazy sweet little ones.
These were the best of this first assignment with me.
I hope you all enjoy getting to know this new group.

Let's start with Aaron Amaya.
You saw him in yesterdays farewell post.
The handsome boy with the long ponytail (he's growing his hair out to donate).
Aaron came to me with a gift.
The gift of drawing from his head,
something I cannot teach.
It's very rare to have a student who can do this.
I asked him if he's ever taken any art classes?
You mean it just flows out of you?
Yeah, I guess so.
Super clever composition,
inside a diner and the table as his value scale.
He was also very comfortable bringing in the optional extra credit colored pencil.
Something that I hadn't shown the kids how to use yet.
And notice his knowledge of 1 Pt. Perspective?

This next very lovely work is the creation of Clara Kim.
Man, oh man,
talk about sophisticated work for a 7th grader.
I was super impressed with Clara as well.
Notice her subtle use of the analogous colors blue/purple
coming together to darken and shade her water under the bridge?
It's cast shadow.
And her craftsmanship is remarkable as well.
Fantastic piece Clara!

This very quiet work belongs to Victorio Decordova,
which is surprising since Victorio is quite the chatter box.  hee hee
It amazes me what comes from these kids
 when you get them into right brain and non verbal for at least 20 minutes at a time.
Beautifully crafted,
and I especially like how the palm tree is only partially colored in.
And the kids were only required to give me 5 values of grey,
but notice Victorio did 8!!

And oh my,
who do we have here with this very dynamic piece?
It's Monica Lee.
Bravo young woman!
Great job filling the paper,
balancing the pier with the tree,
the reflection of the sun on the water
 as well as the numerous values you put in.

I look forward to showing off more of their work this quarter.

And WELCOME ABOARD new 3rd Quarter 7th graders.
I look forward to getting to know you all.

Monday, February 1, 2016


It went by way too fast,
in fact,
 the year seems to be flying by.
My current 7th graders are leaving my nest,
flying off to try Drama for 8 weeks with Ms. Improta,
a fabulous teacher.
They will love her.

But I'm so sad to see them go.  
This group had personality plus with a whole lot of sweetness mixed in
as you can see in many of these snapshots.
Plus I've got them well trained 
and now I've got to do it all over again with a new crop of newbies.
Need some combat pay here School Board members  LOL

The Shibori Unit was a big hit with the kids.
You see them at the Indigo bucket trying patiently to wait their turns.
I want to especially thank Aaron Amaya,
aka Patrick,
for being such a great sport with his nick name (above far right).

They also loved working in Watercolor, 
especially young Rodrigo Mercol with the ginormous smile on his face.
They are all such cuties.

And another thanks to Maya Alvarez-Harmon (top front left) for dragging her parents
to the gallery up in Running Springs  (in the mts.) were I sell some of my art works.
And then giving her the cash to buy one of my pieces.
Wow, that  was really special!
There were 28 young, 
 adolescent bodies in this group,
where most of them are coming directly to me from P.E.
You can imagine  LOL

Here they are working on their Soap Scrubs.

One of my favorite pix I've taken all year is this one above.
Even though we had rubber gloves on when we did our Indigo dipping, 
it was still hard not to to get anything on us somewhere.

The diversity at our school is a beautiful thing,
as you can see in this photo.
And I'm right in there with them,
loving every second of the crazy ideas they come up with :)
This one was the BEST!

Gonna miss you all like crazy!!
You better not forget me or the art room.
I hope you'll be back for more art classes in your future.
Your three choices as 8th graders are Beginning 2-d or Beginning  3-D.
You can try for Ceramics I,
 but the older kids usually get 1st priority. 

And lastly,
a very special shout out to Lucyyyyyyy Acuna,
who impressed me in so many ways.
An outstanding student,
and a gifted performer,
you will go far.
I will be along for your journey. 

Love to all of you!!!!

Sunday, January 31, 2016


clay, glazes & oxides

We are seeing my beginning clay students first experience at rolling out the perfect slab.
Not so easy without a slab rolling machine like they have at the big schools in the sky,
just a plain old baking rolling pin.
It's hard to get them perfectly even.
The kids have a tendency to get one area too thick and the other too thin.
There is a trick,
 with pieces of wood on either side of the rolling pin that I haven't shown them yet,
 because I want to teach them to use their eyes to check slab thickness.
I don't like teaching my beginners to take the easy way out.
A bit of struggle is a good thing,
Builds character  LOL
Like in the good old days!!

So I don't usually let my kids copy characters 
but this one was so well crafted by senior Tarun Desai,
that I didn't have the heart to tell him to start over.

This is more what I want the students to strive for,
there own designs like senior Casey Yoon & junior Gary Liu.

But it was junior Nathan Lam who really impressed me with his sculptural piece.
Note the subtle texture under the bowl area,
& the tiki men as feet?
Super cool piece Nathan!

Friday, January 29, 2016


wire, hand dyed handspun yarns, various recycled ribbons, yarns and laces 

So many wonderful works to show off from this group.
My extremely talented and motivated 8th graders have set the bar extremely high as you will see.

Let me give you a tease with this first nest by 8th grader Sydney Eng.
Remarkably crafted,
beautifully designed,
and clever as well with her "Happy Times" felt made pillows.

Syd was one of many 8th graders who wanted to come back to art this year,
who signed up for the Beginning 2-d course,
got in,
but then was removed to make way for the seniors 
who procrastinated taking their Fine Arts requirement for graduation till their senior year.
These seniors who didn't even want an art trumped my 
8th graders who might want to be Art Majors.
A revolting situation I say,
life isn't always fair.
So Syd and several other 8th graders were put into my Beginning 3-d class
because it still had space.  
Sadly a couple others were sent to other classes they didn't want.
these 8th graders who got to stay in the 3-D class are doing AMAZING work,
as you will see.

Let's see a couple of them getting started.
First we have Maia Calanoc.
She is the first,
 in the last several years that I've been teaching this assignment,
 to think to alter the 
foundation spokes of her nest.
What a clever girl!

I give them inexpensive re-bar from Home Depot to work with.
It's not easy on the hands,
but it's affordable since we go thru a lot of it.
And it's strong and holds the shape well.

Next is Micah Yim.
Since the re-bar is difficult to work with,
check out he ingenious idea to hold it in place
 and transport it so it doesn't move until he gets it built!

So here we go,
more of the finished nests.
This first one was created by 8th grader Malia Pulido.
One of the things that Malia and a couple others did this year
 was to turn their nests into something else that was recognizable.
They've inspired me so much that I think I will make this a new requirement next year.
There were other ideas as well as you will see future down the post.
I really like when assignments evolve and don't remain static.
So thanks young ones for this great idea.  :)

Malia's idea of a tea cup and tea bag was so very clever.
Plus as  you can see,
so beautifully executed.
Look at those tiny & perfect stitches on the tea label.
Also noticeable was her handspun yarn from the previous Unit (the grey-blue yarn)
Weaving with their hand dyed hand spun was a requirement in this assignment.
Love it Malia!!

And let's take a look at what English teacher extraordinaire,
Mrs. Deliana Park came up with.
She has thought outside the box to create a whole environment to house her nest,
this festive and seasonal wreath.
So much creativity from this group of students.
A much closer look-see
 of the copious amounts of time and effort young Deliana has put into her piece
to impress her teacher and please herself.
And yes,
she even made her pompom chic-a-dee,
paper collaged her eggs,
sewed on her buttons,
the list is long!

Another favorite of mine was this very soft & sweet nest made by 8th grader Elliana Lee.
I adore how delicate it is,
 and how she has gently moved the color from peach to lime greens.
Small but mighty as they say.

 8th grader Iris Lin,
another student with impeccable craftsmanship did this lovely nest above.
The piece of eyelet she has added and the bow along with her pretty needle felted eggs inside,
give this one a very special feel.

The class favorite was this next one by junior Helen Park.
We were all so impressed
 that she thought to turn her nest into a holding area for the planets and stars,
resting on a cloud.
Of course Helen spent hours making all those origami stars that she filled her nest with.
And again, 
check out the perfection in which she is weaving her weft.
I gave the kids a short demo. on needlefelting,
and many of them used it to create goodies for the inside of their nests.

I love, 
that junior Insha Khan thought to incorporate a branch into her very cool elongated nest.
And then to string and dangle beads .

And we don't get thru a Beginning 3-D post without seeing the work of senior Hapshiba Kwon.
Even though Hapshiba doesn't want to believe it,
she is a very special young woman to all of us teachers here at Whitney.
We adore her for so many reasons.
She is a terrific writer,
 a thoughtful designer and fabulous craftswoman,
a good & dear friend to many on our campus,
a qentle leader amongst her peers,
and smart as a whip.
She's such a hard worker,
knows how to manage her time,
which then gives her time to give back to her community thru church functions and organizations here on campus.
You didn't think I knew all that about you ,
did you Hapshiba.  hee hee
I get around, 
and always have my ears open.  LOL
I love you sweet girl,
 always have (since the 7th grade when I met you)
always will.
back to our topic on hand,
 her nest.  
This in large part is a recycle assignment.
All the yarns are leftovers, 
same with the raffia, 
the jute,
 and whatever else the kids can find in my classroom to weave with.
Including newspaper,
as Hapshiba has though to do with.
And just like Hapshiba,
not wanting too much attention (sorry Hapshiba),
but there like a shining star that you have to look closely for,
the tiny seed beads that she has spent hours sewing onto the bottom of her nest.
Didn't think I'd notice this either ,
did you?
ha ha

we are back to 8th grader Maia's nest that we saw her building at the beginning of this post.
Look at the cool movement she got by twisting her spokes.
And then the topper,
those angelic fishes swimming underneath.
What a great idea,
and how pretty Maia!!
Where do these young ones come up with such cool ides??

Frequently inspired by Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas,
is the work of senior Elias Rodriquez.
We've seen many years of work on this blog by Elias,
and as you may have noted,
most of his work is very "dark"
And now that he's a senior and feels very comfortable working with me,
he enjoys interpreting the assignments in ways no one has thought to do before.
For instance, he asked me if I minded that he used more wire then the other kids,
knowing what a tight budget I have to adhere to.
He also asked to have permission to have some of the wire showing,
 and to enclose his piece rather then keeping it open at the top.
Over the years I have learned that it pays off  to be more flexible with the kids when they ask,
it often leads to new ideas and inspiration for projects,
like Elias' piece has done here.
What a cool work his sculpture is,
so that maybe next year we will weave a non-objective form that's enclosed.
Love it!
Here is Elias getting his foundation started,
and then the weaving begins.

A close up of the finished top.

These next two furry nests were woven by close friends and seniors
 Clarissa Gutierrez and Eileen Wang.
Both are so tactile and yummy.
A knitter donated that fun furry yarn for the kids to use.
It's super thin,
so to weave with it 
the kids had to quadruple it to get it thick enough to fill the weft space.
Lots of extra work and effort involved here.
I thought it very clever of Clarissa to use the seed pod to fill her nest with.
Then both girls did sweet needle-felted eggs.

And speaking of yummy,
check out this last one by junior Cheryl-Mae Alvarez Mallabo.
Like all my favorite candy colors mixed together.
Cheryl will spend copious amounts of extra time outside of school perfecting her pieces.
She is super smart and creative,
 and always thinks of original ideas.
In this case,
a jelly fish mounted on reflective water.
This one was also the class favorite!
It is now on display in our Principal's office.
Some close-ups of all her time consuming work.