Thursday, July 19, 2018


Picked these gorgeous California Natives along the side of our mountain roads
early this summer,
and have been trying to identify them all with a little pamphlet I picked up called
Native Plants of the San Bernardino Mountains.
After they expired,
 I threw them into a special corner of the cabin yard 
hoping they had some seeds to share for next year.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018


Celebrated my baby's 24th birthday recently.
Happy Birthday sweetheart!
I'm so proud of the young woman you are,
and am thrilled that you've found happiness and love.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018


my dear faculty and staff until late August.
I kind of thought this was going to be my last year,
but it didn't work out that way.
I've completely fallen in love with the Junior Class who will be seniors next year,
and I want to stay to teach them about art and life.

We are loosing many of the great ones this year at Whitney.
Contracts weren't renewed, 
transfers were asked for or made, and others are retiring.
It's been quite a roller-coaster around here.

And I've been so busy with Finals, cleaning out my classroom and grading
that I've been neglecting my blog.
So hopefully I will be back real soon to finish up the 2017-2018 school year.
See ya soon.

Thursday, June 7, 2018



I have had the good fortune to teach with the most incredibly talented Drama teacher 
here at Whitney High,
Jodi Improta.
She came to Whitney in the mid 1980's,
 and like me,
 has been a fixture ever since.
She also heads up our ASB students.
I have also been blessed to have seen her two children born and practically raised here on campus,
Aric (29) and Ariel (27).
Ariel took at last 2 of my art classes here at Whitney and continues to be one of my favorites.
 Her degree is in Fashion Merchandising,
and she is also a dance choreographer and Zumba instructor.
She is hoping to one day be a teacher like her mom. 

But it's her son Aric (29) that I want to showcase today.
He has been playing the drums since he was a little kid,
and is currently drumming for 3 different bands,
and tours around the world with one called Night Verses.
He is a celebrated drummer in his field,
practicing his craft for at least 6-9 hours a day.
You can find several of his video performances on FB.

But for me it's always been his drawings that have pulled me in.
About 10 years ago his mom gave me a copy of one of his sketchbooks 
to teach my students with during my Zentangle Unit,
and I was blown away with his designs.
Since then he has started drawing these designs on his drum heads
 and manufacturers in the music industry have taken notice.
Now he works for two of them putting his designs on not only drum heads but on cymbals as well.

Aric’s drum-set with his original designs on the cymbals and the drum heads

His drum set up at his last performance.

We are all so very proud of him here at Whitney and I wanted to share his artistic vision
that has become a reality.
Congrats Aric!! 

Wednesday, June 6, 2018


oil pastels on black construction paper

It always flabbergasts me the level of sophistication that the 7th graders bring to my class.
Like in this oil pastel preliminary by Alia Cortez.
Just breathtaking!

And in this one as well by Emily Ahn.
She is using the pastels in 3 different ways all in one piece for a beautiful composition.

And check out the brilliant use of color and value in this one by Alanna Chan.

Shaniya Gentry went for a bit of extra credit
by using a pencil lead over the oil pastel to add a whole other layer of movement, texture and pattern.

Sunday, June 3, 2018


says Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams.
I say,
"If you are patient,
it will bloom".
I have patiently waited for this Bearded Iris to bloom for 5 years now.
What's funny is I had completely forgotten what color it was supposed to be.
I bought a small piece of this one at a garden fair years ago.
It has multiplied into 4 other pieces,
one a year until finally the original one bloomed this week.

Friday, June 1, 2018


Junior Kiana Sanchez and 8th grader Madison Plotkin recently teamed up 
to write and illustrate a children's book together. 
I feel this post would be more meaningful in their own words,
so I'm letting them write it together.

I, Kiana, had chosen the idea to publish my research on Adolescent Athletes Self Confidence, because playing sports, for me, has been such a roller-coaster of emotions with my self esteem. Once I was published in a Scholarly Journal, I knew I wanted to spread this message, so that teenagers and their parents can learn how to work together to ensure healthy mindsets. To further the understanding of it, I decided to create a children's book. I knew right away that Madison, a super eager artist in my class, would be the one to do the illustrations. Because I know how beautiful her work is, I wanted to give her lots of freedom with this project! Her kind spirit and talent had made me all the more excited for this project. 

I, Madison, had so much fun doing the illustrations for this children's book!  I felt so honored when Kiana asked me to do them, it was a dream come true!  The wonderful and captivating story that she wrote included a lot of action between the characters, with it centralizing around basketball, so I really wanted to capture the movement in each illustration.  With each character being so unique, coming from a different background and culture, I wanted to give each character their own individual page that was vibrant and matched their personalities.  This overall has been such a great experience and I truly appreciate Kiana for asking me to work with her!!!

Madison here!  I think that this one is the illustration that I most enjoyed doing.  I loved how Kiana gave each character a little background information that gives you a sneak peak into their life.  With this one, one of the characters, Sharon, has a really tight bond with her grandmother, Nai Nai Kim.  I pictured that the two would have a lot of fun baking together so I decided for them to be doing just that for this particular illustration.  I also wanted each character to have a pet that you could see interact and have their own little adventure throughout the book.  I thought a guinea pig would be quite fitting for Sharon.   

I, Kiana, am a basketball player for my school's varsity team, so I knew that it was the main sport I wanted to cover in this book. I think Madison perfectly showed the movement of the player as she is dribbling to the hoop to score. Not to mention, the annoyed face on the character under the basketball hoop is exactly how I imagined it. Her illustrations all include so much color and really make the scene lively. I also enjoy all the small details she adds to every piece. This one will be my favorite illustration from the book!

I'm so thrilled to be able to share this remarkable book with it's illustrations.
I can't wait to see it in it's finished form, 
and hope to get it autographed by it's creators.
Know Kiana and Madison that I'm so proud of the both of you,
and thank you for sharing and giving ll of us a preview.
Junior Kiana & 8th grader Madison

Thursday, May 31, 2018


I didn't see him at first, 
sitting on the piece of wood in the middle of Josh Berger's Succulent Garden here at school,
but it looks as though the garden has it's first resident and he's made it his home.
Do you see him?

He's sitting sunning himself right in the middle of the photo below.
I think he needs a name.
Any suggestions?

Wednesday, May 30, 2018


old jewelry boxes, tissue paper, stamp pads, rubber stamps, craft wire, pliers w/ wire cutters

Oh boy, 
we have so many beauties it was hard to stop photographing for this post.
What you are seeing are three assignments in one,
collageing the outside of a jewelry box, 
learning 7 different surface design patterns & putting at least 2 together on tissue, 
and making a wire pendant with a personal treasure.
The kids seem to love this
 because we are entering the world of 3-D and craftiness after all the drawing exercises.

I want to start with Eva Matentsian because I felt her box was really eye catching
with her keyhole design rather then just random patterning.

And this one by Serena Lee was simply gorgeous!
I adored her layering of leaf shapes on the lid.

And Alanna Chan made great use of the recycled Vans tissue.
I love how she turned the word all different ways.
Feels a bit like looking into a kaleidoscope.
We are also seeing her stamped tissue done in a Drop Stack pattern.

Emily Ahn has chosen the prettiest color scheme to work in.
And by throwing in a bit of black & white it really makes the design pop more.
And check out her softly patterned tissue as well.

Sai Samatham brought in a lovely rhinestone piece of jewelry that his mother gave him to use.
And he wrapped it so perfectly to show off all the stones.
He even flanged the bale to give it a softer look.

Shaniya Gentry had so much fun picking out all kinds of text for her lid.
And take a peek at the two keys she wire wrapped together for her pendant below.

Monday, May 28, 2018


I got real lucky this year and had a double Mother's Day with my kiddos.
On the actual day my girlie took me out to brunch and shopping in the Orange Circle District.
It's one of the oldest communities in Orange County
 filled with cute eateries, boutiques and antique stores.
It's also a thriving college town filled with young people.
It's home to Chapman University,
a prestigious private college here 
where several of our Alumni have graduated from or are currently attending.
Right Shreya Sheth!  

Then last weekend both the kids were able to hang out and take me to brunch
at a very cool place for hipsters called Bosscat Kitchen and Libations in Newport Beach.
It was pretty much out of my comfort zone,
loud and trendy,
but my children loved it.
From there it was off to Rogers Gardens in Newport,
my all time favorite Nursery.
Because it's Spring,
the flowers were amazing as you can see.
And there was a Rose competition going on where we could vote for our favorites.

Mine were the Ketchup and Mustard Rose above and the Yellow Tea Rose below.
My son was able to stay into the evening and helped me plant all the lovelies we bought.
Thank you Dani and Zach for making Mother's Day so very special for me!
I love you both with all my heart.

Friday, May 25, 2018


Recently I've been trying to duplicate a glaze that is no longer being manufactured,
that all my students and myself loved to use.
It was a transparent blue-green.
I pretty much failed what I was going for on this first attempt,
but the kids loved what I came up with,
so I stopped messing with it.
Have I given up?
it's way too much fun!
The students wanted to name it so we turned it into a contest.
It  was a close race between the name Blueberry that junior Sara Ryave submitted,
Moonlit Pond on a Tuesday Nite (December 27, 1932) by junior Eugene Ho. 

Here is the winner after the kids voted,
Sara holding the prize,
the pot I made and experimented on.
Congrats Sara!

Thursday, May 24, 2018


embroidery hoops, felt, perle' cottons, crewel or embroidery needles

Well I hope you enjoyed the Hoop Embroideries from yesterday's post.
There were so many outstanding pieces
 that it was just too hard for me to pick only a few to showcase.
So let's take a look-see at the others I have picked for you.

We start Part 2 with junior Angelica Luza
and her fish & bones.
Everyone loved her quirky subject matter as well as her lovely stitching.
The chain stitch makes for a really swell filler stitch.
If you recognize Angelica's name 
it's because she has also been showcased this year 
for her pieces in the Intermediate 2-D art class.
A talented young woman.

This next one was crafted by junior Dustine Ansiboy.
It was so clever of her to make the braid separate from the felt,
this way you could make the young woman a completely different do.if you wanted to.
An interactive piece. year?

And vivacious little 8th grader Annie Nguyen created this delightful piece
with the title "Art 2017".
So very sweet Annie!

And oh my, 
what do we have here?
Complex thinker and 8th grader Sophia Oporto embroidered almost an entire piano!
What a hard worker this young one is to pull off something so difficult!!

And check out the gorgeous design and craftsmanship in this next one by senior Sophie Yang.
Everything is so delicately and perfectly placed and executed.

8th grader Kira Curry always comes up with highly unique ideas.
When I look at this I see a young girl looking into a bowl and out floats some scary eyeball.
But when I double-checked with her today, 
she told me it's a  mermaid holding a dolphin with a jelly fish floating nearby.
Wow, completely different interpretations.
She spent a lot of extra time putting in all those French Knots and Satin stitches.

I wish I had a better pix of this next one.
We all loved how the balloon strings trailed off the edge of the hoop.
And the craftsmanship that 8th grader Shivani Kedila displayed was impeccable.

But like I always have a tendency to do, 
I try to save the very best for last.
And as much as I loved all the others,
it was this one that called to me the most by junior Rachel Tibayan.
I think it's because reminds me of a bygone era,
it transports me to a time 
when women used to sell their wooden baskets full of flowers on the streets, 
and probably still do in some European countries.
It just really spoke to me.

I hope you all have enjoyed seeing these beginners put their needles into work.
It's so satisfying for me to know that I've shared with them a life skill.