Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Agrums' Front Yard

My yard continues to evolve as we move into summer. The geraniums are going crazy, and my sweet little begonias have finally established themselves. In a couple of weeks I'll be putting in my marigolds for even more color since my snap dragons are dying out. I just missed catching the blue and purple iris that were blooming last week under the birch tree. But now their cousins the white iris are sending up their blooms. So it's all good.

A close-up of one of my son Zach's bog's that he has growing around the house. This one is called an American Pitcher plant and the stalks just opened up last week to expose their blooms, those gorgeous fluted pitchers. It will continue to grow and bloom all summer long. Notice all the other plant life springing up around them. Little seeds that have found their way into the warm wet environment. On the right is a venus fly trap stalk with it's white blossom as well.

My variegated cannas, by summer they will be taller than me with peachy tangerine blossoms.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Caroline Ma's Prom Dress - Student Art

I'm so excited to share this piece with you. I just found out about it the other day when a couple of kids asked me if I'd seen Caroline's prom dress that she had made. I hadn't so I bugged her and made her promise to bring it by. With great reluctance she did, and I was blown out of the water by it. An amazing frothy creation completely handmade from artist's canvas, newspaper collage and acrylic paint. So here's to you Caroline Ma, who is off to Parson's School of Design in New York City in the fall. I'm going to miss you like crazy! I'm thinking you just picked up a lot of extra credit points :)

A close-up of the dress

Monday, April 27, 2009

Danielle and Tyler

My daughter Danielle, age 14 almost 15 :), has been wanting me to post her and boyfriend Tyler for quite some time now, so here's to you Danie girl. The top photo is Dan and Tyler in our backyard (check out my birds of paradise and my geraniums, everything in the garden is so lush right now) getting ready to go off to the Sadie's dance dressed in my son's old boyscout shirts, and the photo below was taken recently when I took the kids over Easter Break to Newport Beach for the day. It was still pretty chilly there, not quite beach weather yet, but still really enjoyable.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Landscape Design/Mosaic Stepping Stone

My son Zach, age 20, is a Plant Science Major at Cal Poly in Pomona, and this is his second attempt at landscape design in his drafting class. I felt this one turned out really well so I wanted to share it. I can't believe how much he's already learned there. What a great school with a lot of hands-on learning. And even better for me, he actually invites me to accompany him on various outings to all the beautiful gardens in the south land. And then we get to go back home to plant all our purchases. So much fun hanging out with my boy! Just this last Sunday we spent the morning at the Cal State Fullerton Arboritum's Anuual Green Scene which my friend from mosaics class, Janet McGarvey, organized and put on. Lots of exotic plants and fun accessories for the garden at great prices. Below is the mosaic stepping stone that I purchased from glass artist Sue Ferrante, and that my son had to haul around the grounds for me. It probably weights at least 25 pounds. He's such a good boy. :)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Linoleum Print - Alumni Art

Loralei Bingamon created this striking lino print after doing some traveling thru the Philippines several years ago, and gave it to me as a gift. I've matted it and it hangs in my home and I've really enjoyed it over the years. I worked with Loralei in several of my art classes when she attended Whitney and she remains one of my all time favorite students in the 29 years I've been teaching. My third year drawing students are starting this assignment and I wanted them to see this wonderful piece.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Update on my Mosaic Sphere

Almost done! I've only been working on it since September and I'll be the last one done from the class. Only a couple of more months to go :)

A crazy sideways view of the other side.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Before/After Drawings - Student Art

In the drawing portion of my beginning art course, I teach out of Dr. Betty Edwards "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" book and achieve amazing results with my students. I personally was able to take Betty's course when she taught it at CSULB in 1982, and I was shocked at how much my drawing skills improved during the course of her class, and how painless and fun it was. I teach the first half of her book to my beginning students and the second half to my intermediate group. So what you are seeing here in these next few posts are the kid's before instruction drawings of their models on the left, and then mounted to the right are their after instruction drawings done about 2 months later. Depending on how well the student follows directions usually determines how big of a jump they will see at Open House time when I post them side by side for all to view. This first one was done by senior Krystal Rodriguez of 8th grader Kevin Tang. Krystal just won first place in a costume design competition sponsered by CSULB, so congradulations to you woman, you are on your way! Not sure why a couple of these posts have a turquoise tint. Oh well, they kinda look cool like that.

Kristina Le came to me with the strongest drawing skills in the class, and because she works so hard and takes direction so well look at where she is now. Her after drawing of junior Mary Lou Bunn is remarkably realistic and makes her before look pretty weak in comparison. Congrats Kristina for the strongest after in the class. :)

This incredibly realistic after drawing was done by 8th grader Hannah Park of junior Robert Dohring. Hannah came to me with amazing art skills and is one of my top students in the beginning art class. But look where she's at now. Wow, unbelievable, and she's still so young!

This lovely, sensitive after drawing was done by senior Rachel Rilloraza of senior Samantha Bhuiyan. Rachel is drawing so much more realistically now.

This one belongs to junior Andrew Huang and 8th grader David Wang was his model, and as you can see he came to me with some drawing skills already under his belt. But by teaching with Betty Edward's techniques you can improve no matter at what level you began.

I saved the best til last. This is junior Robert Dohring's portrait of 8th grader Hannah Park. I think Robert made the biggest improvement, and it was so exciting when we hung them side by side so he could see for himself. Way to go Robert!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Open House Preview - Student Art

One of my favorite assignments of the year is having my Intermediate and Advanced drawing students hang the walls in my room for Open House Nite. The students are actually graded on how well they do in terms of balancing out the pieces, having an equal distribution between black and white and colored work, having work from each of the 8 classes I teach, and on the craftsmanship and effort involved in putting up a good display. This is such a great learning experience for them and I'm pretty sure they enjoy the process. Senior Caroline Ma and Junior Jullian Kho were partnered together to put up this wall. They are adding some collage elements in the background to fill in their negative spaces. They are also learning to climb ladders. LOL

Senior Kevin Lam is busy finishing up his wall by painting in text in the background spaces. The wall to the left of Kevin's was put up by Senior Steffi Wong. Seniors Brandon Dumais and Tiffany Powell are chilling in the foreground because their walls are done.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Annual Open House Art Show and Sale - Student Art

The room is ready to go with another amazing display of student art for viewing and sale. We have over a 1000 pieces up ready for you to see. Please feel free to drop in at any time during the day from 8 to 3 starting April 20th running thru the first week in May. Open House Nite is on April 22 from 6 to 7:30. Would love for you to come and enjoy what the kids have accomplished this year. So many remarkable pieces. It just gets better every year. And thank you for all your love and support over the years! This piece was done by senior Hannah Chung at the end of last school year when she was in my Beginning 2-d Art class, and was drawn in Elmer's glue and then oil pasteled in after the glue was dry. The students used each other for models and were learning to abstract through exagerationa and distortion. Hannah's model was senior Mindy Cho.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Katherine England - Professional Glass Artist

Maybe you've seen Katherine's mosaic horse earlier this month on my blog. This is a second piece in her Shakespearean series, and my favorite so far. One of the many things I love about this work is that she incorporates 3 different techniques together rather than just doing a straight mosaic piece. So she is using traditional mosaic work along with fused glass and soldering techniques. I teach all 3 of these to my students but Katherine has inspired me to have my students combine them into one piece as well. We started this week learning fused glass basics and my kids full fused work is being fired right now in the kiln. On Monday we will build some partially fused pieces including earthquake houses, then move on to soldering. Can't wait to post all their results!

The next few posts are close-ups of Katherine's piece. Look at these great little fused houses. So whimsical.

It looks as if Katherine is melting her mosaic glass shards. See how rounded all the edges are. It really gives the glass pieces a very cool look.

Your soldered glass piece can be any shape you want it to be. I've never seen that before. I've only seen squares and rectangles.

A close-up of the 3 techniques: soldered glass piece, fused glass, and mosaic work.

Another close-up. Fabulous work Katherine :) thank you for allowing me to photograph your work to teach and inspire my students with. And a very special thank you for allowing me to share your sketchbook with them this last week. They were enthralled and several told me they can't wait to start one of their own!

Alumni Visits

It's so much fun to catch up with students who have graduated. I love when they come by to say hi. Some of these kids spent 6 years with me in various art classes and it's really hard to say goodbye at the end of their senior year. I've watched them grow from squirrely or shy 7th graders to remarkable young men and women. Here are a few shots of a couple of my all time favorite kids. Bea Uyan (on right) was like a daughter to me and started in my 7th grade crafts class and worked her way up thru 4th level crafts as well as taking a beginning drawing/painting class. Bea attends UC San Diego along with her good friend here (on left) Sujin Nam who I had for a beginning clay class. Sujin like Bea was an amazing student. Looking good ladies :) So sorry I didn't have more time to visit with you Bea, I was so busy the day you came by.

Spencer Sim who started with me in the 7th grade and did 3 years of drawing and painting as well as a year being my Art Technician, and his good lfriend Gloria Kim. Both Spencer and Gloria are at UC San Diego. Love and miss you Spencer!

From left to right: Jessie Tung, Janice Tsao who spent 4 years with me in drawing and painting and is an art major at UC Davis, Grace Song and Sharon Chen who had 3 years of drawing and painting. So good to see you guys!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Bottom of the Barrel

Eureka! We finally reached the bottom of the clay barrel. This is the first time in 29 years of teaching ceramics that I've ever seen the bottom of this thing, so of course I had to take a photo and share with all of you :) Just goes to show you that the ceramics kids would rather recycle this year, digging and wedging their own clay than spend $6.00 and buy a 25 pound bag of pristine clay from me. Ya never know!

Irina Charney at Trios Gallery - Professional Artist

Two weekends ago on a glorious spring day my son and I set off for Solana Beach down San Diego way. My mission was to met Irina Charney and to see her amazing mosaic works in person at Trios Gallery where they were being showcased. This is an example of one of the many pieces she had on display there. I understand she lives nearby to us in Irvine, Ca. so I hope to one day visit her studio.

A close-up of one of Irina's pieces. Look at her amazing craftsmanship. Everything is so precisely laid out, and she uses a variety of glasses in her works which creates a little more dimension on her surfaces.

On our way home my son spotted a cacti and succulent nursery, so all of a sudden this boring trip with his mother was starting to look up. He is a plant science major (2nd year) at Cal Poly Pomona and he collects these plants so he was very excited to find a new nursery to browse thru. This one is called Solana Succulents and it's right on the coast highway running thru town on the beach side. It was a gorgeous day, not too hot or cold and we spent a good hour there looking at all the specimens. Of course we had to buy a few to take home with us :)

Here is my son Zach amongst all the cacti and succulents. He one day hopes to open his own nursery with orchids, carnivorous plants and cacti/succulents. I would love to be able to help him to make that dream come true, and maybe work there part time in my retirement. He is already starting to propagate his own plants and he's having a lot of luck with it.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Interactive Clay Sculptures - Student Art

Probably the most exciting pieces done in clay this year by my beginning ceramics students are these interactive clay sculptures. They are unbelievable in their complexity. The critical thinking that went into the planning of the designs was crucial to the pieces outcome. They had to move in some way for the final glaze grade. It could be by way of a lidded container, a hinged box, a mobile, or a fan that opened and closed such as the piece below that belongs to senior Cynthia Tsai. They also had to make extra bead and button embellishments out of clay to be strung after the gaze firing. They were also encouraged to use additional embellishments such as wire, twigs, regular beads and buttons, anything that would flow visually with their glaze colors. Cynthia went all out on her piece and it's breathtaking in person. A real show stopper.

This magnificent piece belongs to senior Caroline Ma. Love the fish scales and the waves and how they are made in both clay and in wire. Then look how she took extra time and trouble to mount the piece. She is such a pleasure to work with. She has decided to go back east to school. Parsons in New York has offered her a very nice sized scholarship based on her amazing portfolio. Way to go Caroline. I'm gonna miss you so much!!

These were two of my favorites. On the left is junior Steven Ebalobor, and the one on the right belongs to senior Eaning Woo. Steven's piece is a lidded container and Eaning's interactive part is that one arm moves on a hinge. Clever pieces you two!

This piece belongs to senior Rikaya Obilo. It's a deflating hot air balloon that's being held in the palm of a hand. At the left end is a hinged trap door that is open in the pix. This is such a cool piece in person. Very sculptural and well thought out.

Everyone loved this piece as junior Wayne Chen was building it. And it got even more wonderful after he glazed it and added the wire strings.

Isn't this a gorgeous piece! It belongs to senior Karleigh Mercado, and the interactive part is that the poncho can be pulled off and then back on again.

Love how junior Lihan Woo designed his so that it reads as an abstracted face. And then used many great embellishments to pull it all together. Brilliant work Lihan!

Senior Milly Shah's solution to this interactive problem was to make wind chimes. They have the most lovely sound and I really liked how she stained the top piece.

This is senior Esther Park's lidded container. The top most petal is hinged onto the main base of the flower. It's a large piece and one of the most difficult constructions of the entire bunch, so congrats Esther on pulling this puppy off!

A close-up of Esther's piece. Look at how she has incorporated wire after the glaze firing. The nails went in at the time she was building the piece and went through all the firings which blackened them a little and gave them a bit of a mottled appearance.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Michelle Petersen Palmer - Crochet Vest

My cousin Michelle sent me this great photo of her daughter Grace Elena wearing one of her newest creations. For Xmas I gave Michelle several skeins of this lovely fiber thinking she might enjoy whipping something up for Grace. Lucky her, Grace will still wear her creations! Not so with my 14 year old. Anyways, Michelle came up with this vest design that she just kind of worked out as she went along. And I couldn't resist sharing this cute picture of Gracie wearing it. Isn't she a doll?

Friday, April 3, 2009

Wood Working Exercise - Student Art

The kids (especially my young 7th grade boys) really enjoyed this exercise in drilling, sawing, sanding, staining, and surface embellishment on top of wooden blocks and dowels. We ran out of time to take the exercise any further (my fault, I goofed up on time allotment for another assignment). Usually after we do the basic exercises we turn these blocks and dowels into flying angels that are suspended from walls and ceilings at Open House time. I know the students were disappointed that we didn't get to carry that thru. Sorry guys! These are their finished trails. After they practiced sawing, drilling, sanding and staining the wood, I had them do further embellishments with collaging tissue paper and text from magazines, then re-staining over parts of that to see the different results they could achieve.

Here is one of my more talented designers senior Connie Pae drilling for the first time. She's using her hoodie to keep her hair from getting caught in the drill bit.

Here are seniors Shabina Toorawa and Emily Choh getting ready to drill into their blocks of wood and saw through their dowels. Looking good ladies!