Monday, June 30, 2014


tempera, pen & ink, and graphite on canvas

My sincere apologies to junior Elias Rodriguez for accidentally leaving this very important work from my May 27th post on Beginners learning to work Realistically in Tempera.
This is such a cool and unique piece.
First of all Elias asked if he could work on canvas rather then bristol paper, and work larger as well.
I can always count on Elias to do something completely out of the box so I was excited to see what he had in mind.
Instead of doing the whole piece in tempera, as the other students did, he mixed his media and incorporated the graphite house and the pen and ink zentangle with his flower that he painted in tempera.
I also really like how he controlled his color scheme, working in a neutral palette until he painted the flower.
Brilliant work Elias, it really shows off your artist gifts!
You will go far!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

It's All About the Mounting

craft wire on bristol paper and matt board

I have to be completely honest, the kids hate this assignment, every year we've done it they let me know how much they hate it.  LOL
But I feel it's a really good experience for them.
And I think some things should be a bit more challenging, and working with wire is. 
I had them do a small preliminary piece first, this year we did tiny birds (I'll try to find the photos I took and post them).
They turned out fairly well, some were very realistic, some were whimsical.
So the kids went in with a pretty positive mind set.

I have the students bring in a photo that hopefully has some expressive qualities to it.
I make them trace the face and features with pencil, just to get the feel of it.
Then I bring out the wire and have them start on the easiest parts first.
This is where the kids start to crumble, and start to complain.
And this is where i keep pushing them forward.
I ask them to pull out some of the features so the face has a bit more bas-relief feel to it (hard to tell in the photos).

I feel like senior Jinnie Choi nailed the assignment above.
What I also really like that she added  background color when she mounted it.
And yes, they were also required to mount and sign the pieces.

8th grader Annie Lin also did a really nice job with this project.
Her subject was rocker Amy Whitehouse and I think she did a really great job on the eyes.
I also like the musical butterflies she added as embellishment.

I thought senior Jasmine Lim did a terrific job as well.
She really paid attention to all the little details which make for a very pleasing piece.
The mounting is very cool too, how the hair extends into the border area.

The kids got to chose from 3 differnt metals to work in, gold, copper and silver.
It's a fairly expensive assignment and the kids are pretty wasteful, but I still think it's so worth the experience.
(all the wasted, used wires are recycled in other projects)
Love, love, love how junior Kaili Hamada mounted her work above.
It really makes her piece stand out from the others.

And this one above is a different take on the assignment as well.  
Senior Dhruvi Chauhan chose to do a profile.  
All the others chose frontals or 3/4 views.
That also makes her work pop from the others as does the use of the decorative scissors on the white mounting paper.

One of my favorites was done by senior Megan Yeu.
She was one of the few kids that actually enjoyed the assignment.
Perhaps because she is also a 2-D students and is comfortable working with portraiture.
Whatever it was, her's is really outstanding and very creative in her mount too.

And this last one was so unique by junior Payal Morari, bringing in text, white pencil and tape.
Clever girl, clever piece!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Working Larger then Life

clay, oxides and glaze

Because this is a second year class and we do a semester of handbuilding, I like to revisit coil structures.
I also feel it's very important for my students to explore the human form.
So I give the kids a choice of working Realistically or a bit more Abstractly.
I think most of the kids go for Realism at first but end up abstracting a bit more as they reach the top.
Another choice is do you leave the coils showing or do you smooth them out.
Here in this first work senior Shamara Mustafa is smoothing out the outside but choosing to leave the coils showing on the inside.
I feel she's done a tremendous job building out the pelvis bones as well as pushing the clay to it's limit in the rear.
When handbuilding with coils that's very difficult to do those bulbous curves and not have them collapse on you.
I especially love how she finished the piece off by decorating with ceramic oxide pencils, then transparent glaze over top to show off that work.

Next we have senior Carol Oh's powerful figure sculpture.
She creates quite a statement thru her emaciated curves and angles.
Sadly the left breast blew off during firing, but Carol was able to retrieve most of the shards and glue them black together.
That sometimes happens when you are applying clay over clay and there is a slight air pocket.

Like I said, a very powerful sad statement.

Senior Tahnee Thanthrong's figure was the largest and most heavy to carry from place to place.
And Tahnee was the most small and delicate of the kids building these humongous pieces.
I was so very impressed with the scale she chose to work in, and how she never asked for help as she had to walk it back and forth to her work station.
A strong woman!
Tahnee was another whose breast blew off in the kiln, but she was also able to save the piece.
I feel she has really captured a strength thru this massive male body.
She stained her work with red iron oxide then poured Transparent glaze over the outside and our Chili glaze over the inside.

Senior Aditi Ramesh took a very unique approach to building and altering the upper body.
Love, love , love the plunging back!
 I think for the kids one of the hardest things to do are female breasts, especially if you are striving for realism.
I felt like Aditi nailed them.
Aditi has used our Tan glaze on the outside with Chili on the inside.

James Cho, senior, chose to cover his piece with multiple glazes for a really cool look.

And senior Aman Patel used the ceramic pencils to draw on his flying birds under the Transparent glaze.
I think it's really neat how the birds actually appear to be flying.
I was also especially impressed with his development of the collar bones.
Love the side view as well with the gentle curve of the spine as it goes down into the upper buttock.  Makes me want to run my hand down the length of the piece.
Looks like he used our black glaze on the inside.

A big thank you to junior Karisma Dev for allowing us to use her amazing Saori woven piece as a backdrop for the photography.

And lastly, here are the torsos coming back to school in my Mini Cooper from the District Art Show.
Couldn't resist taking a pix  :)

Friday, June 27, 2014

Slice Em' and Dice Em'

oil and water-based pastel, poster and matt board

These are 3 extraordinary pieces I will show off today by 3 of my top award winning senior artists this year.

The assignment was to find an interesting frontal subject, enlarge it with pastel and fracture the piece in some way, then to mount it on poster/matt board.
Each of these solutions are unique and well thought out.
And the drawing and pastel techniques, superb!

I will begin with Jasmine Zhao.
First of all her subject was beautiful with intense penetrating eyes.
Jasmine worked in water pastels and chose to fracture with a piece of filigree cut poster board.
And yes, she cut out all those tiny fine lines herself with extreme patience.
Out of all the hundreds of pieces we had up in the room at Open House, this work received the most awe inspiring attention.
You didn't know that did you Jasmine  :)

In this next work by senior Anne Allan, she also worked in the water pastels using a couple different techniques as you will see in the close-ups.
She chose to fracture by simply using 3 different portraits that she felt complimented each other when she overlapped them.
Very clever how she set them at an angle.
I wish I had a close-up of the dimensional butterfly at the top with eyes.
Such a cool touch!
Notice in these two close-ups that she is touching the paper with the tip of her pastels in different ways.  
In the top piece it's a precise shorter stroke, almost pointillist in some places, while in the one below she is using longer, curved strokes that are not as tight as in the face above.
That's the beauty of Anne, extremely versatile.

And lastly senior Cathy Luo blows us away with this thought provoking piece in which she includes a bit of text.
Besides being a tremendous design effort, Cathy has also chosen to use both the oil and water-based pastels in this fracture.  
Can you tell the difference?
Usually the oil pastels tend to be more dynamic and intensely bright and dimensional.
The water have a much softer look.

I am so proud of these students.
They worked so very hard for me the entire year, always giving me everything they had.
Thanks you guys!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Feeling Free to be Non-Objective

oil based printing ink on various papers

Monoprinting is a super fun assignment which gives the kids a new freedom to explore abstract and non-objective drawing in a printmaking medium.
I cover traced, reductive, additive and silhouette techniques plus we pick up all those ghosts left behind on the plate. 
Fullerton base mixed media artist Mary Zarbano turned me onto monoprinting when she visited my school in the 1980's to give a demonstration to my drawing/painting kids.
She brought so much joy into each of her pieces and worked so spontaneously that I knew my students would love the process.
It's been in my curriculum ever since.

Both seniors, Megan Yeu and Jarick Simbol, really got into the process.
In fact, they made so many prints so quickly that we had to string a line in the kiln room to dry them out (below).
Above are all eleven prints that each one of them had to turn in.
Megan's are the top ones and Jarick's the two bottom lines.

Above is Megan's traced traced print, and below are two of her silhouettes.

Below are Jarick's traced and ghost of traced.

I'm so glad both of these young ones got to experience this medium before they graduated.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Let's See What Those 7th Graders Are Up To

oil pastel and pencil on black construction paper

Cutie patootie Sahana Ramesh gives us this vibrant piece with wonderful zentangling going on in the background.

Cat woman Emma Canteno does not disappoint as she manages to put her signature kitten in her piece.
And what a lovely landscape she's got going on.

Another talent in the class is Liam Abalos.
His pastel really stood out as well.
I really like how he thought to fracture his sphere.

Ananya had a great 8 weeks in the class and created many lovely works such as the one above.

And Queena Hoang has come up with this highly unique background color that really sets her piece apart
Great job young ones!!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Scratch It!

scratchboard paper, nibs, watercolor

Once again the kids outdid themselves with this assignment.
If you've never used it before, it's a poster board coated with black ink.
You use two different shaped nibs to scratch off the ink to get to the white paper.
Then I have the students bring in watercolor to make it really pop.
For extra credit they can matt it up.
Senior Anne Allan did just that in her piece above.
It's magnificent Anne!

Senior Justin Hwang drew this beautiful bird, then bordered it with gold paper to give it a really dimensional effect.

This gorgeous work above was created by senior Jasmine Zhao.
And love how she matted it up.
Her craftsmanship was impeccable.

And we end with senior Cathy Luo's exceptional lion.
Wow!  Incredible work Cathy!
These kids really knocked this assignment out of the park, and make my job a joy!

Friday, June 20, 2014

A Bug's Life

paper mache', paper collage, acrylic paint & misc. embellishments

I haven't taught paper mache in a couple of years so I thought I's bring it back.  
We didn't have a lot of time left in the school year so I scaled down the assignment to miniature pieces.
So what you are seeing on your screen are probably about the actual size of the finished pieces.
I also asked the kids to simplify whenever they could, again to reduce the amount of days it would take to finish on time.
The results were adorable, I hope you like them.

This first one was made by senior Jasmine Lim and it had so much personality, right?

Next is senior Ema Shah.
Love how she's using two different paper collage patterns for wings and body.

This next one cracks me up.
It was done by junior Bianca Tolentino.

And just look at 8th grader Cassidy Chansirik go on her Father's Day gift to her dad.
the fish is paper mache' and the fisherman is made from Polymer clay.

And speaking of 8th grade superstars, here's my other one, Annie Lin.
Her snail was so beautifully crafted.
Love her paper collage design on the shell.

Junior Katy Uchiyama found gorgeous peacock feathers to embellish her bird with.
This one was a class favorite. 

And this sweet little chick was done by senior Jinnie Choi.
Again, so much personality!.

And we end with this adorable puffer fish by senior Alyssa Wakamiya.
Too cute!!