Tuesday, June 30, 2015


scratchboard & watercolor

My boys took to scratchboard like ducks to water.
Scratchboard is posterboard thickness with a black coating over top.
Two different shaped nibs are used to scratch away the black to get to the whiteboard underneath.
Then watercolors are applied into the white areas.
But good quality scratchboard is hard to find.
My source here in the Southland is Westminister Art Supply Warehouse.
But it's expensive so be warned.

Senior Nathan Chong drew this beauty in it seemed like just a couple of minutes.
It was one of my favorite pieces of his all year.
And this was only his practice piece!!!

Know that these practice pieces are tiny,
only about 2" by 2" or so.
They have to be because of the expense.

Senior Jovani Garcia did this landscape with the fisherman.

Junior Jonathan Hsu drew this very expressive bird.

And we end with senor Michael Cantu with this magical landscape.

I'm looking forward to sharing the larger after pieces.
They are incredible!


tye-dyed fabric, perle cottons, misc. papers & embellishments

These journals had their start at the beginning of the school year 
when the kid did their tye-dye unit.
After they did several samples on white paper towel to practice different techniques and colorways,
I gave them each two pieces of washed 100% white cotton fabric squares.
(I scavenge old sheets at garage and estate sales)
and away they go!
Then we do a stitching and embroidery unit in which they learn to sew.
And finally we put these puppies together into a journal form.

One of my new favorites this year
(I might have mentioned this before)
is junior Josh Bok
He surprised and pleased me with his text
on this clever journal.
And notice the cardboard thread keepers he even stitched on
Makes my heart so happy!!!!!!!

Senior Sunny Kim completely filled her journal with delightful whimsy 
on both the front and back covers.
Sunny was one of my top art students both this as well as last year.
I will miss her greatly.

And up and comer sophomore Shreya Sheth pushes boundaries 
once again with her thought filled message.
She has also chosen to embellish with a variety of fabrics and goodies
 that she finds around the room.

And we finish with junior William Kim,
a true patriot.
William was another student whose work stood out this year, 
and I'm a lucky woman to be able to say that he will be back next year.

And thank you William for your heartfelt letter you wrote me at school's end.
It's a keeper that will be the first one I put into that gorgeous natural journal you gave me.
I've decided that your gift will house all the beautifully written notes and letters 
I have kept over the years.
One of my first projects for when I retire.  :)
Thank you!

Sunday, June 28, 2015


clay, glass shards and glaze

Probably one of the favorite assignments of the year 
are these Carved Glass Plaques done by my beginners.
They are quite a treat for the eye!

This first one was made by senior Nikita Govind,
and I'm thinking she was already dreaming of summer vacation.  :)

I really like how senior Arun Ramakrishnan combined both glaze and the melted glass shards 
for his super hero piece.
 I felt it was one of his best works this year. 
Great design Arun!!!

Senior Payal Morari was the only one who thought to fracture her design...

and senior Ankita Batra brings us stunning color combined with black glaze on her bird.
Filling all those tiny craters with glass shards took a lot of patience which Ankita has.

And junior Sitara Puliyanda cleverly hides her first name in her piece amongst the leaves.
She also has thought to move the green from light to dark...
giving a dimensional effect.

Impeccable craftsmanship and lovely designs
are the hallmark of all of junor Christine Kim's works,
like the rose above.

And let us end with senior Laarnie Barcelon's highly remarkable piece here.
Besides carving areas away for her glass shards to melt into, 
she has also sculpted in bas relief her cat woman face.
She has brought in a bit of nail polish to achieve her reds.
Finding a red glaze in cone 5 is pretty difficult.
A little bit easier at cone 10.
So seniors...
take a ceramics class when you get to college so you can fire at cone 10.
It's the best!!!!
They've got the money, the kilns and the glazes  :)

Saturday, June 27, 2015


A recycled garden table finds a new home on the side of my studio.
Bernice Lin aka Ginger Ko,
note the pot of purple tulips your mother gave me at Open House their on the right??
One of the critters up here last night was pawing thru the pot and rearranged the soil a bit.
Luckily the tulip bulbs are still buried deep.

I planted this Clematis (I think that's it name)
 last fall and it made it thru the winter to bloom this spring.
What a cool looking flower it has!

Friday, June 26, 2015


clay, oxides & wood mount

These abstract clay figures are the first project that I have my beginners start with in September,
 but for some reason they never got posted.
Sorry about that you guys.
I give the students one small piece of clay
 and they have to push, pull and stretch the clay into figures.
No adding arms or legs allowed.
It's a fun challenge for them,
 and it's OK if they look a little bit deformed since I encourage abstraction.

It's been so long since these were completed
 that I can't remember if senior Laarnie Barcelon's broke
or if she intentionally made it in two pieces.
I like the added nails and the pierced holes.
And of course her mounting it for extra credit made it made it even more interesting.  

 Two of the class favorites were seniors Nikita Govind and Poonam Bhakta.
Both were highly expressive.

And very talented 8th grader Lindsey Chang created the two below.
I use these figures for their first glaze assignment so the can learn to stain with the oxides.
Most of them either pick red iron or cobalt.
Because Lindsey made an extra one she later went back and glazed it.
I really like that she thought to string beads around the neck of the one
 so that we were able to hang it 
for display at Open House.

There was one more by senior Payal Morari that was my personal favorite but I can't seem to find the pix.
But I will eventually
 and then I'll put it in Payal  :)

Thursday, June 25, 2015


from  I'm Going To Texas blog fame 
for her beautifully thought out and written comments 
that she sends to my students and I on a daily basis.
I'm so glad you found us Liz,
and even though I've never met you, 
I feel that we will be forever connected thru teaching and stitch.

Thank you so much for taking the time to send us your thoughts
on the work my students and I are doing.
It means so much to both them and myself,
and they often come into my room with a big smile on their faces 
telling me that Liz has commented on their work.
You are the best.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015


I'm falling in love with working with nature's landscaping materials.
I take the dog for her walk in the morning up to the top of our mountain,
and collect rocks and interesting pieces of wood as we go.
I pile them together at the side of the road...
and then later go back and pick them up in the jeep.

I found these amazing vintage wood chairs at a store in Sky Forest called Cabin Fever.
They were $50 bucks each but I talked the store owner into $50 for the pair.
What I've found up in Crestline is that the merchants are willing to deal.

There was this area up above our cabin where nothing was growing 
and it seemed the perfect spot to build a sitting area under the big pines
(and telephone poles & wires)

So I leveled it out and carved a kidney shaped area to place the chairs.
Then I had to unload that jeep and gently toss the rocks to the sitting area so I could place them.
A great calorie burning day!!

So are you wondering what my old man was up to?
Taking pix of course  :)
he's just had back surgery so he is not allowed to do any hard physical labor.
Lucky guy! 
I'm up to my knees in mud.

So here's the finished area.
Two weekends ago I found the perfect wood table to set between the chairs
(not pictured)

But oops!!!!
I forgot to document the building of  the pathway that leads from my art studio up to this sitting area.

This winter my son brought up his girlfriend and we tackled this path together,
from the collecting of the rocks and wood,
to the laying out of the design edge with the rocks.
We set the stepping stones and then spread the pea gravel.
It took the three of us the entire day,
and was a labor of love.
Thank you Zach and Nicole!!

But then hold the phone,
I just found out I made the cut for the Mountain Art Network's Annual Artist's Studio Tour
in September,
and the public has to have access to your studio from the street.
So off with the jeep I go for another load.
My neighbor Chris felt sorry for me,
 and helped me gather these big boulders you see here.
I'm just moving them into place.
Cutting in the stairs.

Pounding into place the treated wood ties with 12 inch nails,
the hammer may have nailed me a few times for a ginormously swollen black and blue hand,
and a broken bone in one of my fingers.
But I just kept on trucking.
I'm a woman on a mission 
who would rather me doing physical labor then working out in a gym.

So here's a shot of the whole nine yards.
The gal from the Mountain Arts Network came the next week for an inspection of our property,
and the word she used to describe the whole ball of wax,
including the exterior and interior of the studio was 
My work is done!
Now on the to patching and slurrying of the driveway.

Monday, June 22, 2015


watercolor with a bit of pen & ink

makes me a happy camper.
I adore watercolor,
so when I teach this unit,
 I really enjoy being surrounded by all the pieces from years past that I have bought from the students. They make terrific examples to teach with,
and are a delight for both young and old eyes.

Other art teachers often ask me if I show off only good examples when I start a new unit.
The answer is no.
I also like to show pieces that are not designed well,
or where the specific technique was not used correctly.
I think it is important for my students to also see at least one professional piece
 that I've either purchased, 
or that the kids can view on my blog.
And I use my blog quite often as a teaching tool.
The pro piece in the photo above is 2nd on the right,
bottom row, 
done by watercolor artist Jim Chapman.

Probably the most exceptional piece this year at our Open House show was this watercolor
by junior Jonathan Hsu of senior Jovani Garcia.
Whitney science teacher Mrs. Z is now the very proud owner of this work.
Jonathan chose the largest piece of watercolor paper I had,
30" by 36" Hot Press Arches for it's size and smooth surface.
But look at the results I'm getting with decent materials.

He made a quick sketch in pencil of Jovani,
and chose this lovely primary color scheme to work in.
Then he started adding interesting elements around the head,
 and man oh man,
the crowd loved it!!!!

Next we have junior Elias Rodriquez.
He loves doing watercolor backdrops and is known for that amongst his peers.
This is his portrait of senior Nathan Chong,
and the very delighted owner is our new Dean of Discipline,
 Craig Spratt.

Another question I am often asked is how do you afford to give your students 
such expensive materials to work with?
After all,
 you are only a public school.
Yeap, that's right.
 this year I was given only a little over a $1000 dollars for 150 students for the entire year.
I spent it even before school started just getting in my ton, 
yes one ton of clay,
also glazes and oxides.
I am able to ask the parents for fair share donations,
and about 3/4 of the parents contribute.
So that helps a lot!
My husband and I do a lot of garage sales and dumpster diving on the weekends 
to supplement the much need consumable supplies.
And the rest is up to me and my pocketbook.
I share a lot of my own equipment with my students like looms, 
spinning wheels and sewing machines,
 and all the paraphernalia that goes with them.

These last two were both done of junior Elias.

The top one belongs to Nathan.
I really like how he morphed the hoodie into the black background.
He did this with India ink.

This one of Elias was done by senior Michael Cantu.
He was inspired by a portrait he saw of Martha Stewart
 that I had in my file folder,
(artist unknown)
 and asked if he could bring in pen & ink to draw in details like he saw in the example.
The result was spectacular and one of Michael's best works.
Also note that he used the exact same color palette that Jonathan used of Jovani.
Not until we put them up for critiquing did we notice this simaliarity,
 and how well they flowed together on the wall.
I think the shade of blue that Michael picked for his background
was the perfect compliment to his piece. 

Bravo young men,
you do me proud!

Friday, June 19, 2015


wood scraps, recycled materials, paper collage & wood staining

And these recycled wood figures are a great assignment to put at the end of the year.
This way we get to use up a lot of bits and pieces that are left behind from other projects.
I let the kids pick their subjects:
people, animals, insects;
as long as they are abstracted yet still recognizable.

Senior Sunny Kim made one of my personal favorites above.
Note all the adorable details:
the woodburned kitty faces on the feet,
the wire wings,
the Polymer clay face that has been stained with acrylic paint to bring out the facial details,
two different screws for arms,
the coiled wire spring for the pelvic area,
the list is long.

Another favorite was made by senior Anna Lee.
Two of the requirements were to include text and a bit of woodburning.  
Anna combined them on the inside of this clever and whimsical piece.

And junior Chirag Bisht knocked it out of the park with his cool skateboarding figure.
Clever young man used a wrench for the board which gave his piece so much personality.
And love that plant thingy on the top of the head that curls over.
Fun, fun, fun!!!

Sophomore Shreya Sheth went all out on her piece,
in this interactive caterpillar.
Sadly she ran out of time to get the features on,
but it was still remarkable 
and one of the most popular pieces at our Open House display.

And this cutie belongs to junior Liana Chie.
Notice the recycled paintbrush,
wire, nails, etc.?
Fun piece Liana!

The kids found the most interesting items to recycle like junior Hazel Cruz here.
Her father's broken watch face that she wired into the holes she drilled.
the kids were required to learn how to drill,
saw and sand their wood foundations.
They did this on a preliminary piece first to practice.
Here is Shreya using the drill as she starts the base of her caterpiller piece,
and below is junior A.K. Manivannan having fun with the jigsaw 
as he cuts a curve into his foundation.

Another requirement was to bring in an expressive quality to the piece 
through facial expressions or body language.
Both these pieces here,
top one by senior Adhora Islam,
and bottom by junior William Kim,
were done with the woodburning tool.
Some type of fibery goodness was also a requirement,
along with paper collage and paint staining.

I made these children jump thru a lot of hoops for this assignment,
and they never let me down.

Thank you all for working so hard,
it pays off big time!!!