Wednesday, March 30, 2016


Many students and staff have tried and failed to keep this garden going
in memory of our beloved 8th grade science teacher Virginia (Gin) Wildman Pooler.
She taught at Whitney from 1976 to 2000,
and was a favorite of all our students.
Cancer took her way too early.
You will find the Memorial Garden at the South entrance to our school 
and the students pass it every morning on their way in.
It is especially lovely right now because of the care senior Saumitra Kelkar has put into it
with Advisor and Science teacher Aileen Perry,
one of Gin's former students.
The plans for this garden were formulated in 2014 
and planting started last school year in 2015.
Saumitra wanted it to be a Wildlife Garden for Butterflies and Hummingbirds,
something Gin would have loved.
Saumitra has been so successful 
that this garden has been certified by the University of  Kansas as a Monarch Waystation.
Everyday we see so many beautiful butterflies coming in and out 
as well as hummingbirds galore.
It is also a refuge for wasps, insects and lizards.
The Loquat Tree is the only surviving plant that was left in this garden when Saumitra took over.
It's fruit is ripe and ready for picking.
I may have swiped a few the other day.

This last week we had a delightful surprise. 
The students counted 15 caterpillars munching down on several of the milkweed plants.
They decimated them in one day and then disappeared.
I was able to capture them while there were a few leaves left on the plant.  :)
They were huge and so vividly striped.
A close up of the wildflower seed mix that Sametra spread throughout the garden.
And an even closer look at the variegated nasturtiums that grab my eye every time I walk by.

Saumitra knows the Latin and common names for all the plants in his garden.
He told this is Lupine and one of his favorites.
These are just starting to pop up and bloom.

The best part about this garden 
is that other students have started to become interested in tending this garden with Saumitra.
Everyday on my way to and from the office I see kids looking for bugs,
waiting to see if a certain flower has opened,
helping with the watering and weeding.
It has become a community effort.
Thank you Saumitra.
I know Gin would love it and given it her blessing.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016


Now that Kaili Hamada has learned to throw on the potter's wheel,
she is beginning to experiment with surface design.
She sent me a photo of this lovely bowl that she decorated with a sgraffito design. 
It was done by painting on a pigmented slip onto the plastic clay's surface.
When it becomes leatherhard,
you come in with a carving tool and scratch or carve out your design.
Loving it Kaili!!

Sunday, March 27, 2016


My posting will probably be a bit spotty this week.
But I will try my best to keep up.

To my students,
I wish you a relaxing break.
Especially to my seniors.
Got my fingers crossed that you all will hear from more of your 1st choice colleges.

Trying not to think of school,
but finding I 'm dreaming of you guys regardless.
Last night Antoinette Jabat,
you were my White Rabbit helping me to find my way back to my classroom
from a very scary Disneyland at night and after hours.
Sadly we never made it.
You were too fast for me and I couldn't keep up.
And I went thru the wrong door.
When I came back thru it to retrace my steps you were gone.
I was so upset I woke myself up
ha ha

Love to all...

Friday, March 25, 2016


Alumni Daphne Chiang,
 from the class of 2015,
 has a week off from Georgetown
and is exploring the city of Washington D.C. 
This day it was the Renwick Gallery.

As she says,
"It was 3-D art on a huge scale"
9 artists  showing their work and sharing the space.

Her favorite artist was Gabriel Dawe
with this thread sculpture.
That's right,

one of my favorite artist's works,
Patrick Doughtery with his woven sticks.
I have yet to see one of his sculptures in person.
I'm so jealous Daphne  :)

And this melted & slashed tire sculpture by Chalcaia Booker.

I was telling Daphne that in college in my 3-D art class,
I had to make a tire sculpture.
Wish I had seen one of Chalcaia's pieces for inspiration first.
Mine sucked!  ha ha

Thursday, March 24, 2016

paper collage on cardboard, bookbinding tape and ribbon

Every year these portfolios just seem to get better and better
as the kids come up with more complex designs 
based on the Design Elements and Principles we've covered.

A great example is this piece by junior Eunice Shim.
First off she asked if she could design her portfolio on the vertical instead of the horizontal.
No one had ever done that before,
so I told her to go for it.
I love how it came out.
And it just makes so much sense with her design.
I adore the imagery she came up with and her use of color.

And how cool is this one by senior Rosenne Cho?
The students were required to make two 18" by 24" paper collages 
in two completely different color schemes.
The reason Rosenne's design pops so well is the contrast she has achieved
 by doing one of the collages in light neutrals and the other in dark analogous purples and blues.
This gives her incredible contrast for when she has to cut out and glue her papers side by side..

Senior Emily Allan has gone all out with both color and design
for an exceptional piece.
I love how she planned out her two contrasting papers by choosing both warm and cool.
And along with her phenomenal design she has created a super dynamic piece.

Another of my favorites because of color and design was this one by senior Jason Kim.
Every time I walked by as he was building it,
I had to stop and exclaim over his rich color choices.
Plus look closely at all those petals he had to cut out with an X-acto knife.
An incredible amount of time and effort was put into the construction of this one.
(I apologize for my camera picking up the shine from the tape we put over top to protect the work,
so distracting)

The kids were required to work to some kind of nature theme.
I love, love, love trees,
so I'm thrilled that senior Andrew Jun chose a tree and it's root system.
And what a soft and lovely colorway he did it in.

Junior Samantha Tun did this very fun Halloween composition.
We make these in October,
perhaps a bit of trick-o-treating was on her mind here.  :)
 great contrast between her two collage papers and beautifully crafted.

Senior Sriram Velmanikandanis
 the artist of this striking portfolio above,
has captured this big, bold bird gliding over the sun.

And our last one was done by senior Jay Olano.
Fabulous contrast between his papers,
and a strong design tying in his interest with sports surrounded by a sun motif  as his nature theme.
Tricky and cool!
I hope you've enjoyed seeing these glorious creations,
the critical thinking that went into their designs,
and the huge amount of effort they put into pulling them off.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016


Evan Andrew Tseng came into the Whitney family at 8:00 a.m. on March 17th.
Congrats to our counselor/teacher Yen and his wife Grace.
What a beautiful baby boy.
Can't wait to meet him!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016


March 9, 1996

to one of the most in love couples I know,
Suzanne and Mike Campbell.
You two should write a book on how to make marriage work and last.
As Suzanne's sister Aileen says,
"They are a beautiful example of what love looks like"
And here they are 20 years later.
Still spending every free moment together.
In this shot below
 they were competing at the local meatball cook-off in Yorba Linda this last weekend.
Check out what a romantic guy Mike is.

On their Anniversary they both took the day off work to revisit their favorite spots.
They started the day off at the Seal Beach Jetty
 then on to Nick's Deli for Breakfast Burritos.
Dog Beach in Huntington was their next stop,
then on to Balboa Island.
A picnic lunch from Lawry's at the Upper Newport Bay Ecological Reserve,
then on the way home
 stop at the Chapman Chapel in Anaheim where they said their "I do's"
Home that night for dinner with their two sons,
 and topping off the evening watching their wedding video.

Suzanne is the head secretary at our school and one of my dearest friends.
Happiest Anniversary with many more to come

Monday, March 21, 2016


Our little guy just turned one and has started to walk.
He is also learning how to feed himself.
But mostly it ends up in his lap
(this is what we found when we pulled his high chair tray off)
So into the tub he goes,
for a little rub-a-dub-dub.
What a doll!!

Sunday, March 20, 2016


oil pastel on black construction paper

It continues to amaze and delight me what I can get out of my squirrelly little 7th graders.
Let's take a gander.

Jayden Vallinas,
who has tremendous potential but doesn't know it yet,
created this beauty.

Yesenia Navarro gave us some cool looking flames in the background,

and Salvador Ortiz his signature clown face.

Stella Hong came up with this very atmospheric foreground.
So pretty Stella!

And Clara Kim is showing us that she has mastered both the pointillist and hatchure techniques.

I leave you with Aaron aka Patrick Amaya whose work has been showcased on this blog several times now this year,
hoping Patrick that you and the others will be back for more art classes in the future.

Thursday, March 17, 2016



I'm hoping you enjoyed yesterday's post
and are ready for more creative goodness.

We start today with senior Jenna Llamas.
She has chosen to work to a beach theme
 in a fun & pleasing complimentary color scheme of orange and blues.
I took a side view shot so you could see her wood burned edging.
Were they required to wood burn somewhere in their piece?

Senior Hapshiba Kwon,
and outstanding student in so many arenas,
brought in some of her poetry and love of rain in Eau de Rain
Notice the empty spool that she used for the torso and how she paper colleged it?
And then to go back to the bird's nest unit and used what she learned there to build the umbrella skirt.
I asked Hapshiba to say a little something about her piece and what inspired her.
So in her own words:

Hello, I’m Hapshiba Kwon, a high school senior, and I will be guest blogging about my piece!

My piece is titled “eau de rain,” a slight play on the “eau de toilette” phrase that I see so often on perfume bottles and colognes. The title has been wood-burned onto the base and stained over with lavender acrylics.

I started off with a small wooden block for my base. It had been pre-stained on the bottom with pink and aqua colors and studded with metallic “stars.” I built my figure on top of this block, fitting a wooden dowel (later collaged with blue tissue paper and music sheets) into a small hole to serve as legs...or rather, one leg :)

Next, I built a wire nest so that I could weave a variety of yarns through it. We learned to use this technique during our bird’s nest project, and I wanted to turn the nest upside down to use as an umbrella. I utilized baby blue, pastel purple, gray, white, and silver yarns to create my umbrella, and then used this color scheme throughout the rest of my piece.
I definitely had the most fun stringing all sorts of beads on wax linen threads to hang around the edges of my umbrella, so as to encapsulate the movement of falling rain.

As for the bodice, I used a tan spool and collaged on top of it with tissue papers and yellowed hymn book pages. I also marbleized white and black clay to create the polymer head, and then stained it with teal metallic compounds for a subtly glittery effect.

To finish off the piece, we all needed to add a special accessory to personalize our figurines. I chose to add a miniature book with one of my poems titled “Little Moments.”

I think my piece strayed quite a bit from what I’d originally had in mind (as per usual), but I enjoyed the assignment because it allowed me to pay attention to small details and also gave me a chance to work with a variety of materials--wood, yarn, wire, clay, beads, and even aluminum foil for the arms. I imagine it on a bedside table in a little girl’s bedroom because of the soft, fairy godmother/rain princess feeling it gives off, but I suppose that’s wishful thinking because my room is a big mess, hahaha.

Thank you for reading ^_^

This next one is English teacher Deliana Park's second piece.
(we saw her first one in yesterday's post)
This piece is so deep that I asked her to write an explanation.
So in her own words:

This bird man is in his office cage,
 locked and  restricted by his own drive to succeed and work long hours
His facial expression is semi shock 
and his color pallid from being indoors.
A dragonfly ironically rests outside his cage, 
beckoning him to come out.
The quotes on his work desk are from Dante's Inferno
 and the epitaph from Fahrenheit 451
 - a contrast of warning (to all who enter)
 and advising (to escape restrictions).

Wow Mrs. Park, 
that was a fascinating read,
a glimpse into your mind.
Thank you for sharing your message with us,
and for putting so much of yourself,
and your time and energy into this class.
We love having you here with us.

This next beauty was made by junior Insha Khan.
She took great pains in constructing this exquisite dress
with all the lovely details.

Incredibly gifted 8th grader Sydney Eng constructed this amazing chest board 
to go with her figure.
Her's was one of the class favorites for it's creative design
 and the amount of effort she put in it to pull it off.
All her little chest pieces were made with Polymer,
her board wood burned, 
and board edge paper collaged.

And finally we get to junior Helen Park's piece.
She was the gal in Part I who was carrying in the chair and sawing.
Was she able to incorporate any part of that chair?
I don't think she did,
but I'm sure one of these years someone with do something special with it  :)
So thanks Helen for your donation!
Helen's design is very clever in that it is two sided.
Warm & Cool.
And her wood burned saying leads us to think about what she is trying to convey.
Perhaps I will remember to ask her one day and slide it in here.

We finish with junior Cheryl-Mae Mallabo.
Super complex and thought provoking,
it takes some time to see all that she has put together.
like Hapshiba,
used rebar to build out the front shoulder of her form (above),
then she came into it and wove yarn thru.
I just love when these kids use their critical thinking skills and apply earlier learning.
Cheryl spends hours looking thru all my bead and hardware containers,
selecting just the right pieces to incorporate into her creations.
And as you can see the amount of effort as well as attention to detail in her work
 is truly remarkable.

Thank you all for working so very hard for me.
It's always a pleasure to show off what you do here.