Wednesday, August 31, 2016


As I get older I notice that I like surrounding myself with loving memories.
I was looking at my staff parking sticker in my car the other day and noticing how badly it's aging,
thinking perhaps I need a new one.
It's been hanging from all my cars for 37 years now,
and every couple of years something new,
made or given to me from a student,
or purchased,
 gets added to this memorable clump.

As I was eye-balling it,
 I tried to remember where all the cuteness came from.
Sadly I can't remember them all.
 It kind of started with the patchwork heart
 that class of 2009 Rikaya Obilo sewed and embellished for me.
Then next came the adorable little silver stuffed character 
made for me by Breeana Johng,
 class of 2011.
The troll doll I think I picked up somewhere
(they were my favorites back in the 60's),
and that lovely ceramic bee in porcelain
 was something I added last year from Chemer's Gallery in Tustin.
Also added many years ago,
 after my dear mother passed away from Alzheimer's,
was her "Safe Return" identification bracelet she had worn.
The clump is hanging by a worn leather bracelet my husband made for me when we first met.

Sadly I don't remember who made and gave me the adorable beaded dog & turtle.
And finally,
8th grader Charlotte Park gifted me the scented bumble bee in the transparent bag
last school year.

As I get older I notice that I love surrounding myself with loving memories.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Jen Mullen

Blog friend & mixed media Artist Jen Mullen
 has recently been experimenting with painting and quilting on tea bags.
I liked what she was doing so much that I asked if I could buy one to share with my students.
She wouldn't let me pay for it so I sent her a trade,
a vintage appliqued tea towel.
Her gift to me arrived in the most exciting envelop.
It looks as if she had hand marbleized it,
then sewn up the sides.

Here is the lovely quilted tea bag,
and when I laid it on top of the envelop I felt they belonged together.

But needed just a tiny bit of contrast, 
so I found a dark gray paper and mounted it in between the two for framing.
I'm trying to decide between the grey backdrop or the white one below.
Send me your thoughts.

All Art Students,
Brew up a cup of tea and afterwards let the tea bag dry out.
After it's dry carefully open it up and shake out the loose tea.
Borrow some watercolors from me and paint on a design.
When dry,
bring it in and I'll cut you a piece of batting so you can quilt in down.
Never sewn before?
Let's set up a lunch date and I'll show you how.
Turn in before Dec. 22nd for some first semester extra credit points.
The more you work on it the more points you will earn.
Anyone up for the challenge??

Monday, August 29, 2016


HAPPY 2016-2017

Today makes the start of my 37th year teaching the arts at Whitney High School.
Everyone keeps asking me when I'll retire.
 I don't know yet.
I still really, really love teaching,
so we'll see.
In the meantime,
I hope to enrich the lives of 150 new young ones
by introducing them to the arts.
Welcome to my world!

Thursday, August 25, 2016


to one of my all time favorite art students,
Syracuse University Sophomore,
Karisma Dev.

Her lil' sis Avanthi took her to LAX last nite to catch the red-eye back to New York.
From there she will rent a U-Haul to drive all her stored belongings back to her new digs,
a town home she will share with a good friend and fellow Architecture Major 
that she met last school year.

you have been in my heart since you walked into my classroom as a 7th grader.
Your body of artwork continues to impact & inspire the young ones passing thru here on this blog.
I'm so happy you were able to give me a couple of hours with you yesterday before you had to leave.
I had a blast telling & showing you the new crafts assignments I've cooked up for this year.
Kaili & I will look forward to seeing what you will create in your Ceramics class this sememster.
I think that was the only class you didn't get a chance to take with me.  ha ha
Love you to the moon & back beautiful woman!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016


It was a sad day this summer
 when I said goodbye to my beloved Chocolate Cupcake Mini Cooper Convertible.
I even shed a few tears as I unloaded all my s___ to put it into the new car.
But I gotta say, 
I'm loving my new ride.
There's even a bit of Turbo going on,
so that when I step on the gas I've got some giddy up.
Woo Hoo!!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016


Topanga Canyon,
Charles Manson's old stomping grounds,
was a day trip that my son & his girlfriend took me on when I did a sleepover 
at their new home in Canoga Park this summer.
I had heard there were a few cool stores and cafes we could stop and snoop around in.
The kids live right off Topanga Canyon Blvd. 
so we just shot straight south under the Ventura Fwy.,
past Mulholland Drive following Topanga up and over the curving terrain
until we came upon this little community that was nestled in the hills.
It actually felt a little spooky as we drove in,
not a tourist friendly place at at.
Very desolate,
homes a bit shaky looking,
spread really far apart.
But we found a safe place to park and braved it  LOL
There were a couple of interesting stores to visit,
The one above,
 I think it was called Hidden Treasures,
 was my favorite.
And old home turned into the biggest collection of quality vintage clothes, 
shoes, furnishings and textiles from the 60's, 70's and 80's.
It was crazy and took me back in time.
When we were in the 70's section my son asked me if that was what my closet looked like
when I was a teenager/hippie.
I bet a lot of the Hollywood movie designers go there for inspiration.
A fun collection of stores was located across the street in the only inviting setting we found.

The most contemporary building there was the city library 
which was home to this impressive mosaic sculpture.

Zach's girlfriend Nicole,
had a star sighting of the actor that stars in the Netflix series
Jane the Virgin or something like that.
I've never seen it but she was ecstatic about seeing him in an outdoor cafe eating lunch.
She was even able to snap a pix of him before he left the restaurant
from a sneaky location across the street.
We didn't want to bug him.

Leaving Topanga we continued heading south until we hit the coastline at Malibu.
Tons of traffic on PCH,
lots of flashy cars and beautiful plastic women too.
We got quite an eyeful.
All in all,
a super fun day with the kids.
Thanks Zach and Nicole,
it was a blast from the past!

Monday, August 22, 2016


Another demo. piece of mine recently finished this last school year.
I think this may have been my 2015 pinch demo. pot.
I try to show the kids as many options as I can in my demos.
For instance,
I paddled the pot with a textual paddle.
I put feet on the bottom (sorry you can't see them),
I used my throwing rib's edge to push repetitive lines around the piece 
making it resemble a pumpkin or cactus form,
a cut lip or organic lip ending,
how to make the form close up once it's spread wide.
Their requirements:
3" tall,
feet on the bottom,
& applied decoration (those are the flowers I attached).
Of course there is always craftsmanship & effort that I grade on as well.
How I glazed this piece was to first brush on Rutile Oxide and wipe if off (a staining technique).
That shows in the finished work as the yellow orange lines around the pot under the glaze.
Then I dipped the whole thing in Transparent Glaze and allowed that to dry.
Next I watered down Cobalt & Red Iron Oxides 
then brushed those on the flowers for an accent.

Sunday, August 21, 2016


My favorites, 
my mother's favorites,
my grandmother's favorites.

Saturday, August 20, 2016


Risha with good friend Divya

I had the honor and pleasure of attending Risha's Arangetram this evening
with four of my favorite peeps,
Dipa Gandhi, Joodhi Sood,  Karisma and Avanthi Dev.

Risha was stunningly beautiful as she danced her heart out
 on the stage of the Redondo Beach Performing Arts center for over a crowd of 200 people,
many of them her dear friends and fellow Cross Country runners from Whitney.
The dedication, 
passion and exquisite grace that she showed us thru her dance was truly remarkable,
and something she has been involved in since the age of 6.
Years of strict disciple seemed effortless as she performed her 3 hour solo.
It was breathtaking to watch,
and we couldn't take our eyes off of you Risha.
I'm so very, very proud of you!!

Karisma, myself & Avanthi

Friday, August 19, 2016


For some reason the clay bucket provides hours of fun for my young ones.
Here are juniors Andy Hou and Anand Parthiban at the end of the school year
helping me out by breaking down the old unused clay.
They turned it into a game but sadly ran out of clay to recycle.
Thanks guys for putting a huge smile on my face.

Thursday, August 18, 2016


acrylic paint on canvas

This year the kids were able to deviate off the traditional list of famous Abstract Artists, 
and look to the internet and chose anyone they wanted to try and mimic their style,
using themselves as subject matter.

Senior Jonathan Hsu picked the famous american J.C. Leyendecker,
poster, book and advertising illustrator.
J.C.'s work actually inspired the infamous Norman Rockwell.

This work that Jonathan painted of himself was by far one of my favorite pieces 
that was created this year.
I was fascinated watching him bring himself to life.
Each day as he worked,
 I felt like the piece looked just right, 
but then he would repaint over parts of it,
and it just kept evolving into the splendid work that it is now.
Did I mention that I adored the colors he was inspired to work with,
the ones Leyendecker used.
You are so very talented Jonathan!

 And senior Elias Rodriguez chose Spanish artist Miguel Laino 
who has been living in London since 2001.
Laino interprets images from online and print media.
He also incorporates collage images from different time periods and genres 
to bring the past and present together.
In many of Laino's portraits he completely paints over the facial features,
a trademark of his.
After seeing several of Laino's works,
 I really felt that Elias nailed his style
with large slashing brushstrokes against the stark backdrop. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2016


clay, glazes & oxides

I use this whimsical assignment as a performance quiz.
I do a demonstration and then the next day the students build their wraps.
Only one day to do it so the pressure to perform is on.
I feel this is good for the kids every once in  while.
This way they don't waste days on end "thinking" about their design.
They just have to go for it.
The technique involves thumping and dragging their clay to stretch out a thin textural slab.
Then folding it over top of itself and scoring it together with a decorative seam.
It's a vase form so a bottom also has to be scored on.
Because the kids are working so quickly these vases take on a life of their own.
They are not perfectly straight,
they may be sagging a bit, perhaps some rips along the edges, 
it's all good!
This year the kids really were looking at them as tree forms and played up that idea as you will see.
Above I showed two shots of senior Jonathan Hsu's wrap in the greenware stage
 so you could really see the facial details he put into his piece.
Below is how he finished it off.
Very clever of him to use two different oxides to stain half/half with.

This next powerful piece is the work of junior Annie Oh.
It feels so very expressive to me,
and I love how she glazed it with cobalt accents.

We are really seeing how the kids played these as trees here.
Love all the detail in both.
I'm sorry I can't remember the name of the student who created the greenware piece upper right.
Please leave a comment kiddos if you recognize it!

Above left and below left we see senior Casey Yoon's picturesque scene complete with picket fence.
 I wanted you to see the greenware piece because sometimes you lose the details in the glazing.
The piece on the right of Casey's below was done by junior Edward Malacon.

Monday, August 15, 2016


I meant to insert this pix in the Before & After post
to show how the kids are setup to draw each other,
and how seriously they take it.
We have to have them fairly close & across from each other,
the model sitting in profile.
The kids pull the desks apart to give themselves a better vantage point.
Notice how junior Ayesha Durrani (foreground right) is using a clipboard to hold her paper up
so she can constantly scan her proportions.
She is also using her pencil to measure distances.
These are all little tips from Dr. Betty Edwards book
Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain.

Sunday, August 14, 2016


Downtown Anaheim is changing drastically,
for the better.
Cool new apartments are rising up with boutique restaurants and shops below them.
What I like about it is how diverse the neighborhood is,
and all the young up and comers it's attracting.
One of my favorite spots is this public sculpture below.
I've always been practical to house shapes in my own artwork...
and also to kinetic mobile sculptures.
This has it all.
How I discovered the area was thru my daughter 
who took me here to get my first Poki Bowl
at a place called Pokinometry.
It's located on the corner of Harbor Blvd. & Center St. Promenade.
This is also the same place where the Anaheim Ducks practice for their games,
so sometimes you get a peek at the Hockey stars.
The street also features Trapeze lessons,
crazy right?
And an upscale Goodwill called Rare.
So go get a Poki Bowl and check it out!

Friday, August 12, 2016


glass & clay shards, wooden frames, paper images & text, Modge Podge, wood burning tools, watercolors, acrylics & other misc. goodies like buttons & jewelry parts

My students love, love, love this assignment.
It's super fun & fairly easy,
and the results are always stunning.
The most challenging part is the grouting only because it takes time, 
and impeccable craftsmanship.
I personally love grouting because it's so tedious.
And that's right up my alley  LOL

Let's check out this first one by junior Helen Park.
Love her well balanced design & the variety of objects she found to use.
I also find her high & low relief interesting,
makes me want to run my fingers over her piece.
Below a close up of the fun buttons she used and how she had to grout around them.

This next one,
was created by senior Clarissa Gutierrez.
What a cool design she was able to get thru her use of curves.

Senior Jenna Llamas built this beauty above.
(sorry Jenna that it's a bit blurry)
I like how she limited her color scheme and also included dinnerware shards.

And of course senior Elias Rodriguez gave us a very different look with this asymmetrical work.
I like how he moves the colors from dark blues thru greens to yellows.
As you can see below,
he also did that with the back of his frame only in acrylics for a bit of extra credit.
He has even include a title,
Breeze Blocks.
Very cool Elias!

In this next one ,
English teacher Deliana Park,
goes with the yellows and aquas that she loves to work in.
Look closely and you will see text & music notes under some of her transparent glass shards.
And check out her backside.
I believe she used watercolors to build this lovely design.
I also like that she stylized her flowers and butterflies with blocks of color.
Really inspirational Deliana.
I admire all the thought and time you put into everything you make.

And oh, oh ,oh,
what wonderful pieces and colors senior Eileen Wang has put together.
Really eye-catching Eileen!
And then there is the back side of her frame.
She has used paint to stain the wood,

I rarely showcase this many works by my students in one post,
but there were just so many outstanding pieces to chose from like this one above by senior Iris Xu.
Very clever color work here 
with the monochromatic greens then bringing in a touch of complementary red to give it a "pop".

One of my strongest 8th grade designers this year was Sydney Eng.
She created this brilliant design.
Using analogous colors with those striking linear black lines running thru,
and then that unusual shade of grout color that pulls it all together,
stunningly beautiful my girl!

And junior Thulashi Raveendran has outdone herself both on the front and backsides.

Several of the kids this year took advantage of first collaging text or patterned papers 
to the raw wood before gluing down their glass shards.
That's what 8th grader Elliana Lee did here.
Love the rose paper she found to put down using the Modge Podge sauce.
It's so lovely she really doesn't even need the glass shards on top.
But let's she what she did next.
Adorable Elliana!
She drew these cute little figures on white paper and glued them to clear glass,
then glued those pieces down on the roses.
Adding more clear glass to show off the roses underneath 
along with a few buttons and opaque shards,
and then mixing the right shade of pinky mauve to pull it all together.
A lot of these kids mixed their own grout colors
which can be really scary if you run out before you are done grouting,
cuz you will never mix the exact color again.
But they were fearless in their quest for just the right color.

I adore this next one by junior Insha Khan.
Both the front and the backside.
On the front,
her color choices, 
the glass arrangement of the challenging symmetry,
the small sizes moving into linear shapes moving into rounds.
So well planned out!
Insha also thought to use the woodburning tool to draw designs on the backside.
Along with the paint stain,
it compliments the front perfectly.

And one of my sweetest young ones,
8th grader Malia Pulido,
was also brave enough to use the wood burning tool on her backside.
And look closely at her front,
she spent a lot of time gluing down text in just the right places.
I also love that she's incorporating the dinnerware pieces that add great textural interest.

And we end with one of my favorite students this year,
one of the best people I've ever met in my whole life,
senior Hapshiba Kwon.
This young woman has so many gifts that she has brought to our school,
to our teachers, 
and to her peers.
She is a phenomenal writer as well as an exceptional designer.
But so much more importantly,
a genuinely good person.
I have showcased many of her pieces over the last two years.
I hope you will put her name in the search engine and find what other pieces she has created.
Her work moves use all because she most always finds a way 
to incorporate her words in her art pieces.
If you look closely under the clear shards you will find either her words
 or inspirational words from one she admires.
Perhaps she will send in a comment to let use know which she used in this piece.
Now I want you to scroll back up to see what she has done with color.
How she has patiently and purposefully moved the colors from blackest black thru blues to pink.
and extremely difficult to do.
It took her so long I was scared she wasn't going to finish on time.
But she never lets us down,
always doing her very best because that's who she is.
And look how perfectly she has stained her backside to flow with the front.

Thank you,
 all of you,
for creating so much beauty for me to share with the world.
I feel so blessed and incredibly lucky to be your teacher.