Wednesday, January 31, 2018


charcoal on newsprint

I love this exercise.  
Both the kids and I never know what results to expect.
For most all of them it's the very first time they are attempting a self-portrait.
I have them draw their reflections from the glass doors where we store our clay.
This is a prelude to loosen them up before they attempt a serious self-portrait study.
Of course they are very self-conscious at first
 because they know they are being watched covertly by my other kids at the lower level.
But once they get started
 they slip into the right side of their brain
and start to draw more realistically.
It's at this point that I take their pix and they aren't even aware that I am.
hee hee

They only get this one class period to loosen up.
So here they are from left to right,
seniors Malaya Sithichai, Ayesha Durrani, Eileen Lee, Jazzarie Lo, Kevin Ma 
& junior Samantha Tun.
Now that they know I'm taking their picture,
and that they are done with this high pressure exercise;
they all look so relieved.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018


Walking by Alumni Josh Berger's Succulent garden today I saw this itsy bitsy surprise.
The String of Pearls had bloomed.
These tiny flowers reminded me a bit of cacti blooms,
only even better like something you might see in a fairy garden.
The very small clay head was a piece left behind years ago.
Of course I saved it and now has found a perfect home as a garden sculpture.

Monday, January 29, 2018


two tye-dye pieces of cotton, batting, sewing threads, embroidery needles, perle cottons, various papers, beads, buttons & other embellishments

I think I've been teaching this particular tye-dye /journal assignment for the past 10 years or so now, 
and it just seemed to go flat this last year.
And that's OK because it had a wonderful run while it lasted.
There was only one student piece that was noteworthy enough to show off 
and it's below
 done by senior Crystal.
It could have been the time of year we did the piece,
4th Quarter where the kids are getting antsy-pantsy for summer, 
and their heads and hearts just aren't in the game anymore.
Not sure. 
Or maybe they were simply burned out from all the sewing we bring into so many of the projects.
So I might change the journal portion up a bit this year,
because the kids really seemed to like the journal making section.
We'll see,
so stay tuned in!

This is Crystals journal opened up
 so you can admire the handwork she did on the front and back covers.
Lot's of seed beads and buttons with those strong diagonals leading our eye around.

But it was this next one below that really stole the show.
Again I have it opened up so you are seeing both back and front covers.
Done by who else?
A.P. English teacher Donna Hall.
She really did knock all my assignments out of the park this last year.
Kinda like English teacher Deliana Park did two years ago.
Hi Deliana!!!
We miss you big time!
Now knowing Donna really well,
 she probably didn't even like her tye-dyed background foundation.
She was funny like that.
I personally loved it.
Her green and orange secondary color scheme is one that I use a lot.
Anyways her attention to detail was truly remarkable
 as well as the time and extra effort she put into this.
I want you to see a few close-ups of the details
so you can really appreciate her work.
The kids so enjoyed having you join us in the class Donna,
and they really got to see another side to you that they aren't privy to in the classroom.
Your unsure vulnerable side.
hee hee.
I hope you realized what a super-star you truly are!

Sunday, January 28, 2018


balloon, concrete & plaster

Last year senior Shreya Shah saw a couple ideas on Pinterest that she wanted to try out
that would fit into her 3-D area of study.
She saw someone modeling/sculpting with concrete & plaster over a balloon.

She found the concrete incredibly difficult to control,
and way more grainy/lumpy bumpy then she thought it would be...
but she ended up with a pretty cool garden sculpture;
painting the inside with acrylic cooper paint.

And even though she had done some Plaster Figure Sculpture in 2nd year 3-D,
that was a reductive way of working versus this additive technique 
that was messy then crumbly when dry.
She was trying for a smooth lip all the way around but I sure like the broken edge effect.

And then I really like what she did with the broken off lip pieces.
She glued them down into a heart shape.

You have always been a gutsy lady Shreya.
I admire your determination and drive to try out new ideas!
You are fearless  :)

Friday, January 26, 2018


graphite w/ colored pencil

so 2nd assignment for this group and I'm seeing some very creative solutions.
All they needed to give me was one sphere drawn in pencil 
with hopefully 5 smoothly transitioned values.
A cast shadow, horizon line and a border treatment to help fill up excess negative space 
were also included to turn the sphere into a composition.

                                                Well bravo to young & energetic Eric Ren.
He delivered a really playful piece complete with a shoot and a ladder.

Here we can really relate to Giana Medina's drawing,
that delicious last bite.

And Custo Yang Huang blows us all out of the water with this exceptionally
well balanced, 
expertly drawn composition.
Question for you Custo,
"Have you ever had art lessons?"

Thursday, January 25, 2018


No surprise here.
The recycled pinch pots from years ago that I planted this last weekend,
the ones I was supposed to bring to school to share with my students that I posted about,
sat on top of my car from 7:30 this morning till 4:45 this afternoon 
when I walked out to parking lot to go home.
Of course I forgot to bring them to my classroom,
and no one stole them or knocked them off my car.
How about that for a great place to teach.
Like I've told you all before,
I'm a very lucky lady to teach at Whitney High School.
I love this place!

let me try this one more time tomorrow

Wednesday, January 24, 2018


The kids freaked out when they realized I wanted them to sculpt a realistic head from clay,
and possibly use each other as models.
They wined and complained a bit,
moaned and groan and rolled their eyes a lot.
But in the end I think they actually ended up enjoying the project.
Right Vincent!!
I think junior Vincent Nguyen really liked the one his best bud 
junior Ylia Madayag did of him.
Here he is proudly showing it off.
Thanks Vincent for being such a good sport and letting me take your pix.

Senior Marjorie Balaoro did the two on the left above and here is Ylia's up closer.
I really like how Marjorie put a mask on her extra credit piece.
And check out those fabulous eyebrows and lips on Vincent!

I believe senior Avanthi Dev may have done her grandfather.
They were all required to either bring in a resource in both frontal and profile view,
or to sculpt each other.
I think it's real interesting to see how Avanthi glazed her piece 
with blood coming from eyes, nose and ear.

We all loved that senior Eunice Shim tackled a baby.
They are so much harder to work with then adults because they have so few lines in their faces
and everything must be so very smooth.
Also their proportions are different then adults.

Junior Sam Kim complained the whole way thru this assignment 
but I felt he achieved a very expressive piece (one of their requirements).
So Sam,
you pulled this off!!!

And I also believe that senior Ashley Iseri did her grandfather as well.
I felt like she really nailed him
and that hers was one of the most realistic of the bunch.

But I think my fav was this one by sophomore Olivia Krueger 
because of the way she glazed the face.
A Red Iron Oxide stained face then painting glaze on the face.
Super cool Olivia!

Tuesday, January 23, 2018


Recently I uncovered these sweet little pinch pots made nine years ago.
The kids had left them behind when they graduated,
 and I'm a big recycler,
so for several years they have been in my garden supply area waiting for me to deal with them.
this weekend it happened.
I have a lot of succulent starts in my garden.
Petals that fall off plants and land in the dirt on the ground,
or in other planters like above.
I leave them alone until they root themselves and then I replant.
I found several to use,
so here they are in their new homes.
I'll take them to school tomorrow and give them to my students who might want to adopt them.
So thanks to Hylie, Emmerline Kim, Ashley Duru, Nathan Chou, K.P. and no name 
for your sweet leftovers,
they are finding their way again into nurturing hands.

Monday, January 22, 2018


graphite & colored pencil accents

Woo Hoo!!!
I have finally reached 4th Quarter from last school year, 

These are a few of my stellar 7th grade students from 4th Quarter Art Wheel.
Let's meet them.

I was really impressive with the imagination of Eric Ren.
He's drawn me several value scales,
even one in color
(and he's back again this year in the Beginning 2-D class where he is doing remarkable work).

And this one by Emily Thang is so soft and sweet with so much great attention to designing.
What a wonderful beginning for this group of kids.

Sunday, January 21, 2018


wire w/ mixed media

We saw the post yesterday that featured the work of senior Helen Park.
I had talked about the other assignment she began while she waited for her clay pot to be fired.
Well this is it.

But first...
The magnificent piece below was done by Professional Mixed Media Artist Peggy Zask
 of Zask Gallery in San Pedro, Ca.
I posted about her and her work a while back here.
I've been dying to come up with an assignment that was inspired by this piece.
So once again I used Helen as a guinea pig because of her strong critical thinking skills.

So Ta Daah,
here is her adorable little critter.
Again we worked together on the minimum requirements,
fiber, wire, polymer, & embellishments,
but sadly she ran out of time to try to incorporate them all.
Her little guy is needle felted and suspended with wire.
She's also brought in a bit of fabric, beads & button.
We were both delighted with her result,
 but decided the assignment would need way more time
 to be able to produce anything near the likes of Peggy Zask's Horse.

So thank you Helen for allowing me to test out new ideas on you!
I hope you enjoyed creating both pieces.
You are greatly missed this year.

Friday, January 19, 2018


clay, sawdust kiln, twigs/spokes & plant fibers, wire

Great sport senior Helen Kim let me try out an idea for a new assignment on her
that I felt was appropriate for her 2nd year 3-D level.
On Pinterest I had found the remarkable clay /fiber pieces of Marc Jenesel and Karen Pierce 
at Willow Bend Studios and showed them to Helen.
She found them as spectacular as I did,
so putting our critical thinking skills together we can up with a rubric for the assignment,
and Helen proceeded to execute out our plan.
I started one too,
but of course I never finished it.
I was super pleased with what Helen came up with 
having been inspired by Marc & Karen.
Check it out!

Here are views from both sides above & below.

Helen began by handbuilding her clay base.
She had to pre-plan where her spokes would attach to the pot
and pierced several holes to lash them on at a later time.
Believe it or not,
this piece only measures about 3 1/2" to 4" high.
Just thought I'd stick that in so you can get the feel for how tiny it is.
as she was waiting for her clay pot to dry, be bisqued then sawdust fired,
 she began another assignment which I will post tomorrow.
When the pot came back to her she found a few twigs
and lashed then onto the pot with waxed linen.
I have a plethora of weavers in my storage room that Helen chose from to be her weft.
She selected some of my favorites,
the dried out date palm stalks where the fruit grows from.
But what I love that she also incorporated 
was the copper wire as a finishing touch around the lip and base. 
A fabulous piece Helen!

Thursday, January 18, 2018


glue bottles & oil pastels on black construction paper

After the beginners go thru the Realistic Right Brain Drawing Unit
 and are able to nail very realistic subjects (like each other),
I turn the tables on them and have them re-draw their same subject in Abstraction.
Now it's all about distortion and exaggeration.
It's also about being able to still recognize the person they are drawing.
So it's a fairly sophisticated and difficult task I'm asking of them.
Let's see how they did.

Junior Mary Kim had junior Jayesh Jani that she was working with
 and all of us felt like she really captured him in a wonderfully abstracted way.
Plus she put in a wonderfully eerie backdrop as well.

Senior Cathy Huang,
who always includes a great sense of irony in all her works,
whether in clay or 2-d,
 drew  senior Jocelyn Chou.
Fantastic, clever piece Cath!

We all loved junior Tiffany Chen's portrait of junior William Tan,
because she not only only captured his likeness,
 but we also really enjoyed her analogous color choices
which gave the piece lots of sensory yumminess.

Senior Julie Guan worked with junior Raymond Ouyang
and managed to turn him into an adorable other worldly alien.

And Sarah  Oh did some strange but cool imaginings with the face of senior Christley Agbaroji.
I also really enjoyed how she built out the background with more treats for the eye.

Melissa Ongko gave us a dreamy rendeniton of junior Jesus Macias  
with the exaggeration of his already extremely long eyelashes.
Melissa also shows she has mastered the movement in value from light to dark.

And senior Lauren Kennedy had the good fortune to be partnered with senior Howard Lin
who had the most beautiful head of hair to work with.
She also shows us how powerful a complementary color scheme (blue/orange) can be.

I hope all of you enjoyed how well these turned out.
They are always one of my favorite assignments
 because you never know what you are going to get from the kids.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018


I wait till the absolute last minute
 to take down my Fall decorations in my little home/studio,

and then I put off until about a week before Xmas to put up those decorations.
And now it's mid January and I still haven't taken them down yet.
I wonder if anybody out there has this problem as well?

Disassembling each little tree is so sad for me.
Sometimes it even makes me cry for all the memories each contain in the decorations.
For instance the 3 itsy bitsy embroidered pieces by Class of 08's Victoria An,
Love & Faith make me weep there are so precious..
Another favorite art student,
designing children's clothes for Tommy Hilfiger now,
Class of 2009 Caroline Ma's fused glass house mounted on a handmade watercolor paper
addressed to Mama Agrums melts my heart.
Fiber Artist Judy Coates Perez's embroidered felt balls,
and Folk Artist Leslie McCabe's Russian Needle Punched dogs in tiny matchboxes;
all pieces I've taught with that are so dear to me.
A hand felted stocking I made with my very first pieces of my own felt,
and the delicate wool wrapped tree my daughter gave me this Xmas cuz she knows what I love,
and last years ornament she bought for me,
a recycled tin cut deer,
it all matters.
A gold glitter pinecone my son and I made when he was a young pup.
I just love it all.

The beautiful handwoven scarf Avanthi (2017)and Karisma Dev (2015)
 brought back to me from Africa,
gathers together all my favorite photos of my children,
their spouses/girlfriends and the grandbabies,
I just can't bring myself to put it away.
And of course Fiber Artist Jude Hill's Santa Cat that I adore
and love to teach with
(at the end of the season the Santa Cat gets changed out with another Jude Hill work)
makes me feel so grateful that I own these remarkable pieces of hers.

My how hard and patiently my dear mother worked when I was a bratty teenager on her fragile eggs that she cleaned out and decoupaged back in the 1970's (low left),
that I sadly didn't appreciate until she was gone.
My daughter's plastic coated ironed bead angel as well as her little paper cut purse 
with tiny glued down pieces of cut up eraser bits that I couldn't bare to throw away
(center bottom).
And now she's the brat who has no sentiment for any of this.
But I have no fear, 
she used to be the first to volunteer to help put out the decorations when she was younger.
I know I raised a deeper person then she is right now.
I keep hearing that 28 is the magic number 
when girls start being nice to their mommies again.
I think it took me a little longer.

Above the highly embellished star 
that Class of 2009's's Ariel Improta (daughter to our beloved Drama teacher Jodi)
knew I would love, 
is hanging next to this year's 7th grader Valentina Arnold Villarreal's blue painted wood ornament
that she so sweetly dropped by even though she is no longer in my Art Wheel class.
My son's newborn picture 
as well as his kindergarten next to 8th grade pix that he made in Boy Scouts,
make me wish I could turn the clock back so I could enjoy his childhood one more time.
And all the tags that my children addressed to me over the years with their sweet handwriting
that I love to re-read every year.
And the gorgeous reindeer and tree made from recycled papers 
that my daughter gave me a couple years ago.
I just hate packing it all away.
But can you imagine the dust build up if I left all this out??

And I end with this Rug Hooked pillow top that my daughter drew the picture for 
when she was 5 1/2 of Mr. & Mrs. Claus,
thanking them for all the presents they bring her.
It was such a remarkable drawing for such a young one that I wanted a way to preserve it.
I thought I would do all the Rug Hooking myself but gave up after I got Mrs. Claus' face done.
I located a nearby Rug Hooker who finished the rest for me so I'd have it in time for Xmas.
Let's see, that was in 2000 I believe.
Such wonderful, dear memories.