Wednesday, February 28, 2018


Even after 4 winters with the small bit of snow we get,
 I still don't know who some of the animal tracks belong to at our cabin.

So this last weekend 
I went tracking and tried really hard to figure out which tracks belonged to whom.
I'm thinking that these sweet tracks above might belong to our family of racoons 
that live next door under our neighbor's cabin.

And I'm guessing that these cute little sharp looking tracks belong to the squirrels 
that traipse and climb all over our yard, roof and trees.

And these?
A much bigger animal,
perhaps Mia,
our neighbors dog,
or the many coyotes that pass thru,
or possibly a mountain lion??

And then there are my ginormous tracks,
my behind track where I slipped and fell on my backside and slid in the snow.
Ha ha 

Tuesday, February 27, 2018


clay, oxides and glazes

Traditional slab boxes can be pretty boring 
so let's see what these kids have done to hold our attention.

Senior Avanthi Dev created a cool ball sculpture on top of her lid that slides down the walls.
Now that catches my eye as does the way she glazed her piece.

Senior Lauren Kennedy carved out the tip top of her lid and added balls down the side of her pyramid which gets me at first,
but it's her glaze finish that really holds my eye.
First it looks like she used white clay disks on the sides of pot that look like moons,
had the box bisque fired,
and then she put her glaze on and brushed Red Iron Oxide over top for a really atmospheric look.
Love it!

Junior Vincent Nguyen shaped his box like a flower (very difficult to do),
and then carved out the top area to melt glass shards into for the final glaze firing.
Striking Vincent!
And love the blue glaze on the inside as well.

Next up is senior Eunice Shim.
She created a very complex slab using our red & white clay in a checkerboard pattern
even before she began her box.
So much extra effort and time.
When the kids do something that extra special I always give them a few extra credit points 
because they've exceeded the minimum requirements by a lot.
Also check out the inside bottom and see the script she has collaged down. 

This next one by senior Sarah Oh made everyone smile,
and the eyes she collaged down after the glaze fire were so realistic.
Here is the inside.
I like how she overlapped a few of our glazes to vary the colors inside yet they still feel unified.

 Here we have  senior Sahil Doshi & junior Renee Lin
Both pieces are glazed so beautifully that they stand on their own with no gimmicks.

One of my favorites was made by junior Simran Doshi.
I was really impressed that she thought to have her box open in several sections.
Here we see how it works.
So cool Simi!!
I also enjoy the contrast between your light glaze on the outside and dark on the inside.

Next up is superstar senior Ashley Iseri.
The clay not only loves her but apparently I learned by reading the text on her box here
 that she is an outstanding ball player as well.
Not the melted clear glass shards on top where she carved away an area for them?
So this box is a self-portrait of the young star.
Clever idea Ashley,
and we are very proud that you played for our school "The Wildcats".
According to her box she is off to play for the University of Hawaii Pacific 
this her Freshman year.

We end once again with sophomore Olivia Krueger
 because of  her remarkable "outside of the box" critical thinking skills.
Love, love , LOVE the hand morphing from the box!
And the lovely glaze & oxide application she did.
This is our Tan glaze with Rutile oxide brushed over top.
Also note the locking lid design along her side walls.


elmer's & tacky glue with oil pastel on black construction paper

I've received a few emails since I posted the Glueline assignment in January
about what it looks like when the kids draw with the glue bottles. 
So I checked thru my pix from this last school year and actually found a couple.
So here you go.

We've got junior Jayesh Jani drawing junior Mary Kim.
And senior Howard Lin modeling for Lauren Kennedy (outside the picture frame).
I usually don't allow the kids to draw first in pencil.
We go right to the glue bottles to create a really abstracted portrait.
Yet at the same time the kids are required to make it look somewhat like the model,
so they have to access their new Right Brain skills to make this happen.
That's why Jayesh is looking so intently at Mary.
He is completely unaware that I am taking his pix.

Here junior Sarah Oh,
who has been featured on the blog a lot recently,
saw me coming with my camera so she lost her Right Brain focus,
and she started to blush as I took her pix as she was drawing senior Christley Agbaroji.

So I hope this helps all you art teachers out there who might want to try out this assignment.
And also know it took me about 25 years to acquire a full class set (35) 
of these masonite drawing boards.
Only had the funds to buy a couple a year.
They are fairly expensive.
But man oh man, 
we use them a lot!

Sunday, February 25, 2018


graphite on paper

One of my favorite times of the year is the unveiling of the Before & After Instruction Drawings.
Students are paired with each other at the beginning of 2nd Quarter
and told to do the best they can and draw each other in profile.
Many of these kids have little drawing skills (from about 5 years old to about 1st grade)
but others come to me with various levels,
anywhere from 2nd grade thru about 11th grade level.
And every year I never know what I'm going to get.
Teaching from Dr. Betty Edwards Drawing on the Right Side Of the Brain,
I take the students thru the first half of her book using only right brain exercises.
Then the kids are partnered back up and redraw each other to see if they've made progress.
These Before and After pieces are mounted next to each other and are on display for the school to see and at Open House Nite for the parents to view.
What is so much fun is the kids have forgotten how they used to draw 
so are usually thrilled with the After results.
I know I am!
Right before they begin the After drawings,
 I take them thru basic head formulas to show them where the features of the face and head are located both on a Frontal view as well as the Profile.
Then I ask for a volunteer to decorate these heads.
Here senior Melissa Ongko has volunteered to do the honors.

Now let's take a peek at a few at their results.
We start with Melissa's Before & After.
She came to me with about 9th grade drawing skills already in place
and ended up at college level skills.
She was partnered with junior Michelle Hyun.
Michelle's auntie was a student of mine back in the day.
That's when you know you are getting really old.
Hee hee

Next up is junior Tiffany Chen
Her skills were pretty remarkable in her Before 
and her After is exquisite!
She nailed junior Willam Tan.

Junior Sarah Oh came in with about 11th grade skills 
and ended up with a drawing of senior Christley Agbaroji that is almost photorealistic.

And we end with junior Christian Balbido and his Before and After of senior Deborah Harris.
Remarkable isn't it?

Wednesday, February 21, 2018


heavy duty bar blender, materials to make paper pulp from, strainer, tons of sponges & flat felt pieces, molds & deckles in different sizes, scraps of colored papers for their dye properties,
big tupperware vats to suspend water/pulp mixture in and a big pressing board

Every couple of years I bring back this assignment.
I only do it with a small number of kids because it makes such a huge mess, 
and the supplies needed take up so much space,
plus there are never enough sinks for the clean up.
But I love to do the demo.!
It's so much fun to pull a piece of handmade paper.

This first light blue paper was one of my demos.
Besides grinding up cotton rag pulp & lite blue tissue paper in the bar blender,
I also added dried Marigold petals,
and small bits of broken up dried leaves to the liquefied vat mixture.
I had plucked a few fresh Freesia blooms from Josh's succulent garden outside my classroom door,
not sure how I was going to incorporate them.
I ended up floating them on top of the vat mix right before I pulled the piece of paper.
I liked how 2 of them overlapped,
and the one above is slightly off centered.  
But what was really cool to see was all the pigment each blossom contained
and how it had leached onto the paper and changed its color during the pressing process over nite.
In case you'd like to give this project a try,
I want to say that I bought the bar blenders at Smart & Final,
and made my mold & deckles as well as the ginormous pressing board.

These next works were a few that senior Shreya Sheth pulled.
Both she and senior Jacqueline Yu had to do several in various techniques
 to meet the minimum requirements.
Sorry Jacq,
I thought I had photoed a few of yours as well, 
but can't find them.
In this first piece we are seeing,
Shreya did not add color and was hoping for the plant to leach her paper
which it did.
I can't remember what plant she used from around the campus,
but I love the delicate quality of it's embossed design.
In this paper she had to pull two separate sheets,
lay the plant material down on top of one of them,
then lay the other paper on top of that to sandwich the plants.
Then she put it under enormous pressure over nite
we were delighted when we saw this the next day.
We all loved it!
Looks like she also floated dried & broken up leaves in her pulp. 

This was one of her final pieces.
Here she had to pull a paper that was a bit thicker then her others
because she was required to lay it over top something 3-dimensional and press all around it so that it conformed to her subject.
After she pulled the paper she coached it with sponges and got most all the drippy moisture out
before she laid it on her face.
What a great subject, right??
Clever girl!
(when I tried this technique,
 I laid my paper over top our organ keyboard and it turned out really cool,
although the moisture in the paper probably wasn't too good for the inner workings of the board,
this was when I was in my teens and my mom got pretty mad at me,
ha ha)

So in this closeup we can see hand stitch and beading (upper right)
plus tiny thin pieces of thread floating in the pulp mixture.
Plus I love that she added in the dried roses (above).
I always have dried flowers about my room for the kids to incorporate into their art pieces.

Shreya's final piece she pulled was turned into the Mixed Media piece 
featured last week on the 16th called A Real Big Mix.
This was the largest piece each gal made with a bit of extra thickness as well
so it wouldn't fall apart when they machine stitched on it.
I hope you will scroll back and take another look-see.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018


2012 Alumni and best friends Alyssa Olea and Alex Tudor 
are taking a ceramics throwing class at Cypress College (my alma mater),
and are in the process of learning to throw on the potter's wheel.
One of the techniques the instructor uses is to have them blindfold each other 
to practice all the steps and to reinforce them in the brain.
Alyssa was my clay student back in the day and went thru 2 years of ceramics with me.
And since her graduation she has been assisting me in my classroom
loading kilns, mixing glazes, hanging art walls, entering my grades into the computer and helping to prep all the classes I teach everyday.
I don't know how I ever did it all without her..
She is hoping to one day take over for me when I retire and is currently in art school.
Both she and Alex were anxious about being blindfolded but ended up really enjoying the process,
and recommended I try it with my clay students.
I have a group of five 2nd year students that are also just learning to throw,
so I think I will offer extra credit if they give it a try and actually get a pot.  
Alyssa is in deep right brain here feeling her way thru all the steps.
I'm thinking of trying this myself.
I'm really curious about it.
Most of their pots they threw that night.

Happy girls,
and very cool pot Alex!

Monday, February 19, 2018


and we missed it.
We chose to stay down below for the 3 day weekend.
Our dear friend and neighbor sent me this pix this morning from his cabin.
Looks like we got a good 2-3 inches.
Hoping it will be there next weekend.

Sadly we've had only 2 inches of rain this year so we really needed this snow.
The trees are so thirsty.
I've got my fingers crossed for a lot more rain & snow to come.

Sunday, February 18, 2018


watercolor on cold pressed w/c paper

In 4th Quarter I take my students thru an intensive study of watercolor.
Those pieces will be coming up next week.
But in the meantime,
 I want to show off  a little extra credit opportunity they had
after the unit was over.
It went like this.
Pick a subject and draw it in segments or fractures,
and do the same with the background.
Then watercolor each fracture a different value or color.
These two in  particular came out really well.

Junior Vaishalee Chaudhary took to the watercolor like a duck to water.
She enjoyed it so very much that she created several other pieces during 4th Quarter
for pure pleasure.and was thrilled that this very tricky medium was easy for her.

What I loved that both girls did is they weren't afraid to mix colors.
So many students limit themselves to using only the pure colors in the watercolor packet.
They don't think to mix them to lower the intensity and and bring up the saturation.
So their pieces seem so trite.
But both these gals mixed and mixed and came up with subtle low key color combos.
Oh, by the way,
this clever piece was done by senior Melissa Ongko.

Friday, February 16, 2018


handmade paper, vintage  dyed fabrics, machine & hand stitch, pencil, watercolor & handspun yarn

A lot of ingredients went in to this piece inspired by the works of British Artist
I found her on Face Book a few years ago and very much liked what she was doing at the time,
so I purchased one of her pieces.
Note: if you go to her website now she has moved in a different direction.
I brought the piece into my classroom last year for my students to see
 and both seniors Shreya and Jacq loved her work.
So I asked if they would like to try something similar on one of the larger handmade papers
 they were pulling at the time.
Here are the results.

This first one was done by Jacqueline Yu.
I especially like the machine stitching she did,
and how her non-objective subject looks a bit like a cross.
or maybe a witch's profile.

And next is Shreya Sheth.
I don't know if you can see that the texture of each of their handmade papers is a bit different,
but Jacq's is smooth and Shreya's textural.
Both girls had cool deckled edges on their paper 
and of course I loved that Shreya incorporated a bit of her hand spun yarn.

Thursday, February 15, 2018


cotton squares, gloves, indigo vat & various items to clamp & resist with

To put gloves on or not to and risk their parent's wrath,
that is the big question these kids face before they dip their cotton bundles into the Shibori bucket.
Youngster Annie Nguyen did not want to risk it
so on the glove went,
but good old 8th grader James Lara went for it
knowing his parents would hopefully be cool with it.
And they were.
He even added a bit of decor with a marker.
They crack me up!

Here are a couple of the 7th graders results from 4th Quarter.
We begin with Hannah Narcelles.
I choose hers because of the upward diagonal movement she was able achieve.
Feels so much like a turbulent sky right before the sun comes out.

With Serah Park's I felt like we were looking thru a microscope at the splitting of cells.

And I can see partial faces in Jennifer Corrales' square.  
Almost like looking at a sonogram of a fetus.

Very cool work young ones!