Monday, April 30, 2018


polymer clay & toaster oven

This is a wonderful mixed grade level (8-12) group of kids,
many of them 8th graders who enjoyed the Art Wheel class last year.
They have a lot of creative & positive energy,
and jumped in with both feet on this first Color Theory Assignment.
Instead of mixing paint like we do in the 2-D class,
we mix polymer clay colors to make the colors on the color wheel 
as well as all the tints and shades,
plus grey and brown.
Next I teach them several design techniques that they turn into beads & buttons.
And we bake & string them.
Here are the entire classes string of beads & buttons,
all 31 of them.
They turn them in strung in the order that we made them,
with all their extras on each end.
A couple close-ups.
I especially enjoyed the mermaid and turtle.

Sunday, April 29, 2018


Our lone Cherry and Forest Pancy have come back
 and are going gangbusters up on the mountain.

Friday, April 27, 2018


Oh My!
I came back to school from over this last weekend 
and the Amaryllis bulbs had opened up.
They are crazy big this year and have multiplied.
Our photography students have been shooting them for subject matter.
Makes me ridiculously happy!

Thursday, April 26, 2018



The second stop on our adventure was to a section of L.A. called Echo Park & Angeleno Heights.

Angeleno Heights is one of the oldest suburbs in Los Angeles,
dating back to 1886.
It is situated within neighboring districts of Chinatown and Echo Park.

This neighborhood is known for its concentration of eclectic architectural styles form thee eras:
The Victorian, Turn of the Century and Revival eras.
Image result
We really enjoyed looking at all the marvelous old homes,
and I found out that once a month you can take a walking tour of the area
which includes going into at least 2 of the homes.
Related image
Sorry these pix are a bit grainy.
Image result

Our next stop was to Echo Park.
Parking around it's lake was a bit challenging.
It was early afternoon when we arrived and the park was packed with sun bathers,
homeless encampments (my first get close experience with this).
food vendors,
visitors from out of town,
runners & walkers,
people doing yoga & lots of families riding on the lake in swan boats.
The swan boats were really cool,
and it was a warm day so a lot of them were being paddled under the water fountain.
In the distance you can see how close many of the downtown skyscrapers are to this part of L.A.
The best part for Zach, Nicole and I us was the wildlife at the lake.
It was filled with all sorts of fish, frogs, ducks, geese and a crazy big number of turtles.
And even though the water was a bit brackish,
you could still see thru it enough to see the fishes.
I loved all the lily pads and many were in bloom.
There were bridges to cross and a pathway leading all the way around the lake.
It was pretty darn big.
In the lower left corner here you can see a group of turtles who had come out of the water
 to sun themselves.
It was especially fun to see all the newborn turtles with their mommys.
We saw hundreds.
We enjoyed seeing the sights here but I have to be honest,
the numbers of homeless people here were a bit overwhelming & disconcerting.
The homeless problems you've been hearing about on the news 
for Orange & L.A. Counties is not an exaggeration.
And the needles, condoms and excrement the children have to walk thru
 on a daily basis to get to school is horrendous.
I hope there is a solution soon.
It's turned into a real nightmare.

 I probably won't be back unless I go for the walking tour of the historic homes.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018



Every so often I see advertisements for this crafty store in Los Angles called French General,
but I've never been,
so it's been on my bucket list for quite some time now.
And for my birthday my son and his fiance' invited me up for the weekend
and asked what I'd like to do.
Since they live above L.A. in the valley,
 I thought maybe we could we could kill two birds with one stone and visit French General 
then look around the little part of L.A. that's called Echo Park.
It was recently written up in my AAA auto club magazine and seemed fascinating.
So off we went.
From Canoga Park it took about a 1/2 hour to reach in Saturday traffic.

Our first stop was to French General.
It was housed in an isolated and scary part of town,
was painted a bright pink,
 and had bars on all the doors and windows.
When we parked and  got out we weren't real sure if we wanted to go in.
Ha ha
To get in we had to ring a bell,
were examined behind the barred door, 
and eventually deemed worthy to be let in.
But it was so worth it because it was a magical place inside.
Mostly antique craft supplies from France.
Buttons, pins, spools of thread,
quilts, furniture, dishes, tools, scissors,
oh my,
 and so many handmade knick-knacks.
I thought I had died and gone to heaven.
My son not so much,
but he is used to going with me to places like this and has the patience of a saint.
His fiance' really enjoyed the store.  
Her mother is a quilter and she was able to pick up several treasures for her for Xmas.
The best treasure I found was this antique & handcrafted spool rack below.
The price was pretty hefty so I asked if all the spools of thread came with it,
and the gal said sure.
take them.
We must have spent a good hour there,
and I really recommend a visit.
I'll be back for sure.

Thanks Zach & Nicole for making my wish come true.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018


Several of you wrote in asking about the threads I used in my Charlotte Lyon piece
 that I posted yesterday.
I found them on Amazon under Perle' Cottons.
They came in this sweet little box,
are size 8,
and yes, 
they are all variegated.

What I really liked was that they all looked good together
 so I didn't need to make color choices at the beginning of the project.

Monday, April 23, 2018


I recently discovered Crafts artist Charlotte Lyons 
as I was looking for embroidery ideas on Pinterest.
I went onto her site and found that she sells her hand drawn designs
for you to embroider.
So I chose one of her simpler ones and thoroughly enjoyed stitching it with a limited palette
of #8 Perle Cottons.

Now to mount and frame it.
Feels so good to finish something!

Sunday, April 22, 2018


doweling, polymer clay, clear nail polish, food dyes & wool yarn

Meet Rachel Kannampuzhz and her yummy colors her has created with food dyes and Polymer clay.
She is the other lone ranger in my 2nd year 3-D class.
In Period 3 this year I have thirty 3-D beginners and Rachel.
She was one of my top 3-D beginners last year
 and I was delighted to get her back into the fold this year for the Intermediate class.
Her first assignment was to make her own knitting needles out of doweling
with coping saw, sand paper and wax for her needles,
and to sculpt knobs from Polymer clay.
At the same time she was also required to mix up several colors of food dyes
to dye her wool skein with,
and to make sure those colors would flow visually when knitted together at a later date.
I've got 2 shots of her knobs.
I like the top one the best for the rose forms she made,
but even with color correction I couldn't show the real colors until I took another photo below.

I look forward to sharing Rachel and more of her pieces in the coming months.
She astounds me on every assignment with her critical thinking skills,
especially when she works most of the period without my guidance 
because I'm being pulled in 30 different directions by the beginners.
Thank you Rachel for your constant understanding and patience.

Thursday, April 19, 2018


One of the many reasons I love my job so much 
is getting to watch the very loving and sweet interactions of the kids with each other.

I feel we are a special place here at Whitney High.
We are a family.
Many of us teach the children for 6 years,
and we get to watch them mature and grow up.

Here are one year apart siblings, 
Simi & Manishka Ranjit,
 admiring the clay wind chime piece after it was strung together at the beginning of this year. 
Both these girls enjoy and have art running thru their veins.

They had no idea I was taking a picture of them,
but I just love their closeness and how connected they are to each other.
Both have been in several of my art classes over the years
and often use the art room as their refuge during lunch and after school.
I enjoy their company so very much.

I can remember back in the day 
when the Ceramics room at Sunny Hills High School (1972-74)
was my refuge as well.
My clay teacher,
Sally Foster Wilde,
 was the first person in my life who recognized in me design & craftsmanship potential,
built up my confidence,
and nurtured me thru those turbulent high school days.
While everyone else was smoking pot in the parking lot and on the athletic fields,
 I was in the clay room helping Sally to load a kiln,
or finish a project.
I continued to see her once a year at the Laguna Beach Sawdust Festival
where she had a booth selling her pottery for over 50 years.
If she wasn't in her booth,
 I would write her a note thanking her for all the encouragement she had given me,
and to keep her abreast of all my schooling and jobs in the art field.
This last year was the first time that she wasn't there.
She moved from her home in Laguna to a cabin in Montana.
She must be in her 80's or early 90's now.
She never aged and continued to be a tease & jokster, 
with an energetic childlike spontaneity & curious nature.
I will never forget her,
and the powerful impact she had on my life.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018


graphite on paper & colored pencil accents

I have been blessed with a hugely talented group of 7th graders this year.
Let's meet a few.

This very sophisticated design was created by Emily Ahn
I love how much energy she put into this
 and how many additional Value Scales she was able to come up with
going above and beyond for extra credit.

This delicate bugs journey was drawn by Serena Lee
She also incorporated colored pencil accents for a bit of extra credit.

Two lovely leafs came in.
The one above was done by Shaniya Gentry 
and below we have Alanna Chan.
Leaves make a wonderful subject for so many different projects.

In this next one,
 Alia Cortez's subject is drinking a Starbucks coffee 
and the rim of the cup is her clever Value Scale.

And lastly we have Eileen Rodriguez Salehi with this well planned out design
which contains several Value Scales.

These young 7th graders just amazing me with their creative designs
and how they aren't afraid to bring in colored pencil work even though we haven't covered it yet.
Bravo young ones! 

Tuesday, April 17, 2018


graphite on bristol board with collage paper frame

Senior Samantha Tun is the lone ranger in my Advanced 2-D class,
that's 3rd year drawing, painting and design.
For her 1st assignment she had 3 days to create a 15 step Value Scale
(not an easy task).
Using a cityscape is a great place to line up values next to each other,
but it was her collage frame that caught my eye. 
I really like how she combined the old Hymnal paper with the tye-dye pieces.
Note also how she splashed paint on the under black border to help the drawing pop.
A really fun piece to start the year off with.

Sunday, April 15, 2018


graphite on bristol board

Meet a few of my 2nd year 2-D art students.
Their job to start the year off was to design a 10 step value scale.
The results were noteworthy.
Let's see.

We begin with extraordinarily talented senior Mary Kim
who turned the bottom of her tennis shoe into a 10 step scale.
Also notice the scales in the top and bottom of her border treatment.

We have two gorgeous bird designs next.
The one above by is done by senior Christian Balbido,
who if you look carefully,
 has created three 10 step scales,
going way beyond the minimum requirement.

And not to be outdone is senior Tiffany Chen,
who has also drawn at least 3 scales.

Just beautiful work you three.
For your first assignment of the year I am very impressed with your efforts.

An aside.
Know that these kids only had 2 days time to create them.

Thursday, April 12, 2018


Let's get the 2017-2018 School Year Started

Beginning 2-D Art
tempera on bristol board w/ some colored pencil accents

I'm so sorry to have gone on so long getting last school year finished.
Perhaps there was way more to post then normal,
or I'm just not pacing myself like I should.
Whichever it is,
possibly a combo. of both,
let me get this 2018 year started!

I'd like to start by introducing you to my Beginning 2-D kids.
I feel so very lucky to have such a cohesive group this year to work with.
They are so with me everyday,
coming in each morning with huge smiles on their sweet faces ready to work.
Many of them are 8th graders this year,
several of my best 7th graders from the Art Wheel last year.
So let's see what they are creating.

One of my many superstars this year is 11th grader Jessica Mones.
I worked with her in 7th grade and she stood out for so many reasons.
Her biggest one being her positivity and passion for the arts.
The kids had a choice to put their Color Wheel on one paper and their Color Schemes on another;
or for extra credit,
to design everything to fit on one paper.
Jessica made the 2nd choice happen with her fun and creative composition.

Another beginner who is really standing out this year is junior Steffany Reyes.
Frequently Steffany does a minimum of 2 pieces to everyone else's one.
She is that fast and competent.
If she goes on in art,
 that will serve her well in the work force.
So many times artists work too slowly and can't meet deadlines.
Not Steffany.

Here is one of the amazing 8th graders I was talking about earlier from the Art Wheel last year.
She is Madison Plotkin,
and if you put her name in my search engine you can pull up her pieces from last year.
She has incredible talent in design and craftsmanship,
and is very interested in going on in the arts.
She participates in every art contest available to further hone her skills.
She is a winner already!

Up next we have one of the best artist's in the class,
junior Manishka Ranjit.
She has been drawing all her life and she is bringing to the table remarkable designs
like this Color Wheel/Color Scheme piece.
Frequently she asks to work larger then the other kids,
and I allow her too because I know she will deliver.
She was also in the Art Wheel 4 years ago and I've been anxiously awaiting her return.
Can't wait to see what she will produce as a junior.

Monday, April 9, 2018



Most every year I think,
this has been the very best year of my teaching career.
The most artistically talented students,
the coolest projects,
the sweetest group of kids.
Well this group of seniors was all of that and so much more.

I have known most all of you since your 7th grade year in Art Wheel
when you were squirrelly youngsters 
trying so hard to figure out how to keep your hands to yourselves,
how to not run in my classroom,
how to stay focused,
how to follow directions,
how to clean up after yourselves,
how not to be a noob sauce.
Ha ha

Well most of you figured it out.
There still may be one or two noobs in the bunch,
always is.
But seriously,
know that I'm so very proud of how hard you've worked for me
and this school.
I love you all.
You are such good and fine people,
the best of the best,
and I'm very blessed that all of you passed thru my life.

know that you are forever in my heart,
and on my mind.
Just because you are gone doesn't mean I still don't think about you,
and wonder how you all are doing.
And most importantly,
are you keeping art in your life??

I hope that I've instilled in all of you a new aesthetic,
to be able to find beauty all around you.

I also hope I was a positive example.
To find humor even in the hardest of times.
To forgive.
To always do your best and work your hardest.
To step up and tell the truth,
and to be able to apologize when you've messed up.
To not procrastinate,
I know that's a hard one,
 even for me.
To be kind and respectful.
To contribute to society and give back.
To make a difference.

I hope I've made a small difference in all of your lives.
I will miss you,
and know that it was such a pleasure and a gift for me to be your teacher.
I send you off with lots of love.
And may life hold much happiness for you.

Last Day of the 2016-2017 School Year in the Art Room.