Tuesday, October 30, 2018


A preview of my son & his fiance's engagement photos.
Are they going to make some beautiful babies or what?
It's getting so real,
with the excitement building.
I'm so thrilled they have found each other and that Nicole is the one.
Thank you Nicole for making my son so very happy,
for loving him as hard as you do,
and bringing so much joy, fun & adventure into his life.
You two are so perfect together.
Photos shot by Brett Gover,
Zach's lifelong friend.
Thank you Brett, 
these are beautifully done.

Monday, October 29, 2018


...to my 1st Quarter 7th Graders this year.
It was bittersweet today as I bid these characters aidu.
They have left a big impression on my heart for their innocence,
sweetness, co-operation, and enthusiasm.
But I know they must move on for more fun adventures and learning at our school.
Some will go to Drama next, others to Global & Study Skills.
But I know they will be back to visit.
Especially at Open House time to see all their beautiful work on display with their parents.
Here are many of my favs above,
 right after working in the Indigo Dye Bucket on their Shibori project.
We've got Andrea, Meera, Shreya, Kevin, Genesis, Ashley, Aiden & Shawn.
I hope you all will carry art in your heart for the rest of your life,
I know you all will be in my heart.

Saturday, October 27, 2018


Towards the end of last school year 
I signed up for my first online workshop with superstar eco-dyer India Flint.
It was called Bagstories and we were hand stitching a Bento type bag (Japanese)
that India calls a Wanderbeutel.
She had us pull together and use an assortment of odds and ends from our fabric stashes.
I used the pieces below;
Eco-Bundled, Shibori w/ Rust, & Solar Printed.
Part One was to cut 50 squares of fabric, 
that I cut to 3" by 3".
If I ever make another bag I will go bigger to 4" by 4". 

Part Two was to sew them together into little pillows.
Then Part Three was to sew each pillow closed
and if you wanted to add some embroidery stitching.

Part Four,
 to arrange them in a certain pleasing pattern
and then to sew them all together.
I also added buttons to give mine a bit of a snazzy spark.

Some close=ups.

And tah-dah!
The finished bag!
Part Five was to sew it together like a Bento Bag,
which was super tricky and a secret not to be revealed!
Other side.

And Part Six was to add a shoulder strap out of fabric.
But I wanted something different then the others in the class,
so I pulled out all my eco-bundling strings I had saved,
choose the ones that had the flavor of the squares and crocheted 2 straps,
tying them together into a top knot.
I also used the string to wrap around two "D" shaped metal rings,
then sewed the straps to the rings.
  To connect the whole enchilada I sewed the rings onto the corners of the bag.

The closure was the trickiest part.
It was optional but I did it because I wanted my bag to stay closed.
So again back to the strings where I messed around 
and figured out how to crochet two triangles
 that I sewed into the "V" shaped openings in the middle of both sides.
But there was a revolting development.
The bag wouldn't close right and looked funny so back to the drawing board,
and 3 triangles later I had a closure that actually looked good and worked.
And the perfect antique button finished it off.

one more problemo,
It wouldn't sit right.
So I found some plastic needlepoint stuff,
cut it to fit into the bottom just right,
then surrounded it with the most beautiful piece of silk eco-printed fabric 
from my friend and fellow fiber artist extraordinaire Michelle Hoffee.
And there it was, 
finally finished almost 7-8 months later.
I know,
I'm really slow.
All the other Bagsters have made at least 3 to my 1 but I'm just thrilled I even finished one.

Thursday, October 25, 2018


What's really strange is that whenever we participate in the statewide Shake Out in October,
it always feels like earthquake weather.
The Santa Ana's (heavy blowing winds) have dried out the humidity from summer,
it's unusually warm that day,
and if you are a native Californian it just feels like earthquake weather in your gut.
This feeling was debunked the other day on the radio,
but a lot of us Californians feel this way.
Here is my class in the middle row surrounded by 6 other classes.
This just represents a small portion of the entire school.
I couldn't get my camera to shoot all the classes out in the field.
Notice how we are the only group sitting on the grass?
It's because I told the students to bring their stitching out with them
 so we wouldn't lose any class time on their Eco-Dye Banners,
their current final.
Here is our team leader of the class,
senior Chloe Chang,
a ceramics and crafts student extraordinaire.
She actually took it upon herself to grab the helmet that each teacher has in their room,
and our first aid kit,
something she knew I'd probably forget to bring out.
She knows me well,
ha ha!
She looks so adorable in the cap that I told her to keep it on.
Notice her stitching in her hand?
Here is a close-up of all my cuties stitching away.
And below we have a group of senior beauties happy to be out in the beautiful weather;
Denise, Victoria, Taylor, Hailey and Valeree.
I've known these sweet young women since they were little 7th graders.
It's such a treat to have them back with me all grown up.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018


A special request was made by our library tech Jennifer Castillo- Hernandez 
at the beginning of the school year.
She asked me if I had any students who would be able to paint a watercolor of her daughter
from a photo she had taken over the summer.
I immediately thought of both 2018 alums Tiffany Chen and Sarah Oh
Both can watercolor beautifully.
Sarah was too busy with the start of her new school but Tiffany was able to do it.
So here is her interpretation of Jen's daughter.
Lovely Tiff!
I believe this was taken in the Long Beach Marina Harbor at Mother's Beach.
I think Jen and her kids were there watching our JAWS Dragon Boat team practice.
Jen is a huge supporter of our students,
and the kids here at Whitney adore her.
I really love how Tiffany handles the sand,
brilliant job woman!
And I also really like the delicate transparency and feel of the work as well.
The implied ink lines help to pop the subjects.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018


scrap fabric, sewing machine 

This is a unit for my 2nd year 3-D class where they are learning to use the sewing machine
in order to create an Art Quilt.
First we spend a week learning to use the machine
and piece fabric together.
Then several more weeks are used to teach Fiber Artist Gwen Marston's Liberated technique
to build an Art Quilt.
( took a class from her years ago that was fabulous
 and it opened up my quilts to being so much more creative/freeform)
about 2000-2001
In the Liberated technique,
no patterns or templates are used.
You design as you go.
Here is lone 3-D 2nd year student,
senior Rachel Kannampuzha,
 at her sewing machine.
I provide the machines. 
I thrift, rescue and restore them so I have a full class set.
I even have 5 Featherweights if the kids want to sew on one of them.
I love to share those sweet machines with the kids.
They fall in love.
Or maybe it's love at first sight.
Hee hee
Here is Rachel's finished quilt.
She chose to do 3 very different landscapes and pulled them together with the floral fabric.
Most all the fabric is donated or thrifted,
and is washed and sorted into bags that flow visually together.
When I have more then one student we lottery the bags so all is fair,
I even get to pick one to use as my demo bag.
Last year with Rachel,
 I picked the handdyed bag 
but I got so busy I wasn't able to finish my demo.
Rachel was also taught to machine quilt her pieced top to batting and backside
as well as how to make a professional binding.
I want you to check out all the quilting she did in every section.
She really enjoyed this learning experience 
as well as being able to design her own patterns and to work so freely.
I just enjoyed working with Rachel because she is such a great designer and craftswoman,
and she takes direction so beautifully.
You are missed very much this year Rachel.
Hoping you are enjoying your first year of college.

A close-up of the hand ties Rachel used in her border areas.

Monday, October 22, 2018


acrylic paint in tubes, brushes & water on canvas

My first experience with acrylic was not good.
It was in junior college and we were told what to buy,
then left on our own to figure out how to use it.
The teacher would disappear for the entire class.
There were no demonstrations,
no discussions, no critiques.
It was a big fail.
And of course I thought it was me.
So before I have the students work in acrylic,
I have them paint realistically in Tempera first in the 4th Quarter of the Beginning 2-D class.
Even though the paint binders are completely different,
the drying time is similar,
You must work quickly.
So it's a pretty natural transition to acrylic by the time the kids reach the 3rd year level.
Both media clean up with water,
the only difference is is that if you wait too long to rinse the acrylic paint from your brush,
the Polymer base (glue) will dry in the brush,
leaving it a dead solider.
This is the work of senior Samantha Tun.
She was my sole 3rd year 20-d student last year.
I had Sam do several small samplers first,
3" by 3"
all in different styles,
large stokes versus small,
points versus hatchure strokes,
and different shading techniques:
Monochromatic, Analogous and Complimentary. 
When she felt comfortable I asked her to set up her own Still Life.
Sam took to the acrylic like a duck to water and this was her result.
I was really impressed with her skill level and craftsmanship
 and everyone enjoyed her Still Life she had set up with her sketchbook,
 diary nail polish and alarm clock.
The life of an art student.

Sunday, October 21, 2018


clay, sawdust firing, beeswax, metallic rubbing compounds & embellishments

For many years now the beginners in clay have done this candle holder assignment 
as a lead in to more difficult slab constructions.
They learn new embossing techniques and how to roll beeswax candles 
which they love.
Some also choose to add beads and rafia to their candles to spruce them up.  
After the bisque firing we sawdust fire them for an earthy look.  
Some of the students then choose to rub them with metallic compounds to add color.
They take them home the day they leave for their two week winter break.
I buy the beeswax in kits from Magic Cabin.
It's a bit pricey but so worth the fun and smiles it produces.
The kids love picking their colors to make tapers with.
And they also love having a finished product to take home for a gift.

Friday, October 19, 2018


graphite & colored pencil accents

Let me introduce you
 to probably one of the most talented 7th graders I had the pleasure of working with last year,
Itzel Huerta.
The piece above was the very first piece she created for me
 and when she turned it in I was blown out of the water.
Can you find her 3 value scales in the piece?

this is so not 7th grade level.
I was absolutely delighted to have her aboard.
And lucky for me she is back this year for more!

Another awesome talent was Jaden Sioson
Almost everything he created was shared with the class.
His designs were always outstanding.

And then there was Mai-ly Dinh.
What a super fun imaginative piece!
I adored it!
Feels to me like an illustration for a children's book.
And check out how she used the colored pencil in the tree area.
Fabulous texture by using circles of color.

And then there was Raiche Gutierrez with this super cool piece.
Where do these kids come up with these great design ideas????
And then to already know how to work with colored pencil.
Truly remarkable.

I am a lucky woman!!!

Thursday, October 18, 2018


charcoal & eraser

The students always surprise themselves with how well their pieces turn out 
when they use this reductive process.
And it's so simple and requires very little tools.
Basically they coat an entire sheet of good drawing paper with a charcoal stick,
then using a Kleenex,
they gently blend it all together so the entire piece of paper is a solid black.
Next up is erasing out their image.
The more they erase in one area the lighter the values become
so it's a great way to lead into light and shadow.
The pieces are usually quite striking when done.
Let's see.

This first fabulous work was done by senior Christian Balbido.
Loved the relaxed and emotive pose of the photograph he brought in to work from.
Terrific diagonals lead your eye thru the piece but not off it.

In this next beauty by senior Tiffany Chen,
she has chosen to come back over top her contour edges with a charcoal pencil to tighten them up
which gives this piece a sharper in focus look.
What all of them have in common is that they had to pick a photo with a 3/4 view,
a very difficult pose to draw the head in.

Senior Sarah Oh has chosen a timely topic to work in which is suicide.
The kids learned in the Beginning 2-D class that there are 3 main parts to a work of art;
the subject, the form and the content or message,
the content/message being the most important of the 3.
And even though her message was upsetting,
the skill with which she executed this was outstanding.

William Tan,
now an Architecture Major at Cal Poly Pomona,
(both my son & daughter's Alma Mater),
has chosen a complex subject to draw because of the age of the face.
The middle aged face is tricky because lines are just starting to develop
as well as gowls and bigger bags under the eyes.
So William was forced to put in a lot more attention to detail to be able to pull off this face.
(Sorry about the color William,
 I couldn't get it to go from Sepia to grays & black on my computer).

And lastly we have senior Mary Kim who picked the hardest photo of all,
this elderly couple.
But man oh an did she nail them!
I think the head and facial hair are especially wonderful
as well as her range of values and craftsmanship.
A remarkable work Mary.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018



that there was at least one more Oil Pastel from the 2nd Quarter Art Wheel group.
Turns out there were two.
What I especially appreciated about these two pieces were that the kids Zentangled over top 
the pastel with pencil point.
It adds so much visual texture and pattern to the art piece
which is always a great thing. 
This top one was the work of Krystal Lin.
I adore her color choices!
And the bottom one belongs to Kayla Vicencio.
Note the way Kayla applied her pastel in her foreground, 
with pointillist marks.
Also Krystal is working in an Analogous Color Scheme,
and Kayla is using a Primary Color Scheme.
Bravo young ones!

Monday, October 15, 2018


James Vincent Sposa II,
my husband, 
has brought so much happiness and joy into my life since the moment I met him on April 19, 2009. 
He makes me laugh and guffaw every single day.
He is my biggest fan, 
and he lets me fly my freak flag whenever I want
which is often
ha ha.

He cries at sappy movies (melts my heart).
He has loved and supported my children as his own since the day he met them,
and he will patiently visit as many art stores as I want to stop at.
He is up for any adventure I suggest,
and he picks up after me.

He greets me at my car everyday when I pull into the garage
and unpacks my lunch pail.
He makes sure I don't sleep past my 3rd alarm in the morning,
will surprise visit me at school with flowers, balloons, and plants,
and manages my thrifting business up in the mountains.
He rescues me when I run out of gas or get myself into accidents,
and doesn't make me feel bad when I screw up,
which is often.
He tends to my wounds which are plentiful since I am clumsy and hurt myself often.
He is especially patient with my growing loss of hearing and eyesight,
which I'm sure is pretty darn annoying to him
hee hee.
He fixes everything that breaks, 
and never procrastinates.
He shares his yummy food, milkshakes and ice cream with me when we go out,
cuz he knows I won't order those things for myself,
and he always tells me how nice I look no matter how many extra pounds I put on.
 He has the dog whisperer touch and is the best dad to our pup Sophie Jean.
He is an artist, inventor and a musician 
with all kinds of surprises awaiting me when I get home from work.
I never know what he will create next.

James you are my partner in crime,
my best friend, husband and the love of my life.
I'm so happy and thankful that I found you.
You were sent by an angel. 
I love you,
and can't wait to celebrate your birthday when I get home from school today.

Sunday, October 14, 2018


dyed wool rovings, wash board, hot water, soap

Some years I have the kids work & felt over a children's bouncy ball from the grocery store,
but senior Rachel Kannampuzha wanted to try felting a 3-d form from scratch.
I had her watch several you-tube videos before she began.
She understood how to felt flat because we did that in the Beginning 3-D class.
so this was a natural transition that she really enjoyed.
Rachel especially loved working with the colors I had available that I had purchased from
Gleason's Fine Woolie's Ranch in Lyons Colorado.
She also was required to learn how to do basketry coiling 
so she could incorporate it into her piece.
She ended up using it as an ending lip treatment.
I really loved the contrast between the cool color on the inside and the warms on the outside.
A stunning piece Rachel!
Very proud of you.