Saturday, March 30, 2019


deconstructed leather jackets, pearle cottons, waxed linens & misc. papers

For the past several years I've had the kids learn bookbinding techniques
by making their journals with their tye-dye cottons.
We would quilt the pieces together for the front and back covers,
roll the edges over to bound pieces together,
and then bind their papers inside.
But after watching a youtube video of an artist using a leather cover,
I thought it might be fun to change up the assignment a bit. 
Was it as successful as I had hoped?
Let's take a look.
In this first piece by 8th grader Bhumika Kalaimalai,
I appreciated all the effort she put into embellishing her lovely front cover.
Because I had all different kinds of leather for the kids to choose from,
some pieces were more easily sewn thru than others.
Bhu picked a suede and I know she was able to deal with it pretty well.
Others struggled more with the thicker, tougher leathers.

Here we see senior Inna Sikar's pieced together journal.
I love that she thought to do this,
but it did take her a lot of extra time and effort,
but I felt was so worth it.

Next we see senior Hana Kim's suede journal completely opened up.
Love how she brought her delicate design to both front and back covers.

This was a really playful cover made by junior Kareema Mohamed.
I believe her piece was a bit more challenging to sew thru.
So way to hang in there K.

Junior Kiana Hernandez chose the suede and was able to put in a lot of inticate embroidery.

Senior Ricky Gallardo thought to applique cotton fabric overtop parts of his leather.
I also enjoyed the blanket stitching he brought along the edges.

8th grader Sophia Oporto brought in some of her own leather pieces 
and went all out with these dimensional flowers.

And sweet 8th grader Yusuf Karan created the most interesting closure on his cat journal.

I'm going to try it one more time this year, 
but I'll be giving the students the choice between using leather or their handmade felt pieces.
Or possible a combo of both.
Should be interesting.

Thursday, March 28, 2019


After more than seven years together,
buying a home, 
3 cats and a saltwater aquarium full of fish and coral,
these two adventurers have finally gotten married in front of family and friends
on the big Island of Hawaii, Kona side.
They are world travelers together in search of the perfect scuba dive areas,
the coolest waterfall hikes, 
and the deepest gorges they can climb down into.
They are also crossfit partners and instructors 
where almost the entire gym membership joined us for the wedding.
Here are just a couple of the many photos that were taken.

Our lovely bride being walked down the ocean path by her father
who is also a crossfit gym member and retired Navy nuclear submarine captain.
Note the gorgeous island flower bouquets and hair pieces.

Almost all the wedding party on the most beautiful clear Hawaiian day. 
All my son's best friends as groomsmen.
Zach met them on his first day of kindergarten in the late 1980's,
and they have remained friends thru boyscouts and so much more.

The bride and groom being introduced by Nicole's brother who officiated the ceremony 
as the newly Mr. & Mrs.

And their first kiss as man and wife.
One of the best days of my life.

More to follow eventually of this week long adventure.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019


While in Art School the Figure never came easily for me.
It still doesn't.
But for two of my students,
one past and one present,
 they nail it like the champs they are.

We start with 9th grader Madison Plotkin,
one of the most artistically talented students I've ever had the pleasure to teach;
first in the Art Wheel in her 7th grade year,
then in Beginning 2-D Art last year.
Sadly she couldn't fit in my 2nd level 2-D class this year
(she had to start her Foreign Language)
so after school I recommended the Ryman Arts Program for High Schoolers.
It's an art program connected to USC with an extension campus in Fullerton
which is only about 15 minutes away from our school.
I've sent several of my students there over the years and they have given it great reviews.
Madison is loving it as well.  
She just recently started and is already doing amazing work like you see here.
This was her very first exposure to a live, almost nude model;
a highly uncomfortable situation for a high school freshman I'm sure.
What is so remarkable about this work 
is that not only was she required to draw it on a large scale,
but then she had to completely cover the drawing with Colored Pencil!
I was flabbergasted when she showed me this piece and told me about it.
It's incredibly done Madison and I'm so very proud of you.
What patience and time this must have taken!

And next we have 2018 Alumni Sarah Oh with one of her first live figures,
completely nude in black & white Charcoal.
For any of you out there who have had to be in a Figure Drawing class,
it's one thing to draw from a picture but quite another to work from the real thing.
I think that was part of my problem when I was in college.
It was pretty uncomfortable and I don't think I ever got past that.
So bravo Sarah for dealing with this young man in this 3/4 view.
Three quarter view is the most difficult view to work from
as it is when drawing a 3/4 head portrait.
You've got part of the body and head that is coming at you and is closer than the other parts,
 so you are dealing with foreshortening and perspective.
for most people,
hands are more easy to draw then feet because we practice hands so much while learning to draw.
What's really challenging is getting the head, hands and feet proportional to the body
as well as getting the arms and legs the right length.
it's all hard.

Did you know that the average human body is 7 1/2 heads high
compared to a baby that is 3 heads high?
A fun fact.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019


The succulent garden is going nuts after these last rains.
We have a mini super bloom here at Whitney with the freeza bulbs
 I put in a couple years ago.
And they smell so great! 
A closer look.

Monday, March 25, 2019



To answer a question I was asked recently by several Art Teachers across the nation,
"How do you run your class and set it up so you can teach 3 classes during one period?".
I split up the Beginners, Intermediates and Advanced students 
into separate sections of my classroom.
For the past several years I've been doing this Intermediate assignment 
in the back side corner of my room
where I can turn off a section of the overhead lights like you see in these 2 pix
The other 2 groups are put into the front of the room where they still have lights to work by.
But this year I actually used a long extension cord and put my Intermediates 
with this single light source into the Art Lounge,
a separate room unto itself which is connected to the main art room.
It worked out perfectly 
and I was able to keep all the lights on in the main room for the other 2 groups.
Wish I had taken a picture for this post.
Senior Ylia Madag was our model last year,
and below was senior Mary Kim's portrait of her.
To see them all go to this link that I posted earlier in the year.
Keep sending me your questions and I will try my best to answer them.

Sunday, March 24, 2019


Nature is so incredible.
From this gorgeous seed pood...
(complimentary color scheme)

to all of these flowers in Lake Elsinore, Ca.,
Jim and I just had to take a car ride today to see it all.
We drove thru the Santiago Mt. range where just last year we had the terrible fires so close by.
But because of all the rain we've recently had and that will continue into this week,
the hills are alive with poppies, mustard greens, lupine
and so much more.
The trees that were burned to crispy critters are coming back 
because their roots received water to keep them going.
We have an over the top snowpack up in Northern California 
so we are now officially out of our drought though we all continue to conserve water.
It's what we've been trained to do here in the Southland.
And I believe it's a habit I hope we will all continue.
I read today that the super bloom is so vibrant it can be seen from space.
Photos courtesy of alumni Caryn Roach from last weekend in Lake Elsinore.
Poppy seed pods from our Monarch Butterfly Garden here at Whitney High
kept up by our Biology Teacher and Whitney Alum Aileen Palmiter Perry
and her garden club.

Thursday, March 21, 2019


Sorry I've been away for so long,
my family and I flew to the big island of Hawaii for my son's wedding,
so I took a couple of weeks off my blogging to enjoy all the festivities.
But I will try to be more present from now on.

I really wanted to show off this monumental painting by 2018 Alum,
Sarah Oh.
I believe this was her first time working this large.
I also believe it is her 2nd or 3rd self-portrait that she has painted of herself.
And I'm guessing it is oil.
could you please fill us in more thru the comment section on this work,
and what was required of you. 
In every work that Sarah has ever done for me (whether in clay or drawing/painting)
 she managed to bring in her love of animals or fish.
I believe it will be known as her signature style when she becomes famous,
as I know she will be one day.
Once again,
thank you for sharing yourself with us here Sarah!

Thursday, March 7, 2019


clay, sawdust firing, metallic rubbing compounds, embellishments

I have been studying Native American Arts & Crafts since junior college in the late 1970's.
I collect it, have taken numerous classes taught by Native Americans, 
and have thoroughly enjoyed teaching their traditional techniques
and sharing them with my kiddos. 
Here we see junior Richard Montes working on his Pueblo Pot after school
with my sweet little 7th graders completely absorbed and transfixed on his crafting.
Bombarding him with numerous questions,
Richard is patiently teaching them as he builds his pot.
This scene is why I don't want to retire.
Passing on what I know to a much younger generation who hopefully pass it on to others.
Creating wonderful memories that will stay in their hearts 
so they fondly remember their years at Whitney High in room 18.
Damn I love my job!

We begin with junior Lina Kim and her simply shaped pot.
But what makes it come alive 
is her gently curved diagonal stringing of beads with waxed linen thread,
and the lovely markings left by the sawdust firing.

It's so much fun to see how the students embellished these pots.
Each one is so unique and lovely.
The two above were made by senior Mary Esteban and junior Angela Mak.

Now check out the breathtaking marks left on this next piece from the firing
 by senior Michelle Hwang.
We all loved how she wrapped her strong diagonals strung with beautiful beads.

Here we have the work of juniors Michelle Son and Dustine Ansiboy.
Dustine chose to rub the metallic compounds on her piece before adding her embellishments.
What's very powerful to see on Michelle's piece 
is the high scheen resulting from the burnishing of the clay's surface with a smooth rock
as the clay dries from leatherhard to bone dry..

And last the piece de resistance by Richard the patient teacher above.
This was an extremely difficult form that Richard worked to
which required him to put in extra time after school and at lunchtime.
And not all our sawdust firings turn out this remarkable.
My assistant Alyssa experimented last year with all kinds of different resists.
I think we are seeing here how rock salt reacted in the firing to the clay.
We couldn't have asked for a more exquisite result and placement.
And the embellishments that Richard added are a perfect compliment to his wedding vase.
I believe he told me he was gifting this piece to his parents on their wedding anniversary.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019


acrylic & oil paint, conte', charcoal, pen & ink, graphite & pastel

I asked Alumni Sarah Oh,
Class of 2018,
to send me a pix of her finished project from Art Center in Pasadena.
I'm not exactly sure what all the criteria was but this was an incredibly challenging assignment 
for a mere Freshman Art Major.
(I'm hoping Sarah will send in a comment and tell us exactly what hoops she had to jump thru)

Anyways I have a similar assignment for my 3rd year level 2-d kids 
in which they pick a famous Master artist,
research their style ,
then try to duplicate it using themselves as their subject matter.
But they only have to pick one Master!
It looks like Sarah had to pick 32.
Thirty two!!!!
You've got to be kidding!!
Did she even sleep for the semester?
And can you identify any of the Masters works here?
Sarah had to duplicate one of their famous portraits then use herself as subject matter
and in the Master Artists style and medium recreate her own portrait.
Of course then it looks like she had to mount them side by side and all together.
I just wonder if she clocked her hours on this assignment?

My current student in the Art III class,
senior Angelica Luza,
only has to pick one Master to research and work from.
And she doesn't have to create one of their originals,
only use herself and do her portrait in that artist's style.
She has picked Edward Hopper.
Can't wait to share it with you sometime next year.
(yes, I'm a year behind schedule posting, still)
Ha ha!
So stay turned.

Monday, March 4, 2019


Caught off guard without our 4 wheel drive,
it started to snow just as we were getting on the road to come home.
Our neighbor Chris told us later that we got 3 more inches today and it is still snowing.
We feel really lucky we didn't get snowed in like he was last week
even with his 4 wheeler.
I believe California is finally having it's El Nino.
Crestline's Lake Gregory is completely full again;
hasn't been in 2 years,
and the trees are coming back to life since our water table has risen.
It's finally a winter wonderland.