Thursday, June 17, 2021


When I was teaching the arts at Whitney 
there was a Congressional Art Competition every year usually around mid-May
that we would sometimes participate in.
It was sponsored by our State Representative Linda Sanchez of the 38th Congressional District 
which represents the city of Norwalk, Ca. and surrounding areas like us in Cerritos. 
The last several years at Whitney we didn't participate because the show was moved up a month
 to mid-April and all the best pieces of art were displayed on the walls of my room for Open House
 and then off I'd send them to the walls of our District Office
 for the Annual District Art Show and Competition.
So a big conflict.
And most often the students weren't interested in making an additional piece just for the competition
(they were kept too busy with their academics, sports, SAT classes and music lessons).
But over the 39  years I was there we did participate many times and won several best of shows.
The best thing about winning is their art piece will hang on the walls of Congress for a year
plus there is a scholarship monetary prize.
And before Covid,
the student and one parental was flown to D.C. to meet with the Congressional Representative
for an awards ceremony which was super special. 

So a BIG CONGRATULATIONS to this years winner,
Whitney High School junior Madison Plotkin,
one of my all-time favorite students.
She came to me as a 7th grader who was naturally gifted in the arts
 and gave me her all on every assignment.
She showed original thought and creativity as well as excellent craftsmanship
(so very important).
A lot of kids have the art ability but never develop their craftsmanship skills till college,
so I encouraged her to come back to me in the 8th grade.
She did and turned out many of the best pieces in that Art I class.
She has a brilliant sense of design as you can see above,
as well a tremendous drive and work ethic.
Also her parents have been extremely supportive of her wanting to become an artist
so she has also had the opportunity to study in an after school Art Academy.
And this summer I'm hoping she will intern at a prestigious gallery in Tustin called Chemers.
Just being around the gallery owner Karen is a rare treat.
Watching Karen organize and put up a show is watching a dynamo in action.

To see more of Madison's work over the years,
put her name in my search engine and read thru all the blog posts she was featured in.

Even though I left Whitney two years ago,
Madison has continued to reach out to me and share her art studies. 
And hopefully next year,
 I will be one of her teachers writing her Letter of Recommendation,
always a huge honor.  

Wednesday, June 9, 2021


                         A few of my wild and crazy 2021 graduates as 7th graders in my Art Wheel class.

Since I couldn't be here at your graduation today or the past two years of my retirement, don't think I forgot about you .

So I wanted to do a little something special for you.
I hope you like it.
As I searched for these pictures it brought back so many fond memories of the time we spent together.
Almost had me in tears.

Hopefully no more virtual learning as you guys go away to all your colleges.
A little birdie told me many of you are off to Harvard, UCLA, UCSB, UCSD, USC, Brown, The United States Air Force Academy, Cornell, and Irvine (Jack, I hear you are majoring in Architecture there).
I couldn't be more proud of all of you and would love you to keep in touch.
My email address is

I borrowed this picture off of Mrs. Olson's FB post.
I hope you don't mind :)
I barely recognize you all grown up and in masks.

But this is how I mostly remember you all.
Enjoy the trip down memory lane.
Felting your Soap Scrubs
So young, so cute!

Mossy, it was wonderful hearing from you the other day, and keep up with your knitted designs.
You were always very dear to my heart.
Palmer, I will never forget your sweet goodness and artist talent as well as your delightful parents,
please tell them hello for me.
And Jack,
you stole my heart from the minute you stepped into my classroom.
(Love the photo you took and gave Ms. Perry)
And Charles Chen,
so very sorry I retired and never got to work with you again.
I know you will work hard and have a fantastic career in the arts.

Being way cool with your Indigo dipped hands.

Stella is that you????
Love your expression here you silly girl!
You crack me up.
I'd love to know you now all grown up.
I bet you are still so much fun!

And there you are Rodrigo,
I will never forget you and the great hugs in the hallway you used to give me.
You were one of my biggest fans.

And my sweet boys and best friends,
Emmanuel and Jamesy.
Loved all the times you'd drop into the classroom to say hello after your 7th grade year ended.
You never forgot me.
I also never forgot that both of you possessed a lot of artistic talent!

And Aish,
can't spell it anymore but I still remember how to say your name. :)
And Aaron (aka Patrick) you will always be Patrick to me,
I was so bummed out when you came back to take another art class (think it was you 10th grade year)
but then bailed on me. 😕
I remember you having a lot of artistic flair.
And be careful ,
you seem to draw the girls like bees to honey. Ha ha
Alexa Centeno,
you and your sister were a delight to teach and work with.
Another little birdie told me your mother might be moving into my old art room.
Nothing would make me happier!
take care of it and love it like I did.
Such an awesome family.

Three of my outstanding kiddos dipping into the indigo bucket.
Alex Min right?
Super star artist and exceptional academic student!
I bet you are Harvard bound.
Let me know.

And Rawnie
you were always a dear to me, I remember how much you loved to do art.
And you continued thoughtfulness and kindness touched my heart deeply.

And there you are Laura.
Both you and your big sis made such an impact on me.
Especially as I was retiring and you came by to let me know you'd keep my garden watered.
That meant so much to me as it was killing me to leave so much of myself behind.

I wasn't sure which picture to end with,
this one or the one of Lucy and I below.
So I decided both.
I love that my hand is here with yours.
I will always be your greatest supporter and friend.
If any of you need anything in the future or just want to say hello,
hopefully I will be here for a long, long time.
And for those of you who reached out this and last year for a letter of recommendation.
It was an honor to do that for you.
I'm incredibly proud of all of you!
I wish you great love and happiness!

Now Lucy Acuna,
the young woman who touched so many lives at Whitney,
your friends as well as your teachers and Administration.
You have been a super star from the very beginning in 7th grade,
and you never let us down your 6 years there.
I cannot wait to see what the future holds for you.
You are so many things,
a kind and good person, a volunteer, a leader, an academic, an artist, an actor, dancer and singer.
But best of all humble and grateful.
Enjoy your journey and let me know where it takes you next.
I love you always.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021


A very special shout out to Senior Nerie Crisologo
who was accepted to 3 outstanding Colleges for her Nursing Degree. 
 So very proud of you and glad I was able to be a part of your journey. 

Nerie designed and sent me this wonderful card 
to thank me for writing her Letter of Recommendation. 
I was seriously impressed with how well she nailed my image.
I never learned computer graphics,
it came way after my time, 
but I do marvel at how the youngsters of these newer generations have learned to navigate it.

Thank you Nerie for this card and the heartfelt messages you sent with it.
I wish you much success and happiness.


Friday, February 12, 2021

A LINA KIM UPDATE (see previous post)

                               Lina's Nude Torso from her senior year 2018- 2019 in Ceramics II

                Lina shot me an email today to say how much she enjoyed her post from 2 days ago.  
                                                  And here is her most recent yearly update. 
                                                     She has declared a Major in Sociology 
                                 concentrating on Law, Crime and Justice along a pre-law track. 
                                                                        Now get this, 
                                she is Minoring in Banking and Finance, Art History and English.
                                                                     Is Lina nuts?
                                                           Nope she is just that capable.
              Plus she will be headed over to the Cleveland Art Institute for more Ceramics classes!!!!!!
                Liz Ackert, she loved your comment but her mother says, "No, her pieces are not for sale".
                                          Sorry...if it was up to her she would gladly sell you a piece.

      What was striking to me is I haven't seen her in two years since she was a senior in my class,
                          and this is the first time I'm displaying her Nude Torso she made for me.
                 Then she sent me those pictures last year from her first semester at Chase Western
                    along with a newsy email of her life updates that still sounded so very youthful.
                                 But a year later, today, her email sounded so much more grown up.
                                                                I wonder if I'd recognize her?
                                                                      They grow up so fast.
                                   I look forward to next year's update Lina, and I wish you the very best.
                                                         You are going to be a busy girl, ha ha
                                                              Love you to the moon and back!

                                                        Now let's see more of that Nude Torso
Lina's torso was so very tall that we could barely put the lid down, 
and I had 2 very large kilns. 
Also we were deathly scared it would tip over during the firing
 due to the shrinkage that occurs at 1800 degrees,
bisque firing temperature.
We were both on our tip toes as one of us held it in place 
while the other put those heavy posts all the way around it.
We were also scared of cracking;
that often occurs when you build a piece this large over several weeks 
due to the uneven shrinkage of the plastic clay as it dries out.
But we got lucky,
I believe there was just one tiny hairline crack.
But I could be wrong,
it's been 2 years after all.
Here it is back into the kiln for it's glaze firing.
You can plainly see that Lina has layered and dripped 3 different glazes over the body,
then brushed on Cobalt Carbonate Oxide over the spikes so they would turn blue.
And it did.
Woo Hoo!
Sadly here you can see that the glaze and Cobalt mixture melted down thru the middle of torso 
and adhered her piece to the bottom of the kiln.
Yes, it was permanently stuck!
This happens frequently to all the students because glazing is a very tricky process.
If it's a tad too thick it will drool because we take the kiln up to 2500 degrees for this firing.
Glaze has a Silica base and it becomes completely molten at that temperature,
and when it's placed on a vertical surface
gravity takes over.
Look out! 

Lina had to masterfully chip away first to get it unstuck from the kiln shelf,
then even more skillfully chip the excess off the base of the torso.
In the process some of the base was also chipped away 
but miraculously it still stood without falling over,
 sort of.
The pix was taken leaning it against a wall,
just in case!
And some close-ups.
We were so thrilled it came out as well as it did.
 maybe it bothered Lina way more then me because she is a perfectionist.
I am too most of the time,
but this was such an incredible piece to begin with that the drool was only a minor detail for me.
I believe Lina glued the base down to a wood block when she brought it home for more stability.

I want to take this opportunity to once again thank my Art Assistant,
Alyssa Olea Morales,
for the wonderful pictures she shot for me.
Speaking of Alyssa,
I just wrote a letter of rec. for her application into Cal. State Fullerton's Teacher's Credential program.
Only one more year till she is officially a full blown Art Teacher.
Way to go Alyssa!!!

Monday, February 8, 2021


It's been a long while since I've posted any student art, 
and these pieces were created over a year ago and have been waiting for me to put up.
Sorry Lina for taking so long to get to them.
But I'm also thinking it was worth the wait because they are fabulous!

I adore the slit she built into the side of this torso.
And the beasts look so very natural which is extremely difficult to achieve in sculpture
as all my Ceramics II students have found out. 
Lina is at a small private research U in Cleveland, Ohio
 (my mother's hometown was Garfield Heights),
called Chase Western University where she is finding the classes engaging and fascinating.
All of these pieces were made in her first semester there.
I found it interesting that the professor took the kids out to a local farm
 to be able to do an open air raku firing for this piece.
How fun and very cool!

I think this next one is beyond remarkable for one so young.
What Lina,
19 years old?
You are such an old soul.
Lina told me this one took the longest of all the ones I'm sharing.
I can see why,
it's just lovely as well as being highly difficult to handbuild!
I also really like how you glazed it with the pinky-purple accents.
Was that an oxide brushed over the glaze?

This next one was the easiest she said made for a platter assignment.
I like how you glazed it with the overlapped turquoise. 

And this is Lina's second Rainstick.
She learned to make one in my Ceramics II class when she was a senior,
and she told me that both the other students as well as the professor
 were super impressed with this technique and the sound it made after firing.
Another very difficult piece to build,
but so worth the effort.

And this last one was the first piece she made at Chase.
The assignment was to build a stemmed vessel.
She added additional sculptural elements to the vessel which I bet pleased her professor.
The fluid waves create movement and forces the eye to circle around the pot.
You are an amazing designer and craftswoman Lina,
thank you for sharing these pieces and allowing me to post them.
I'm so very proud of you!!
what's your major anyways??
Let us know, 
and please send more pix from your second semester.

Thursday, January 14, 2021


A few months ago my children and I went on a cacti and succulent buying mission
to a grower in the Sunland-Tujunga area of the San Fernando Valley 
by the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains.
An adventure just finding the place!
There was so much to choose from and this succulent was chosen by my daughter.
When she made the purchase it wasn't in bloom,
but this is what happened about a month after bringing it to her home.
The most remarkable flower I've ever seen on a plant.
We were all in shock over how very unusual it was.
It lasted a good week and then it disappeared.
It almost looked like it was made from a plastic material.  
I couldn't believe what I was seeing at first.
I thought 
"No way!"
But it was real.
Can't wait to see more of these in the future.
Her brother bought two other varieties and are growing a couple more from seedlings.
But so far no blooms on any of these.
But we are very patient people.
I believe these come in as many as 23 varieties.