Friday, May 12, 2023


mixed media

Haven't posted artwork from my ex-students in a while,
but these pieces have been on my mind since 2017-2018.

These works are by 3 of the most talented kiddos I ever worked with.
All High School seniors in 2018.
The assignment was to do a Self-Portrait 
in any 2-D medium they felt most comfortable in.
Each final work is truly remarkable
and I'm thrilled I finally got around to showcasing them.
This was their last assignment of the year for me.

We begin with Sarah Oh,
a young woman headed off to art school
 (she might have graduated by now),
accepted into Art Center in Pasadena.
Over the years and even after she graduated from Whitney,
we kept in touch and I continued to show off her pieces.
Sarah excelled in both the 2-D and 3-D realms.
Sadly over Covid we lost touch.
If you put Sarah's name in my search engine you can she most all her pieces 
for me and beyond.

First of all,
I love where Sarah chose to work from,
the classroom floor.
Here she was able to prop up a piece of mirror as well as her canvas.
She created her portrait in Acrylics.
What I just noticed for the first time in this photo below
 is she has reversed her image from what she is seeing in the mirror.
Or maybe it just seems so in the photograph.
Not sure??
When Sarah was in my classes,
she frequently brought over top her main subjects images of animals,
a secondary content for the viewer to ponder.
What I find so visually appealing about her Portrait 
are the harsh cast shadows she put in.
I love that she chose to use violet and blue/gray tones.
And that she chose a canvas that was more vertically inclined than most.
An exceptional work Sarah.
I miss you and hope you are doing amazing things!
One of my favorite things about all 3 of these works are the close-ups.
I love to see the brushstrokes, color mixing & blending, plus the fine details.

Here are Tiffany Chen and Mary Kim.
Just look at the concentrated focus one needs 
to pull off something this difficult.
Both girls worked from current photographs.
Interesting that Mary chose to prop hers up 
while Tiffany laid hers on the table.
What do I recommend?
Usually by propping up your photo helps the image from distorting
and keeps it looking more 3-D.
By laying it down sometime shapes can become distorted.
But I've always believed in letting the kids choose what works best for them.

I only did 2 self-portraits in my lifetime,
one in Pencil (from a mirror in college) and one in Acrylic 
(from my High School photograph).
I hated the subject matter,
ha ha,
and completing them was like pulling teeth.
But I did because I was being graded on both.

like Sarah,
 chose to deepen her shadows with warm tones that are so rich.
And I adore her color choices for the background blanket.
The aqua compliments her warm skin tones.
Mary is also working in Acrylic, 
but you can see her style is so much different than Sarah's.
Mary has watered down her paint so that it almost comes off as Watercolor.
Acrylic can be a very versatile medium.
Just lovely Mary!

And we end with Tiffany.
In her photo,
the lens of the camera caught an additional image in its refection.
Tiffany could have left it out,
but I'm so glad she chose to keep it.
Like Sarah,
she has chosen to give the viewer a real treat.
But I know it had to be killer hard to deal with.
But in most all Tiffany's works she does love to challenge herself,
always pushing to be her very best.
Tiffany has an incredible work ethic and headed to Art Center as well.
Couldn't be prouder!!
Of course the close up is amazing to see.
If you look closely you will note that she has chosen to bring Colored Pencils 
over top the Watercolor to help with the cast shadows.
This also brings delicious texture to her portrait.
Another superb piece!

As I look back at these girls and their Portraits,
I know I was very blessed to work with such incredible talent.
What a wonderful job I had,
to love going to work everyday to this.
I still miss it so much.

Special Note:
I looked for all 3 girls on LinkedIn and found 2.
Both Tiffany and Sarah graduated with top honors from Art Center in 2022,
and are now Illustrators and Motion Designers.
One proud teacher!


  1. Sarah Oh has long been a favorite ... and I'm thinking the angle of her head in the portrait would have been what she saw when leaning over to look in the mirror

    Fascinating to see Mary working on her painting in portrait orientation even though it ended up in landscape ... and such a great photo, taken no doubt by a loved one

    The reflections in Tiffany's portrait are fascinating ... and I can't help but wonder about the figure on the right ... a beloved grandparent or her future self?

    These were all worth waiting for!

    1. Lix, I love the depth that you find in each of these pieces, things I wish I would have talked about as well or even noticed like Mary's piece. And wouldn't that have been cool to know that the reflection in Tiffany's piece was a grandparent. I treasure your comments. xoxox