Thursday, January 18, 2018


glue bottles & oil pastels on black construction paper

After the beginners go thru the Realistic Right Brain Drawing Unit
 and are able to nail very realistic subjects (like each other),
I turn the tables on them and have them re-draw their same subject in Abstraction.
Now it's all about distortion and exaggeration.
It's also about being able to still recognize the person they are drawing.
So it's a fairly sophisticated and difficult task I'm asking of them.
Let's see how they did.

Junior Mary Kim had junior Jayesh Jani that she was working with
 and all of us felt like she really captured him in a wonderfully abstracted way.
Plus she put in a wonderfully eerie backdrop as well.

Senior Cathy Huang,
who always includes a great sense of irony in all her works,
whether in clay or 2-d,
 drew  senior Jocelyn Chou.
Fantastic, clever piece Cath!

We all loved junior Tiffany Chen's portrait of junior William Tan,
because she not only only captured his likeness,
 but we also really enjoyed her analogous color choices
which gave the piece lots of sensory yumminess.

Senior Julie Guan worked with senior William Wei
and managed to turn him into an adorable other worldly alien.

And Sarah  Oh did some strange but cool imaginings with the face of senior Christley Agbaroji.
I also really enjoyed how she built out the background with more treats for the eye.

Melissa Ongko gave us a dreamy rendeniton of junior Jesus Macias  
with the exaggeration of his already extremely long eyelashes.
Melissa also shows she has mastered the movement in value from light to dark.

And senior Lauren Kennedy had the good fortune to be partnered with senior Howard Lin
who had the most beautiful head of hair to work with.
She also shows us how powerful a complementary color scheme (blue/orange) can be.

I hope all of you enjoyed how well these turned out.
They are always one of my favorite assignments
 because you never know what you are going to get from the kids.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018


I wait till the absolute last minute
 to take down my Fall decorations in my little home/studio,

and then I put off until about a week before Xmas to put up those decorations.
And now it's mid January and I still haven't taken them down yet.
I wonder if anybody out there has this problem as well?

Disassembling each little tree is so sad for me.
Sometimes it even makes me cry for all the memories each contain in the decorations.
For instance the 3 itsy bitsy embroidered pieces by Class of 08's Victoria An,
Love & Faith make me weep there are so precious..
Another favorite art student,
designing children's clothes for Tommy Hilfiger now,
Class of 2009 Caroline Ma's fused glass house mounted on a handmade watercolor paper
addressed to Mama Agrums melts my heart.
Fiber Artist Judy Coates Perez's embroidered felt balls,
and Folk Artist Leslie McCabe's Russian Needle Punched dogs in tiny matchboxes;
all pieces I've taught with that are so dear to me.
A hand felted stocking I made with my very first pieces of my own felt,
and the delicate wool wrapped tree my daughter gave me this Xmas cuz she knows what I love,
and last years ornament she bought for me,
a recycled tin cut deer,
it all matters.
A gold glitter pinecone my son and I made when he was a young pup.
I just love it all.

The beautiful handwoven scarf Avanthi (2017)and Karisma Dev (2015)
 brought back to me from Africa,
gathers together all my favorite photos of my children,
their spouses/girlfriends and the grandbabies,
I just can't bring myself to put it away.
And of course Fiber Artist Jude Hill's Santa Cat that I adore
and love to teach with
(at the end of the season the Santa Cat gets changed out with another Jude Hill work)
makes me feel so grateful that I own these remarkable pieces of hers.

My how hard and patiently my dear mother worked when I was a bratty teenager on her fragile eggs that she cleaned out and decoupaged back in the 1970's (low left),
that I sadly didn't appreciate until she was gone.
My daughter's plastic coated ironed bead angel as well as her little paper cut purse 
with tiny glued down pieces of cut up eraser bits that I couldn't bare to throw away
(center bottom).
And now she's the brat who has no sentiment for any of this.
But I have no fear, 
she used to be the first to volunteer to help put out the decorations when she was younger.
I know I raised a deeper person then she is right now.
I keep hearing that 28 is the magic number 
when girls start being nice to their mommies again.
I think it took me a little longer.

Above the highly embellished star 
that Class of 2009's's Ariel Improta (daughter to our beloved Drama teacher Jodi)
knew I would love, 
is hanging next to this year's 7th grader Valentina Arnold Villarreal's blue painted wood ornament
that she so sweetly dropped by even though she is no longer in my Art Wheel class.
My son's newborn picture 
as well as his kindergarten next to 8th grade pix that he made in Boy Scouts,
make me wish I could turn the clock back so I could enjoy his childhood one more time.
And all the tags that my children addressed to me over the years with their sweet handwriting
that I love to re-read every year.
And the gorgeous reindeer and tree made from recycled papers 
that my daughter gave me a couple years ago.
I just hate packing it all away.
But can you imagine the dust build up if I left all this out??

And I end with this Rug Hooked pillow top that my daughter drew the picture for 
when she was 5 1/2 of Mr. & Mrs. Claus,
thanking them for all the presents they bring her.
It was such a remarkable drawing for such a young one that I wanted a way to preserve it.
I thought I would do all the Rug Hooking myself but gave up after I got Mrs. Claus' face done.
I located a nearby Rug Hooker who finished the rest for me so I'd have it in time for Xmas.
Let's see, that was in 2000 I believe.
Such wonderful, dear memories.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018


For the past three years I've purchased a piece of needle art from Handstories Hazel Monte
to give to one of my most hardworking 3-D students.
I adore Hazel's work and follow her blog religiously.
Her stitching and intuitive designs are remarkable and I love sharing her with my students.

This year I chose senior Inna Sikar.
I have adored Inna since the 7th grade Art Wheel class where her 
goodness & positivity shone brightly.
She brings joy to my classroom 
and the younger kids adore her because she is like a second mom to them.
She is one of the most giving, encouraging youngsters I've ever worked with.
She returned to me last year for the Beginning 2-D course where I got to know her even better.
One of the things that most impressed me last year 
and continues in the Beginning 3-D class she takes with me this year,
is her ability to read my mind and anticipate my every need during class.
Oftentimes when I go into Right Brain when I demonstrate I will forget my words,
 and she will remind and fill in for me which is so appreciated,
or when I need someone behind the checkout counter she will go back there and get out supplies without me asking her too.
She just gives and gives,
and is always so happy to help out.
She gives me all her effort on each assignment,
oftentimes turning in one of the best pieces in the class.
She also comes in after school to touch bases with me & check on me,
asking me if I had a rough or a good day.
And if it's been a rough one she sits and listens while I vent.
And then offers very real, uplifting advice,
so that I go home feeling her positivity & good heart.

So Inna,
I hope you know how much you are thought of,
how much you are appreciated,
and how much you are loved.
And as you sail off from here this June and make your way in the world,
know that you are taking a piece of my heart with you.
When you look at Hazel's piece,
 I hope you will remember how special you are,
and how very proud  of you I am
& how blessed I feel that you have passed thru my classroom & my life. 
And I bet those three 8th grade boys that sit & surround you feel the same way
with all the sage advice you give them!
ha ha

Sunday, January 14, 2018


A 15" Schacht Table Top Cricket Rigid Heddle Loom 

It came in a box with many pieces and great directions for putting it together.
All's you need is a screwdriver,
and about an hour.

Warping it up at my tiny home/studio up at the cabin took a bit longer.
I forgot how tedious this process is,
especially with 60 year old eyes.
I only made 2 errors but finally
Taa Dah!
Now I'm ready to weave.

I was inspired to buy this loom by a great new publication I subscribe to.
It's called Koel Magazine and comes from The Netherlands.
Here is the First Anniversary Cover

And all the Fiber Arts it features.

And online address in cause you want to buy this issue.

Here is the project I'm working on,
these yummy pillows

And for about $300 you can buy the whole kit and kaboodle
(this includes all these high end yarns)

I was too impatient to do it online and wait for it all in the mail,
so I went to my favorite yarn store,
Alamitos Bay Yarn Co.,
and brought it all from them for the same exact price.
What I saved was in shipping and handling
which was probably considerable.

I even started making my pillow over Winter Break using some of my own hand spuns .
I'll keep you updated and give a review of the loom after I finish,
and of course the finished pillows.
I warped the loom with enough yardage that I will probably get 3 pillows made.

Thursday, January 11, 2018


scratchboard, nibs & holder & watercolors

We saw the Scratchboard Prelims. yesterday,
and today their final works in this medium.
They really are quite remarkable.

Senior Mayaya Sithichai

Senior Jazzrie Lo

Senior Ayesha Durrani

Senior Kevin Mao

Senior Eileen Lee

Wednesday, January 10, 2018


scratchboard, nibs and holders, watercolor

For most of my 2nd year 2-d art students last year,
they had never had a chance to experience scratchboard.
And it's such a magical board to work on.
There are different grades from very inexpensive to high end pieces from England.
I do splurge on this assignment and get the high end board 
because it is thick enough to support watercolors,
the others warp too badly and discolor.
Then each student receives a small piece to try out and practice on.
Subject matter is up to them 
as long as they practice cross hatching and pointillism in a wide range of values.
Then watercolor is brought into the scratched away areas.
Senior Jazzarie Lo belongs to the cat,
middle row lt. to rt. junior Sam Tun, & seniors Eileen Lee & Ayesha Durrani,
and bottom bird is senior Malaya Sithichai.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018


clay & oxides

Last nite I was going thru my pix from last school year,
and realized I'm ridiculously behind schedule getting my students work posted.
Sorry you guys!
But know I'm working on it!

 I found this wonderful clay mask made by 8th grader Yusra Azmi
that I missed posting along with the others,
and I must share because it was one of the best of the bunch.
In fact,
 it caught our Principal's eye at Open House
 and he bought it and has it displayed in his office. 
Bravo Yusra!

Monday, January 8, 2018


clay, glazes, oxides, twine, copper & brass

Last year I saw some really cool and fun new ideas for Clay Bells on Pinterest
(haven't done these with the kids since the 1980's),
so I used my beginners to test these out.
It turned into a 3 part assignment and the students really seemed to enjoy it.

They had a choice of techniques on how to build the bell itself;
coil, pinch or slab.
Most chose pinch.
There were a few minimum requirements in the parts, glazing and assembly.
I was hoping for something recognizable on top of the bell
(perhaps to set a theme),
that it hang without falling apart (only one did),
that it clang without cracking or breaking,
that they make a few ceramics charms/beads for stringing in various places,
and that they learn how to work with copper/brass;
the cutting and deckling of its edges, and punching of holes thru it.
Let's see how they did.

This first one was built by senior Lauren Kennedy.
Lauren did work to a theme of birds and their feathers.
It was hard to photo these terrific bells because they are kinetic,
so it's hard to see the feather charms and brass pieces she cut that balanced the bell so well.

Next we have this super fun taco on top of his bell by senior James Park.
I also like the texture he put into the bell itself by stretching the clay,
and how the glaze breaks over it.. 

And senior Avanthi Dev came up with a really interesting form for her bell.
Feels a bit like an undersea creature.
So much fun!

Sophomore Olivia Krueger pulled off a very difficult coil inlay design on the side of her bell,
and then did a great job glazing her sundial on top.
Or is that an Aztec Calendar Olivia?
Whatever it is I love it!
Reminds me of all the beautiful designs I saw in Mexico City 
at the Museum of Anthropology back in the day (1980's).

This next one was made by senior Brian Aguirre-Hernandez.
I really liked how he turned his cooper piece into a mobile with lots of charms.

And senior Ashley Iseri never lets us down with her impeccable craftsmanship
and sensitive glazing.

Wish I could have caught her leaf still below
so you could see how nice the Rutile and Cobalt Oxides look together.

Of course we all loved junior Sarah Oh's bell.
She used a pinch technique to sculpt over.

We end with this cutie patootie by senior Vinaini Jayasinghe.
She also cleverly built a dangling mobile with her brass piece.

I am missing one bell by junior Vincent Nguyen.
I will try to get it up tomorrow.
Sorry Vincent!