Wednesday, February 21, 2018


heavy duty bar blender, materials to make paper pulp from, strainer, tons of sponges & flat felt pieces, molds & deckles in different sizes, scraps of colored papers for their dye properties,
big tupperware vats to suspend water/pulp mixture in and a big pressing board

Every couple of years I bring back this assignment.
I only do it with a small number of kids because it makes such a huge mess, 
and the supplies needed take up so much space,
plus there are never enough sinks for the clean up.
But I love to do the demo.!
It's so much fun to pull a piece of handmade paper.

This first light blue paper was one of my demos.
Besides grinding up cotton rag pulp & lite blue tissue paper in the bar blender,
I also added dried Marigold petals,
and small bits of broken up dried leaves to the liquefied vat mixture.
I had plucked a few fresh Freesia blooms from Josh's succulent garden outside my classroom door,
not sure how I was going to incorporate them.
I ended up floating them on top of the vat mix right before I pulled the piece of paper.
I liked how 2 of them overlapped,
and the one above is slightly off centered.  
But what was really cool to see was all the pigment each blossom contained
and how it had leached onto the paper and changed its color during the pressing process over nite.
In case you'd like to give this project a try,
I want to say that I bought the bar blenders at Smart & Final,
and made my mold & deckles as well as the ginormous pressing board.

These next works were a few that senior Shreya Sheth pulled.
Both she and senior Jacqueline Yu had to do several in various techniques
 to meet the minimum requirements.
Sorry Jacq,
I thought I had photoed a few of yours as well, 
but can't find them.
In this first piece we are seeing,
Shreya did not add color and was hoping for the plant to leach her paper
which it did.
I can't remember what plant she used from around the campus,
but I love the delicate quality of it's embossed design.
In this paper she had to pull two separate sheets,
lay the plant material down on top of one of them,
then lay the other paper on top of that to sandwich the plants.
Then she put it under enormous pressure over nite
we were delighted when we saw this the next day.
We all loved it!
Looks like she also floated dried & broken up leaves in her pulp. 

This was one of her final pieces.
Here she had to pull a paper that was a bit thicker then her others
because she was required to lay it over top something 3-dimensional and press all around it so that it conformed to her subject.
After she pulled the paper she coached it with sponges and got most all the drippy moisture out
before she laid it on her face.
What a great subject, right??
Clever girl!
(when I tried this technique,
 I laid my paper over top our organ keyboard and it turned out really cool,
although the moisture in the paper probably wasn't too good for the inner workings of the board,
this was when I was in my teens and my mom got pretty mad at me,
ha ha)

So in this closeup we can see hand stitch and beading (upper right)
plus tiny thin pieces of thread floating in the pulp mixture.
Plus I love that she added in the dried roses (above).
I always have dried flowers about my room for the kids to incorporate into their art pieces.

Shreya's final piece she pulled was turned into the Mixed Media piece 
featured last week on the 16th called A Real Big Mix.
This was the largest piece each gal made with a bit of extra thickness as well
so it wouldn't fall apart when they machine stitched on it.
I hope you will scroll back and take another look-see.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018


2012 Alumni and best friends Alyssa Olea and Alex Tudor 
are taking a ceramics throwing class at Cypress College (my alma mater),
and are in the process of learning to throw on the potter's wheel.
One of the techniques the instructor uses is to have them blindfold each other 
to practice all the steps and to reinforce them in the brain.
Alyssa was my clay student back in the day and went thru 2 years of ceramics with me.
And since her graduation she has been assisting me in my classroom
loading kilns, mixing glazes, hanging art walls, entering my grades into the computer and helping to prep all the classes I teach everyday.
I don't know how I ever did it all without her..
She is hoping to one day take over for me when I retire and is currently in art school.
Both she and Alex were anxious about being blindfolded but ended up really enjoying the process,
and recommended I try it with my clay students.
I have a group of five 2nd year students that are also just learning to throw,
so I think I will offer extra credit if they give it a try and actually get a pot.  
Alyssa is in deep right brain here feeling her way thru all the steps.
I'm thinking of trying this myself.
I'm really curious about it.
Most of their pots they threw that night.

Happy girls,
and very cool pot Alex!

Monday, February 19, 2018


and we missed it.
We chose to stay down below for the 3 day weekend.
Our dear friend and neighbor sent me this pix this morning from his cabin.
Looks like we got a good 2-3 inches.
Hoping it will be there next weekend.

Sadly we've had only 2 inches of rain this year so we really needed this snow.
The trees are so thirsty.
I've got my fingers crossed for a lot more rain & snow to come.

Sunday, February 18, 2018


watercolor on cold pressed w/c paper

In 4th Quarter I take my students thru an intensive study of watercolor.
Those pieces will be coming up next week.
But in the meantime,
 I want to show off  a little extra credit opportunity they had
after the unit was over.
It went like this.
Pick a subject and draw it in segments or fractures,
and do the same with the background.
Then watercolor each fracture a different value or color.
These two in  particular came out really well.

Junior Vaishalee Chaudhary took to the watercolor like a duck to water.
She enjoyed it so very much that she created several other pieces during 4th Quarter
for pure pleasure.and was thrilled that this very tricky medium was easy for her.

What I loved that both girls did is they weren't afraid to mix colors.
So many students limit themselves to using only the pure colors in the watercolor packet.
They don't think to mix them to lower the intensity and and bring up the saturation.
So their pieces seem so trite.
But both these gals mixed and mixed and came up with subtle low key color combos.
Oh, by the way,
this clever piece was done by senior Melissa Ongko.

Friday, February 16, 2018


handmade paper, vintage  dyed fabrics, machine & hand stitch, pencil, watercolor & handspun yarn

A lot of ingredients went in to this piece inspired by the works of British Artist
I found her on Face Book a few years ago and very much liked what she was doing at the time,
so I purchased one of her pieces.
Note: if you go to her website now she has moved in a different direction.
I brought the piece into my classroom last year for my students to see
 and both seniors Shreya and Jacq loved her work.
So I asked if they would like to try something similar on one of the larger handmade papers
 they were pulling at the time.
Here are the results.

This first one was done by Jacqueline Yu.
I especially like the machine stitching she did,
and how her non-objective subject looks a bit like a cross.
or maybe a witch's profile.

And next is Shreya Sheth.
I don't know if you can see that the texture of each of their handmade papers is a bit different,
but Jacq's is smooth and Shreya's textural.
Both girls had cool deckled edges on their paper 
and of course I loved that Shreya incorporated a bit of her hand spun yarn.

Thursday, February 15, 2018


cotton squares, gloves, indigo vat & various items to clamp & resist with

To put gloves on or not to and risk their parent's wrath,
that is the big question these kids face before they dip their cotton bundles into the Shibori bucket.
Youngster Annie Nguyen did not want to risk it
so on the glove went,
but good old 8th grader James Lara went for it
knowing his parents would hopefully be cool with it.
And they were.
He even added a bit of decor with a marker.
They crack me up!

Here are a couple of the 7th graders results from 4th Quarter.
We begin with Hannah Narcelles.
I choose hers because of the upward diagonal movement she was able achieve.
Feels so much like a turbulent sky right before the sun comes out.

With Serah Park's I felt like we were looking thru a microscope at the splitting of cells.

And I can see partial faces in Jennifer Corrales' square.  
Almost like looking at a sonogram of a fetus.

Very cool work young ones!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018


tempera paint on cardstock

Tempera paint is the go-to paint of all Public High Schools.
It's one of the only supplies we can get from our district warehouses,
but my oh my,
 is it hard to work with!
It's not so bad if you are painting in a graphic hard edge technique that you want to be opaque,
other then the yellow being a bit too transparent.
But trying to paint realistically with it is a nightmare
 because it dries way to quickly before you are done with an area.
And if you go over that spot a second time,
 it just might dry and crack off.
The upside,
it washes off the brushes with soap and water.  
Showing the kids how to paint with Tempera is my most challenging demo that I do,
and every year I stress over it.
My second most difficult demo is getting a clay chamber to whistle
(just in case you were wondering)  
for this assignment subject matter was up to the kids
just as long as they moved it as well as fore and backgrounds thru each colors value ranges. 

I adored this first one by junior Tiffany Chen for several reasons.
I am a lover of cacti and succulents so her subject was right up my alley.
 And I was so impressed with how she painted that very difficult patina on the sides of the pots
 with as much value and texture as she did.
Also the fact that she painted this in a peaceful setting 
and the colors she chose to work with are all highly appealing.
Bravo young woman!

For the kids that were anxious to get started and didn't want to think or find a subject,
they were allowed to use a sphere.
So here we have junior Sarah Oh & 8th grader Ashley Gong.
Both these girls have so much artistic talent,
and both pieces are well done,
but I sure would have loved to see what they could have done with another subject.

We all enjoyed the subject that junior Varisha Azmi chose.
She is mixing and moving the paint really well with many wonderful highlights.
I also like how her subject goes off the paper on both top and bottom.
So scale played an important role in the arrangement of this composition.

Next we have juniors Gauri Deshpande &  Julie Guan.
I love how the soft turquoises and oranges pulls these two together 
even though they are completely different.
Another reason they are so pretty
 is that the oranges and turquoises are a complimentary color scheme 
and automatically will look fabulous together.
It's so crucial to understand color before you use it in an art piece. 

Lastly we have juniors Maddy Uchiyama & Mary Kim.
Maddy choose a difficult subject to bring in with her sphere,
the steps.
She had to make sure the perspective was correct as well as the lighting.
I also like she has created a sense of bounce by the circling around the sphere.
And Mary delights us with her ladybug and Vincent Van Gogh sky.

Congrats to all of you for doing a great job with a killer medium.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018


watercolor on cold press watercolor paper & fine marking pens

It always amazes me what these young ones will pull out of their hats on this assignment.
These designs are so intricate, 
and the watercolor backdrops so beautiful.
Back in my day these kinds of marks on paper were called doodling.
Now it's referred to as Zentangling and has become quite the rage.
Let's take a peek.

Custo Yang Huang made one of the class favorites.
It's really remarkable how patient and crafty this young man was able to work
in such a short amount of time,
as well as how many design ideas he was able to think up.
We all loved his sweet fox.
Notice the leaves in the fur?

Here's another by Camille Dang that is so complex and gorgeous.
It's really astounding how many itsy bitsy marks she is recording on this.

Bryan Fan has really captured a peaceful easy feeling in his piece,
and the range of value he was able to achieve with his watercolor was extremely difficult to do.

Serah Park is working to the theme of Ocean Child,
and it really feels like we are underwater.

And Eric Ren can up with his own twist on this assignment 
by choosing to leave a bit more negative space for the eye to rest
for a really striking piece.

Monday, February 12, 2018


clay, glazes & oxides

These tiny boxes are so precious.
They are very small with an area of no more than 9 inches.
But they are so mighty in their design and fun to make.
They are made using a subtractive method. 
We start with a small lump of clay,
paddle the outside into an interesting form,
wire cut off the lid section, 
then carve out both lid and box until the walls are only about 3/8 of an inch thick.
Let's see how the kids dealt with this technique.

Junior Sarah Oh used applied decoration to turn her lump into a splendent owl.
Below you can see how she attached the lid after the final glaze firing,
and how she glazed the inside but used only oxides to stain with on the outside.

In this next beauty by junior Ylia Madayag,
she stamped over top her form before she cut off lid and began carving the lid and box.

We all loved how this one by junior Renee Lin turned out.
The colors were marvelous!
Besides stamping she also carved out areas to melt glass shards into. 

We also really enjoyed how junior Vincent Nguyen dangled shells from his piece.
So subtle and lovely.

Sadly with these next 3 I can't remember who built them.
I will check with the kids from last year for help and update as I find out.

And this last one is the work of sophomore Olivia Krueger.
The clay loves Olivia and she ended up with a fantastic looking box.
Loved how she applied decoration to top and sides,
and then how she finished with the glaze.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018


pastels on tinted charcoal paper, glass shards & poster boards

There are so many ways to fracture a work of art.
This last year the first two kids below choose to cut their pieces up 
and glue and separate their  parts to a poster board backing.
This first one is the work of senior Ayesha Durrani 
and below a close up of the glass shards she glued on for more interest.
I felt the outside pierced edge of the format complimented her fiery subject.
She chose to work with water based pastels for this piece.

Next up is senior Eileen Lee with her very emotive  subject.
I would love to be able to snuggle up with this pup.
Eileen also chose to use water pastels.

And lastly we have senior Jazzarie Lo with her super clever composition.
Unlike the other two,
she drew each of her parts separately in different proportional scales.
She cut those away from her paper
 then played with their arrangement until she had something that felt just right.
Then down on the poster board they went with rubber cement.
This is always a challenging assignment in that the kids have to "craft" their pieces.
They aren't used to cutting out and gluing.
Plus it adds extra work time that they forget to plan out for
which leaves them stressing about finishing on time.
But somehow they always do.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018


polymer clay, wooden box, collage papers, beads, metallic embossing powders

Senior Helen Park created this lovely mosaic box 
by making her own Polymer tiles to use on her lid.
If you've never worked with Polymer and embossing powders
you are missing out.
They are so much fun and easy!
What takes a lot of effort and knowledge is designing the tile's layout,
the color scheme,
and completely covering up all the wood with either acrylics or collage
or more tile work.

I adore the paper text that Helen incorporated into her box design.
And take a peek inside to see the Polymer fish she made.