Wednesday, May 23, 2018


embroidery hoops, felt pieces, crewel or embroidery needles, pearle cottons

Oh boy did we have fun with this new assignment.
In years past,
 to teach the embroidery unit,
 I've had the kids make Preliminary Felt Embroidered Pouches.
But ever couple of years I like to change things up a bit.
Or I'll see something done by another artist in a gallery, show or magazine
that causes me to pause and think,
hey my kids could do that!

I've also been noticing in all my Fiber magazines that embroidery is coming back into vogue.
How wonderful!

We start with this incredibly well designed and crafted piece by 8th grader Bhumika Kalaimalai.
Besides bringing in all the stitches I taught the kids,
she also brought in a few of her own.

This next beauty was made by senior Vivian Shi.
Viv also did an extra stitch that she taught herself in the middle flower.
For each assignment,
 I bring to school my art books to share with the kids
for additional resources.
And in this unit
 there was so much interest that many of the students took advantage of learning a few extras.

How sweet is this next one by junior Kiana Hernandez.
So delicately balanced thru both color and design.
And also beautifully crafted.

This next cutie patootie was made by 8th grader Yusuf Karan.
Yusuf loves cats and usually uses them as subject matter in all his assignments. 

One of my personal favorites was this one by Ann Luong.
Just lovely!

And check out this coilorful peacock by 8th grader Heer Patel.
One of Heer's signature moves in all her pieces is to try to use every color in the rainbow.
I really like how she was able to distribute those colors in a balanced way
by filling up a lot of the negative space..

One of the classes favorites was this one by senior Inna Sikar.
She also made great use of her negative space and color choices.
And don't you just love that tye-dyed felt backdrop?

I'm so thrilled to show these off.
Tomorrow will be Part 2

Tuesday, May 22, 2018


watercolor & felt tip marker

When I was in school we called these marks doodling.
Now the catchphrase is "Zentangle".
Whatever you want to refer to it as,
 the kids love it,
as well as learning how to do a watercolor wash.

I've graded hundreds of these over the years,
but I never see two exactly the same.
These kids create beauty & magic with this assignment.
The gorgeous one above was made by Reya Syed.

The students are allowed to use repetitious line, shapes, text, images,
pretty much the sky is the limit;
as long as they fill up as much negative space as possible.
Above we have Shaniya Gentry.
I really like how she turned many of her lines into shapes by filling them in.
And to pull it all together she drew the continuous trail of circles.

Next up we have Eileen Rodriguez Salehi with this gorgeous rainbow of color and design.
Just so yummy!

 Alia Cortez has brought us a much more serious and dark design 
that moves our eye diagonally across the paper.
Such cool & expressive work Alia!

These next two beauties belong to Sara Wong and Serena Lee.
Fantastic movement in value thru their watercolor backdrops.

And these two were done by Sabrina Wang and Anika Kasula.
Note the amazing craftsmanship going on in both pieces!

And one of my favorites was this playful piece by Eva Matentsian.
Just adorable!

Great job 7th graders!!

Monday, May 21, 2018


tissue paper, various other papers. cardboard, ribbons, duck tape, modge podge, glue

I've always had the kids make their own Portfolios to house their artwork in.
Over the years the design ideas have changed up quite a bit.
I think this current one that I've been using for about the last 10 years is my favorite of all.

Here we see 8th grader Sophia Matthews beginning her collage.

This is by far the most complex design process to try to explain, 
and the requirements were numerous,
so I'm not even going to attempt it.
Ha ha
Just know the students probably worked harder on this piece than any other work they did all year.

We start with junior Manishka Ranjit.
She pushed herself and went all out with her incredible design.
When she showed me her idea 
I told her it was going to be too difficult to do within the the time allowed.
So rather then give up,
she took her piece home almost every nite to work extra on it.
And I'm so glad she did because it is truly a work of art.
Here is a close-up of all the cutting and gluing she had to do to put both sides together.

For some reason, 
this next one by junior Ellya Gholmieh was not photographed completely open.
Sorry Ellya.
Her design was so very modern as well as non-objective.
So very unique.
Here is a close-up as well.
I love how she used the same tissue over top itself to get those fractures with a darker value range.

In this next one by 8th grader Madison Plotkin.
we see a fabulous contrast between light and dark which really showcases her design.

And another 8th grader,
Eric Ren,
created this wonderful landscape that contains so much movement.
He manages to move our eye across entire piece.

And check out this wild & exciting one by senior Jessica Mones,
another very complex design that took her extra time and effort as well.

Senior Esther Ahn created this very delicate under the sea design.
In this particular technique that we did,
it's very difficult to work with linear elements,
but Esther was able to pull it off with her precise craftsmanship skills.

I love the powerful colors and paper choices that 8th grader Ashley Lee brought to this portfolio.
And talk about movement,
8th grader Brandon Delgado worked with a snake as his subject,
and really pulled off a gorgeous piece below.

But it was senior David Tung that came up with this perfect, timely piece.
I love that he used a patriotic theme during this time in our lives with so much strife.
A true Patriot!
So proud of you David.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018


For all the years I've been teaching I receive donations of all kinds.
Wonderful items I can use to teach with,
or to share with the students that they can incorporate into their assignments.
I also pick up of all kinds of goodies at estate & garage sales that I know the kids will love,
or like last night,
free yummy lollipops from the resturant we went to.
I took a few more then I was supposed to for the kiddos.

Below is the current area,
our Lockerbee Kick Wheel,
 where I place all these things for the kids to help themselves to.
This is the current state of the donation pile.
Sometimes as you can see,
 it gets really full and you have to dig around a bit
to see it all.

The lollipops from last nite were gone in the first few minutes of my first class of the day.
I also put out used clothing, linens, shoes, stickers, pencils,
you name it.
The pile changes everyday and the 7th graders especially love to see what's there.

The pix at the beginning of this post was sent to me last night by 7th grader Glory Gage.
She took home a hand crocheted newborn cap that was donated by our nurse,
and tried it on her stuffed pig.
Perfect fit as you can see.
Makes me so happy.


cotton cloth, Rit dyes, rubber bands, string, clamps, clothes pins

The results the beginners achieved with these inexpensive cloth dyes were spectacular.
They were shown traditional techniques from the 1960's & 70's, 
as well as more contemporary folding and clamping techniques.
Many of the kids also chose to add some rusty metal findings which added even more interest.
Let's take a peek.

I felt that senior Simran Ranjit's piece was truly unique and super eye-catching.
And I love the rust pieces she incorporated.

 8th grader Annie Nguyen used a traditional technique that she off centered,
overlapping and dipping into each of the Primary colors for a powerful pop of color.
Gorgeous Annie!

And very brave 8th grader Bhumika Kalaimalai 
left her top piece above in the fuchsia dye for an extra long time
resulting in that rich & deep reddish violet.
In some of the pix here,
you might be seeing two pieces together,
like here in Bhu's photo..
It's because the kids were required to make two very different patterns,
but with at least one similar color so if used together they would have visual flow.
As you can see here, 
Bhumika did just that.

11th grader Sandra Chea pinched and rolled her top cloth into a spiral,
then dipped into blue, red & black for another striking design,
on top of her very soft looking clamped piece underneath. 

And youngster Adiyan Hossain,
an 8th grader,
folded and clamped this gorgeous piece,
then dipped into blue and purple.

And I love this soft blue/green piece by junior Rachel Tibayan.
She folded, clamped and added a bit of rust.

And check out this beauty by 8th grader Sophia Oporto.
Looks like Sophia made many folds towards the center therefore getting a starburst.

And everyone loved both Sahana Ramesh's cloths.  
Both are super cool as well as dynamic.

But it was this one by senior Hana Kim that was so very special.
When asked how she achieved her results,
she said she took a brush and simple painted with the dyes onto her cloth.
Which totally changes up this whole assignment with possibilities for next year.

Monday, May 14, 2018


he's been a naughty dog.
I've seen that look many a time on my own dog's face.

This dog belongs to junior Timothy Reyes from my Ceramics I class this year.
Tim told me he had just finished his Ceramics project at home
and this is what awaited him when he got out of the shower. 
 A broken Face Rattle.
Bah....bad dog!!!!

These kids I have been blessed to work with are the best,
so responsible, so wanting to please.
I told Tim "No problem, there is always a plan B" with me.

Tim sent me this e-mail a little after 12:00 a.m.

Hi Ms. Sposa, 
It's around midnight and I've been working on my rattle. I got pretty far and decided to take a shower. With my luck, I come out to find my piece in chunks and the plastic shredded. I don't know if it dropped from the table or my dog got up to get it. This day has definitely not been a good one for me, can we work something out tomorrow? I feel really bad because I was finally able to start resembling the face of the person I chose. 
Thanks for understanding,
Tim Reyes

Friday, May 11, 2018

Happy Mother's Day

My Mother on the Left and My Aunt Elena on the Right
My Children & I in the Middle 
1998 or 1999

I was very blessed to have two amazing women and mothers in my life 
after my father passed away when I was a baby.
My gentle & sweet mother Rose Patricia or Patti as everyone called her,
and her younger sister,
my dear Aunt Elena. 
My Aunt helped to raise me and lived with us until I was 10 or 11 years old 
when my mom remarried.

My mother was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio in 1916.
She was the 2nd oldest child of Italian & Sicilian Immigrants,
Benjamin & Anna Geraci.
My mother started to work at an early age in the garment district in both Cleveland, Ohio, 
then later in Los Angeles alongside her Mother Anna,
 as a sample maker.
Her sewing skills were so exquisite that it was her work that the salesmen took with them 
to department stores so that the buyers could place their orders.
She made everything from Wedding Dresses to Lingerie during the 1930's thru the mid 1950's.
And when I was in my early twenties and very slim,
I was able to fit into some of her own beautifully sewn garments.
In fact, 
on the day I was hired to teach here at Whitney in August of 1980,
I wore one of her mid-calf pencil skirts and her gorgeous tailored, satin lined jacket to the interview. 
I think it was due to the outfit and the high heels that I was hired.
Wink, wink.
When I was born 1956,
 she became a stay at home mother until I was in the 4th grade,
then she started another career as the Emery Elementary Librarian
 at the school I attended in Buena Park, Ca.
I remember that I loved knowing she was there while I was. 
The kids loved her because she made it her mission to read every book in the library
 so she could recommend good ones to each of the children she got to know.
She worked there for 22 years until she retired in 1988,
so that she could become full time nana to my son & then later a part time to my daughter.
She lead a long active life after retirement as well,
helping out at her church,
bowling with her league,
playing cards with her friends, 
and line dancing with her exercise group. 
She never looked her age and was only 4'10" tall.
Tragically she spent the last ten years of her life battling Alzheimer's Disease
which finally took her at age 92.
I miss her everyday and am always looking for signs that she is with me and close by.

She had one brother Johnny and 3 sisters,
Josephine, Elena & Stella, 
and there was only enough money for this immigrant family
 to send their oldest daughter to college,
my Auntie Jo,
who became an elementary school teacher for 40 years of her life 
while she raised 4 children of her own.

 Aunt Elena was a whole other story.
Feisty and stubborn,
 she never married,
but man oh man did she love all her 11 nieces and nephews.
She brought us treats and took us for long car rides,
took us to carnivals and to the movies,
and babysit and slept over a lot.
She loved life and fun!
She never missed a birthday or an important event or celebration in our lives.
I liked to think she loved me the most,
because she lived with us for my first 10 years.
When she left I was devastated (when my mom remarried).
She moved herself to a tiny little house in South Gate, Ca.
 where she lived most of the rest of her days.
Even though she wasn't able to go to college,
 she was probably the smartest and sassiest of all her siblings.
First she worked at her dad's grocery store in South Gate and was in charge of the produce dept.
From there she moved on to become the head secretary for the UAW,
the United Auto Workers at the GMC South Gate Plant until she retired.
And because she loved to tease,
she was the auto workers favorite gal at the Plant.
I used to love going to work with her in the summers because she had so many nice friends there
that would come to her window for help with their wages, complaints ,etc.

When she lived with us,
she and my mother created one of the most beautiful gardens in all of La Mirada, Ca.,
 a suburb of Los Angeles.
(my mother and Aunt bought the brand new home in 1960)
It was like the Huntington Gardens in the San Gabriel Valley.
They planted a huge rose garden,
palm tree garden,
cacti & succulent garden,
huge vegetable garden,
a greenhouse with staghorn ferns, fuschias and orchids,
and every fruit tree you can imagine.
In the summertime we had so much produce that we rarely had to go to the grocery store,
and a lovely swimming pool they had built right in the center of it all.
My backyard was one of dreams with so many fond memories.
My mother taught all the neighborhood children to swim there;
 we had the only pool for miles around at the time.
We had a sign that read,
"We don't swim in your toilet, so please don't pee in our pool".
Funny the things you remember the most.

And could my mother cook!
Full course meals every nite of the week.
There were no fast food restaurants around us at that time.
Everything from scratch,
just like her own mother.
Wish I'd paid way more attention.
Aunt Elena would drive home from work and mom had dinner on the table for the 3 of us.
except of course for the liver & onions amd stuffed peppers she used to prepare.
 life was not as grand after my Aunt moved away,
and my mother's new husband moved in.
But my first 10 years of  life were fabulous!

Aunt Elena continued to enjoy her life after she moved out.
She traveled a lot, 
spent tons of time with her nieces and nephews,
and socialized with friends.
She loved the independence of living on her own in her tiny little home in South Gate,
and created a lovely garden there as well.
Her Camellias & Hydrangeas were spectacular.
I did many sleepovers with her in my early teens,
and she would tell me stories about when she and her siblings were young and what life was like.
It sounds like her dad was quite the character himself,
as well as her baby sister Stella,
my only living Aunt left.
She resides in Phoenix, Arizona.  
She raised 5 children of her own in Pico Rivera,Ca.
She is recently widowed from her 2nd husband but keeps busy with bowling,
swimming, traveling to visit her children & grandchildren,   
But I don't think she'd want me to tell her age,
I Love You Aunt Stella,
and Happy Mother's Day to you too!!!!

Elena lived on her own until her mid 80's when she developed dementia,
a bit after my mom and their sister Josephine did.

My mother always had a very gentle nature 
so the transition from her home to a 24/7 care facility wasn't too bad,
but not so with the feisty Elena.
We had to practically drag her kicking and screaming from hers.
It was ugly and she was so mad at us for a long time (her nieces),
but she couldn't take care of herself or drive anymore.
The last year and a half in the sister's lives where spent together in a 24/7 home care facility
in the same bedroom where they didn't even recognize each other in Anaheim Ca.
But I think at some level they must have known 
because I went often to visit my moms and here they'd be, 
resting together (below).
This was one of the last photos taken of them in 2007
when they passed within months of each other. 
My mother was 92 years old and Aunt Elena was 88 years feisty.
My son & I visit them often at their grave sites.
Happy Mother' Day mommies.

Mom & Aunt Elena in 2007


graphite on bristol board with colored pencil accents

In yesterday's post you saw 1-Point Perspective work,
today the Box Constructions are in 2-Point.

In this first one senior Tiffany Chen shows off her mastery of composition &  design.
She's also got a wonderful range of cast shadows going on,
but it's the sweet string of lights that really pulls it together and adds so much more interest.

Senior Mary Kim has designed this very intriguing & fun piece.
We all loved her slime coming out of the box,
but it was her border that made this really special done in colored pencil.
And so clean.
I always grade the kids on craftsmanship.

Senior Christian Balbido has built us an abandoned house with so many cool details.
Note how he has balanced the large cast shadow (lower left)
with the bit of yellow lightening coming from the cloudy sky on right.
I also like the fact that he mounted it on top of the black construction paper.

And we end today with senior Sarah Oh and her beloved animals.
She has completely covered all her graphite with colored pencil
which helps her piece stand out from the crowd.
Her stair box construction in 2-Point was very challenging to get just right,
but she nailed it.
And check out the outstanding cast shadows under the animals that are climbing the stairs.
This young lady has a gift as do all the young ones I feature on this blog.

Thursday, May 10, 2018


graphite on bristol board with watercolor & paper collage accents

It is such a pleasure for me to show off the incredibly gifted art talents in my 2nd year 2-D class.
Two of these three senior girls are off to our top art school in the country,
Art Center of Design in Pasadena.

All 3 girls went so far over their minimum requirements for this assignment.
I love when the kids push themselves so.
The minimum was a 3 box construction in graphite with a light source and cast shadows.
Let's see what they did.

We start with Sarah Oh,
bringing in her distinctive cats and fish that are present in many of her pieces.
She balances the piece thru Approximate Symmetry and by watercoloring only the cats.
Sarah has also brought in the prefect amount of pen & ink on the cats.
Bravo young woman!
A truly complex piece.

Tiffany Chen creates this magical wonderland,
and moves your eye diagonally thru the work which the eye loves.
I also like the linear repeated texture she has brought into the upper left corner 
that helps to balance out the horned creature.

But the piece that really did it for me was this last one by Mary Kim,
and her 1-point ship.
That alone must have taken her hours,
but it was the paper collage that brought it to life.
She went thru my scrap paper drawer and found this discarded paper towel tye-dye piece. 
She masterfully ripped it into many pieces 
then patiently collaged it back together around the ship.
Also love how she pushed a couple of pieces outside the borderline.
Brilliant work Mary!

Wednesday, May 9, 2018


charcoal on paper

Even though this is a messy assignment,
the little ones do a remarkably good job with this medium
while managing to keep themselves fairly clean in the process.
Most of the time.
Ha ha

What's really hard for them is keeping their drawing paper clean & not smudging their work.
Or if they do smudge,
make it work for them as background or foreground.
Let's see how they did.

The one above was made by Alanna Chan
She managed to keep her piece very clean with great looking textures.

In this next one by Sabrina Wang,
she worked her smudges into her background area which created wonderful value.
I also feel the halos she placed around the cones and cast shadow very appealing.

Here we see Azalea Han using her fingers to smudge the backdrop on purpose.
I also really like the geometric lines she incorporated in to the background.

Because Halloween was approaching when we did this assignment 
Serena Lee let that be her inspiration for her design.

And Eileen Rodriguez Salahi
 created this amazing woven backdrop design which must have taken hours.
So worth it Eileen.

Great job all of you!