I have been SUPER busy at work! I can't believe that it has taken me a week to post again! This is how I spent part of my weekend. I assembled an altar/display in my living room to commemorate el dia de los muertos. El dia de los muertos, November 2, is becoming my favorite "holiday" of the year. I spent part of Saturday night putting together the large, plastic skeleton man who appears in my photos. He is about 5'0" tall. It took an hour for me to put him together! I am surprised I was able to get all the pieces right and there were no left-over parts. I would have made Mr. Leith, my high school biology teacher proud! After I got the man assembled, I spent the rest of the evening making the paper flowers for the altar. On Sunday, I ran around town looking for the fresh marigolds that are a huge part of any dia de los muertos celebration. The marigolds are called 'zempasuchil', in Nahuatl. The crowning effect came from adding the pumpkin seeds to the altar. I have been making altars for the last 14 years. The first one I ever made was for my father, who died on April 18, 1994. His altar was up for several years. Last year, I helped some of the Garfield students assemble an altar that was part of a community altar contest. Our group won, which was very exciting!
Welcome to my blog! I am so excited to share my art and adventures as an administrator with others. Thank you for making the time to view my blog and giving me your input.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
This is the final stage of the piece I have been working on for the last two weeks. Its title is "The Tree of Love". In much of my work, hearts and hands are recurring symbols. I sent it off to a new home on Friday. First, I silently said a few words over it, then it was time to say "goodbye" for good. As I said in an earlier post, it is going to a good cause, a children's center. No sooner had I finished this piece then I moved on to my next project: a birthday gift. I just finished my latest piece last night. I spent several days working on it. It is a special gift for a truly special friend. It is her birthday today. And this friend is someone who means quite a lot to me. She is an amazing artist, but an even more amazing human being. She epitomizes the word "friend". The friend I am talking about is none other than Kelly Kilmer. Kelly, happy birthday to you! Hope your special day was wonderful. After Kelly gets this gift, I will post pictures of what I made her. I don't want to ruin the surprise for her!
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Today, I finally feel like I am back to my old self. I got some kind of bug last weekend. I was sick for several days and just felt totally crappy. Work, however, does not care if you feel crappy! It has been an extremely busy week at work. Whenever I can steal a free moment in the evening, I use the time to make art. Besides the gym, it is a good release for my stress. Last week, I posted a photo of a canvas that had a bunch of decorative papers glued to it. It was the beginning of a piece I am curently working on. These photos show steps 2 and 3. Step 2 is the bottom photo. Step 3 is the photo above. Right now, I am working on adding the collage elements. I now have a better idea of where this piece is going. If all goes well, I will finish this off over the weekend. I am anxious to finish this piece since I am fighting a deadline. Once it is completed, I can start working on a piece that is a gift for a very special friend.
Sunday, October 14, 2007
The first picture is a close-up of a gift I received on Friday, from a very special friend. My friend, colleague, and former student, Dora, gave me this beautiful Frida bracelet. It is stunning and something that I will cherish the rest of my life. I have known Dora since she was 14! She was in my Honors 9th English, back at Stevenson Jr. High. I have been privileged to see her blossom into the wonderful, beautiful, and intelligent young woman she is today. She is a wonderful math teacher and our students are so fortunate to have her as their teacher. I am SO proud of her. There are not enough words to express my love and gratitude to having her in my life. On another note, the second photo is of my Frida stash. I am SO stoked about my upcoming weekend classes with Lynne Perrella, and some of the old gang, Carol, Gina, Ginny, and Judi, at Carol's house, in North Hollywood. I can't believe it is right around the corner! I have been sick most of the weekend and so, I have tried to take it easy. "Easy" for me is full speed for many, but I did not want to let my aches and pains get the rest of my weekend from me, so I started putting my supplies and ephemera together for Lynne's classes. This is just some of the stuff I bought today. I ran around to three stores and loaded up. I have more crap than I could possibly use, so it will be easy to share. I still have to go through the rest of my art supplies housed in my closet. I KNOW I have sequins, buttons, and other things to add to my Frida stash. Every time I take classes at Carol's home, it feels like the whole house goes with me. If I can squeeze in some time between now and the end of next week, I would like to work on some dia de los muertos mail art to send out to a few special, special friends and family members. However, if the next few days are anything like last week was at work, I am so screwed and will have to settle for sending these folks the Halloween cards I purchased as Plan B.
This is a cigar box that I am going to give to one of my oldest and dearest friends. I can't say who because it would spoil the surprise! I spent about a month putting it together, wherever I could steal some moments to work on art. I started the box in a weekend class that Traci Bunkers recently taught called "Get Your Art on Buffet". At the end of the weekend, all that I had done with this box was paint it and start the interiors. I have worked on-and-off with the box's exteriors, as well as the interiors, to get just the right look. I am quite happy with the outcome! Since I know it is a gift, it will make it easier for me to send it on its way. Just like Juliana does, I will say a little private good-bye to my box. I know it is going to go to a good home.
Monday, October 8, 2007
There are NEVER enough hours in a day! I had a late night tonight and didn't get home until after 8:00. I am starting on a new piece that is going to be about 12'' x 12'' in size. This is the first stage - I glued down a bunch of decorative papers on a canvas board. If you just look at the photo, it looks like crap thrown together. But by the second stage, it will be completely painted in a neutral color, such as Titan buff; that will be the next layer. And on and on it will go until the images are added. I am working on this piece with a very short deadline: I want to have this completed by the end of this weekend. I am donating this piece to some thing that is close to my heart, a children's center. Anytime kids are involved, I will lend my support. In the next post, I will talk about what is next for me...
Sunday, October 7, 2007
The following pictures are of my studio. I have a great place to create in! Art is all around the room. My visual journals are displayed above the wall-long bookcase. Also, I have original works by artists, Juliana Coles, Claudine Hellmuth, and Kelly Kilmer, displayed. Karen Michel's painting is on my easel. Several of my artist friends have also given me pieces that are on display: Christina, Diane, Kim, Val, and Yolanda. My friend, Val, died last year, around the holidays. One of my treasured pieces is a framed photograph of the Sedona mountains he gave me a few years ago. Val was an awesome photographer, and although I really miss him, that photo and the art books he gave me, will forever connect me to him. I can't walk around my studio and not think about him. I have been most fortunate to become friends with Kelly and Juliana. Kelly is a real 'treasure'. What a sweetheart... She and Juliana inspire me to take my art to the next level. I have so many of Juliana's pieces that I have to rotate the art! I affectionately refer to the area I have her artwork displayed on as 'Juliana's shelf'. Lastly, but never least, is my tribute to a very special lady: Carol Parks. Carol hosts artists from all over the country at her studio and home, in North Hollywood, and in doing so, provides so many of us opportunities to take private classes with these artists in an intimate setting. To say Carol is gracious is an understatement! She indulges all of us and is so patient with all that creative energy that seems to take over her home. On one of the shelves in my studio is a piece Diane created for me, one of my pieces, the pink Frida, and pink Chinese slippers Carol gave a group of us about a year ago. Because of Carol's generosity, I have gotten an opportunity to meet some amazing women and fellow artists such as Gina, Lou Ann, Judi, Tracy, Angela, Sonora, Darcy, Tamara, Ginny, Pat, and the list could go on and on...
As promised, here is my art-kit-on-the-run! This is a lunchbox that I have packed to the hilt! The lunchbox is black and has Jolly Roger skeletons in bright colors as the background. It has some of my favorite supplies in it: Caran d'Ache watersoluble crayons, Sharpie poster-paint markers in hot pink and bright blue, Crayola paints, a Scotch permanent glue stick, an alphabet stencil, collage images, Sakura stickers, scraps of paper and other ephemera, a white Signo pen, and silver and gold gel pens. There is even room for my journal - a black Moleskin journal and a small book to jot down some ideas or thoughts. My art kit goes pretty much everywhere with me. If I am not carrying it with me, it sits comfortably in my car, in the front. It has saved my butt a couple of times. Every time I leave the house, I make sure to always have something to do, just in case there is an emergency. I take a book or magazine with me, as well as the art kit. This way, there is plenty to keep me busy. A couple of weeks ago, I had a first (for me, anyway). A student got sick and was transported by ambulance to the hospital. I rode along with the student and paramedics. I had to wait for the parent to arrive at the hospital before I could go back to work. I was tied up at the hospital for about an hour-and-a-half. So, I sat out in the waiting room and worked on two pages I had started a few days before. It was a nice break from the fast pace I have at work and because everything is in the kit, it didn't require me to take a bunch of crap with me.
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
Well, I was going to post some artwork tonight, but I changed my mind after looking at my email. My darling 13-year-old niece, Francesca, sent me a video of one of my favorite artists: Alicia Keys. So, I decided to post one of my all-time favorite songs by my favorite female artist, Sade. I have been in LOVE with Sade and her music since she first burst on the music scene, back in 1984. She is the "Queen of Smooth" - so stylish and sophisticated in everything she does. Her music is timeless. And Alicia Keys is a powerful force to be reckon with. Both of these women are such positive role models. They have succeeded by not playing into the fiction of what a woman is 'supposed' to be. They march to their own drum. And that comes across so clearly in their work. I too try to be that positive role model for all of my nieces and female students. I do not accept that women can't or shouldn't do certain things or that they must act a certain way. I LOVE the challenge of no...it makes me want to do it even more.
Monday, October 1, 2007
I am working in a new book. It is a Moleskin watercolour book, ready-made for some artwork! This is still a very new size for me; it is much smaller than I am used to working in. Here are the first few pages of my book. I tend to work with all kinds of sizes. And I go back-and-forth with my books. I easily get bored working with the same journal, so I move in and out of small, medium, and large. Changing sizes seems to keep my interest longer. Sometimes, I stop working with a specific journal, then it goes on a shelf for several months or even a couple of years before I go back to it and re-work my work. I like the size of this book because it fits neatly into my art-on-the-go lunchbox. I will elaborate on that in a future post.