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.

Friday, October 31, 2008

It has been an incredibly busy 2 weeks at work! Unfortunately, that hasn't left me a lot of time to blog or make new art! However, I have been most fortunate to be able to combine the art with work. In the last couple of weeks, I have taught in 3 different classes at school. I was a guest artist in 3 art classes, so I had the students create dia de los muertos ATC's. Here are some of the artist trading cards I created as samples. Some of these ATC's have now found new homes. Anyway, both the students and I had a ball and last week, the student evaluations came in for a new class we are offering this year called "Art Matters" and the #1 comment from the 4 classes was that the best part of the 10 week course was having me teach in their classes as the guest artist! How do I feel about that?! I am on cloud 9 and feel great about kicking ass in the classroom again!

Next semester, I will be teaching 2 days a week in 1 of the "Art Matters" classes. At the beginning of this year, it was my intention to teach every day in 1 of the classes, but at the last minute, the schedule was changed and another teacher got the class. I can't say enough how excited I am about teaching again, even if it just a couple of days a week. Until I die, I will continue to say, "I am a teacher first and I will always be a teacher."

Thursday, October 23, 2008

I am SO looking forward to this week being over. The last 2 days have been filled with a lot of professional bullshit, but because I have so much more going for me than just my job and the title that goes along with it, I am going to focus on 1 of my favorite days of the year: el dia de los muertos, which is November 2.

I have had el dia de los muertos fever since the beginning of October. So, last week, I headed over to 1 of my favorite, favorite, favorite places, the Folk Tree, in Pasadena. The Folk Tree and I have been joined at the hip for the last 20 plus years.

Because I was in the Folk Tree on a week day, I had the store all to myself. I spent an hour-and-a-half going through the entire store, oohing and ahhing!
Not only did I get a chance to take in all of the store's beautiful displays, Rocky Behr, the owner, let me photograph the dia de los muertos gallery show.

Rocky is 1 of my favorite people - I really love her! It is hard to believe how long we have known each other! She told me she is going to be 80 this coming year! That is SO hard to believe because she has the spirit of a young woman. When we met, I was a new teacher - I had just a couple of years of teaching experience under my belt. It is harder to believe that I am in my 25th year of being an educator.

Anyway, out came my camera! And so, here are some of my favorite shots. I think this is 1 of the best shows the Folk Tree has ever put on. When I need a shot of artistic inspiration, this is the place I go. And, I am never disappointed! For more information on the Folk Tree, check out my blog's links. It is 1 of my most beloved places! Thank you, Rocky! I love you!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I have NEVER been as busy as I have been the last 3 weeks! But no matter how busy I am, I try very hard to take a moment to appreciate the beauty all around us. For the last several years, fall has been my favorite season. I SO love fall's colors, the various shades of reds, golds, and greens that are so prominently displayed. Fall puts on a magnificent show each year. And what better place to really appreciate that show than in my front yard, the arroyo, here in Pasadena? Oh, the arroyo! My camera is always with me. I have a small, digital Kodak camera that is usually in my handbag. If I am not carrying a purse, then, because my camera is so small and compact, I just put it in my pocket and off we go. Last week, while driving around town and running a quick errand at the local Whole Foods market, I came across these beauties that are in the photos below. They really showcase the best part of fall. The photo above is from a grapevine that I spotted in Santa Barbara, on my recent trip.

A display of pumpkins at Whole Foods. Take a look at those details.

Another display showcasing miniature pumpkins, squash, and Indian corn.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Last word ... if you get an opportunity to visit Santa Barbara for a day or weekend, you must check out 2 wonderful exhibits at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. The drawing to the right is from the "Picasso on Paper: Drawings and Prints from the Permanent Collection (1899-1967)". This exhibit runs until December 7, 2008.

If you are interested in photography, then the "Ten: Gifts of SBMA Photo Futures" exhibit is not to be missed! This exhibit runs until December 21, 2008. For more information, go to the Santa Barbara Museum of Art link on my blog or to http://sbmuseart.org/.

These next photos are from the Siqueiros' mural, "Portrait of Mexico Today", which can be found at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. During the 1930's, David Alfaro Siqueiros painted this mural at the Pacific Palisades home of filmmaker, Dudley Murphy. The mural was painted in the backyard area of Murphy's home. This is the only Siqueiros' surviving, intact mural in the United States. In 2001, the mural was donated to the museum. Then, the mural had an extensive restoration. As you head to the front of the museum, the mural is to the right side, hidden from the street. It is so well hidden that when you first come upon it, it completely catches you by surprise. There is a new surprise discovered each time I view this mural! It is fitting that this bleeding heart liberal would find herself kneeling with the Mexican revolutionary!

I took pictures of the various panels of the mural. Notice the rich colors of the mural, as well as the subjects depicted in the mural.

This particular panel is my favorite. Here, you have a Communist soldier, kneeling with his gun ready to fight. Siqueiros was a member of the Communist party in Mexico. Consequently, his works had very high charged political overtones to them and in some cases, his works were so controversial, they were whitewashed such as what happened to "La America Tropical".

Of all of the 3 BIG Mexican muralists, Jose Clemente Orozco, Diego Rivera, and David Alfaro Siqueiros, Siqueiros is by far, my favorite. I LOVE the passion that can be seen in his work! His work just seems to come alive! To view more information and see the entire mural, go to: http://www.sbmuseart.org/siqueiros/mural_imagery.html.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

My last post of the night. Since I am in a Spanish mood, what better way to enjoy it than by listening to 1 of my favorite groups, the Gipsy Kings? This video is from their first album. The song is called "Djobi, Djoba". I LOVE Nicholas Reyes, the singer of the group. He has an amazingly, powerful voice.

I recently saw "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" and I absolutely LOVED it! Woody Allen and Pedro Almodovar are my 2 favorite directors. I have never been to Barcelona, but this movie made me yearn to go back to Spain. I am in a Spanish mood. Maybe, it is my mother's Spanish roots getting to me again.

Some more shots from my day in Santa Barbara ... this is a side view of the front of the church.

My partner in crime and best friend, Sergio, sitting near the fountain, which is at the entrance of the mission. We had an absolutely perfect day!

A shot of the church's doors. All those pinks just blend in perfectly with the brown doors.

Most of the rest of these photos were taken from the interiors of the mission and church. I have always LOVED religious paintings (it must be my Catholic upbringing!). This painting caught my attention early on in the day.

The photo above is part of a larger piece. I kneeled on the floor to get a better shot of this woman. I LOVE the detail in her gown. Look at all of those pleats!

This statue, like the 1 above, are in niches, inside the church. I don't ever remember these statues being at the mission. Maybe, I just wasn't observant enough on those other visits. In any case, they caught my attention this time!

A full shot of the 2 statues. I think the woman kneeling by Christ's feet is Mary Magdalene. Although I attended Catholic school for 8 years, when it comes to religion, I am a horrible student! I'm hoping I guessed right . . . Look at the colors and patterns around the 2 statues. These were painted by the Chumash with dyes made from vegetables and plants.

We got an opportunity to explore the area where the crypts are housed. I saw this 1 and it just popped out at me! In a sea of white crypts, this 1 caught my attention because of the blue fish. The crypts ranged from the late 1800's to the present. We were very lucky that the building was open for us to check out.

A couple of statues greet you as you make your way through the interior of the mission. These 2 statues are made out of wood and are very beautiful in their simplicity and craftmanship.

More arches! I LOVE archways! We spent quite a lot of time at the mission. After the mission, we drove over to the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. But because we spent so much time at the mission, we were only able to cover the first floor of the museum. My next post will include some shots of the museum. Stay tuned ...

Saturday, October 11, 2008

I have been incredibly busy since returning to work last week. Being back at work has been a good way for me to deal with the last few weeks. This past Thursday was Yom Kippur. Having been at a year-round school for so long makes you really lose track of time! The traditional schools such as Wilson High School got the day off. So, since my best friend is also on vacation for another 2 weeks, I pitched the idea of the 2 of us driving up to Santa Barbara for the day, and that is exactly what we did! Besides spending the day with Sergio, I got a chance to see 1 of my dearest and oldest friends, Cam, who is the Chief of Police of Santa Barbara. I did the driving, something I really LOVE to do! And so, the 1st stop we made when we got to Santa Barbara, was at Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. Back home, the Coffee Bean is where I spend a lot of my free time. We had a pastry each and Sergio had a cup of coffee and I had an iced tea. While doing this, I laid out the day for Sergio, since I was left in charge of planning (must be the administrator in me!). When we finished our pastries and caffeine, we headed to the Santa Barbara Mission. I must have taken about 100 photos there. Sergio and I had a blast the entire day. Here are some of my shots... the 1 above is a frontal shot of the mission.

This is a view of the back building and part of the garden. I have this thing for doors and archways, and of course, Spanish architecture, so I enjoyed tremendously photographing the various doors and archways.

This beauty is from a small grapevine that is located in the front of the mission, in the area where the fountain is. Look at the colors on the leaves, especially this 1. Beautiful!

I LOVE the roots and character of this tree! It is 1 of the biggest trees I have ever seen in my lifetime. This area is a side yard that is actually the cemetery.

Sergio asked me when was the last time I was at this mission. I told him about 3 years ago. This is 1 of the side doors of the church. This door leads into the cemetery. If you look closely, you can see 3 skulls and crossbones over the door. I have been to this mission many times over the last 10 years, and originally, there was only 1 skull there. The other 2 are relatively new and really stand out like a sore thumb! But eventually, they will age and fit in.

This is a shot of 1 of the doors and the surrounding walls. Notice the beautiful colors around the door. Each mission is distinctive for its painted walls and their patterns. The Chumash Indians painted each of the missions with paints derived from plants and vegetables.

Another shot of the cemetery. Look at the spectacular show the Mexican sage puts on! This is 1 of my favorite plants and it has made its way into every 1 of my gardens.

A statue of the Spanish priest, Father Junipero Serra greets visitors to the mission.

A shot of some of 1 of the pathways leading from the church to the gardens. It is a long walkway that really showcases the Spanish architecture such as the beams, stuccoed walls, and arches.

I liked this shot because it has a lot of things going on at once. It looks like a still-life arranged in the fountain. If you look closely, you will see a goldfish swimming above the lily pads. I have more photos of our day in Santa Barbara that I will post in the next few days. It was a great trip and the weather was amazing; it was 78 that day.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Paul Newman,
"King of Cool"

My mother LOVED Paul Newman. So did I! He was 1 of my favorite actors and hers too. I didn't want the week to go by without me posting about the loss of this incredible human being! It would have been so easy for Mr. Newman to rest on his laurels: his great looks, fame, intelligence, and money, but instead, he chose to put all of that to great use by helping others, especially children. "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" is hands down my favorite of his movies. I remember being 11-years-old and seeing this movie with my family when it first came out. I LOVED it all those years ago, and that hasn't changed today. This scene is 1 of those "perfect" cinematic moments. And like Sally Field said a few days ago, "Sometimes God makes perfect people and Paul Newman was 1 of them." I can't think of a better tribute...
The last 3 weeks have been very difficult and stressful with dealing with Mom's last days and her passing. I am SO looking forward to going on a mini-vacation anywhere! I have SO loved visiting the California missions over the last 10 years. There are 21 missions in total. The missions are sprinkled all over California. I have visited most of the missions. In fact, some of the missions I have visited multiple times. The above shot is Mission Santa Barbara, which is considered 1 of the most beautiful missions.

The above shot is from Mission La Purisima, which is in Lompoc. This mission really stands out because of its exterior, which is painted pink. Also, in comparison to some of the more elaborate missions, such as Mission Santa Barbara and Mission Carmel, La Purisima is very simplistic in its decor. I LOVE this shot because the door is so inviting to visitors.

This is a shot of Mission Dolores, in San Francisco. I am not very religious, but when I do go to church, this is the place I frequent. This is where I attend mass. When I am inside this church, I feel such comfort. There is only 1 place that I feel completely at ease; it is in San Francisco. Over the years, I have traveled all over California, documenting the missions with my trusty camera. These 3 pictures are part of that documentation.