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.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

These are the last pages of my book. I started a new book during the week and have completed my first 2 pages. I am officially on vacation! I don't go back to work until January 11! Absolutely fucking fantastic! And I hope to make some new art during that time. In fact, I have a very short list of things I want to accomplish during my time off.

My list consists of the following:
1) rest
2) enjoy my husband
3) spend some time with my family and friends
4) go to the movies - 3 movies I really, really want to see
5) go to the museums
6) work on my garden
7) pick a yoga studio
If I can accomplish half of my list, I will feel that my time was well-spent! Happy Saturday, everyone!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Here are 2 more pages from my book. Actually, I just finished this book yesterday; there are still a couple more pages I need to photograph and add to my photos before I post them. I started my new book (FINALLY!) tonight! I have the 1st 2 pages completed in the new book. It is hard to believe that I worked on my last book for about 6 months. I think part of what took so long was that I tried to work with a specific theme instead of just letting the artwork go in its own direction. But since I am 5 days away from my 3 week Christmas vacation, I have vowed that I am going to spend a lot more time on making art than I have these past few months.

Monday, December 7, 2009

My latest artwork. Kelly gave me several black and white copies of hand and palm prints awhile ago. I drew this hand based on 1 of those prints. And I added my letters, which are thick, to the palm. I painted the hand in my favorite base color: buttermilk. The leaf is a leaf that I brought back from our trip to Sonoma. We were up in Sonoma mid-August. I had this leaf tucked away in my studio, waiting for it to be called upon.

Baby, it's cold outside! We Southern Californians are SO spoiled when it comes to our weather! We are SO accustomed to having warm, sunny, and gorgeous days! But we do not do well when our days are cold! Today, the high was in the low 50's and it was rainy. You would have thought we had a blizzard! However, I do long for warmer, longer days again! If it were up to me, every day would be 80 degrees!

I had a lot of fun playing with these pages. I incorporated paper and stickers Kelly gave me and an email that my dear friend, George sent me sometime ago. The email congratulates me on being promoted to principal. This was back in February 2009. Now as the year is coming to a close, SO many things have happened to me on a professional level since that day 10 months ago when I got this email. When I have needed a pick-me-up this past year, this email has done just that. And with 2010 just around the corner, I anticipate that there will be more changes in store for me...

Sunday, November 29, 2009

I had a terrific, long Thanksgiving weekend! Five days off flew by! By the same token, I got quite a lot accomplished! And I feel SUPER rested for this upcoming week. During these last few days, I put up 2 Christmas trees, cleaned the house, got all the laundry out of the way for this week, made a MAJOR dent in my Christmas shopping, spent quality time with family and friends, and still had some time to work on some new artwork! Here are some of my latest pages:

If you look closely at these pages, it looks like I have a "bald" space at the end of the right page. It actually was a new page because the previous page was just half the size of a regular page. In this book, I have altered the sizes of my pages to give them a little more contrast and make them more interesting to the eye too. After playing with the size, I made the next page look like it is part of these pages. You will see that effect when I post more artwork later in the week. I am 4 pages away from finishing this book, then it will be time to start another book. I already have my new book waiting for me... I am "itching" to start work in it since it is a different size than this book. Just like I like playing with the sizes of my pages, I like experimenting with the sizes of the books I work in. Different perspective and much more interesting than the status quo...

Saturday, November 21, 2009

I LOVE the saying, "When the caterpillar thought its life was over, the butterfly was born." Throughout our lives, we will be constantly metamorphosing into someone else. These pages are the beginning of the next chapter in my life.

Although the week was crazy and ridiculously fast-paced, it is important for me to slow down and make the time to work on my art. I am looking forward to having the long, holiday weekend next week, which will include, for me, an extra day, Wednesday (which is a day that has been owed to me for the last 2 months). I will get an extra helping of my family next weekend, along with pumpkin and cranberry pies, and I will squeeze in putting up our Christmas tree and attending the annual dinner that is part of our family's fund-raiser for my late niece, Katie's foundation: the Kathryn Elizabeth Millan Memorial Foundation, http://www.kemmf.org/.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A few more pages in my book. I am "itching" to finish this book and start on a new one. It has been a very quiet weekend for me. I had a brutal week @ work and it has been great to turn off that week in many ways. I was SO exhausted, that last night, I was in bed before 9! Wow... Today has also been mostly quiet. I did some work for about a couple of hours, but I also snuck in a nice breakfast with my husband, got my hair trimmed, and ran a couple of errands. Nothing too straining - a nice, quiet weekend is exactly what I need to re-charge for Monday and another week.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Last post of the day... it is hard to be married to a Rough Rider! I took this photo of my husband on the morning of the BIG game. This shot was taken in my studio, @ home. His polo shirt is a homage to his beloved (and my father's) alma mater, Roosevelt High School. Last Friday night, Garfield and Roosevelt played @ ELAC, their football game that is known as the "Classic". Needless-to-say, Roosevelt beat my beloved Garfield Bulldogs, 28 to 16, in the 75th Anniversary of the Classic. Worse than that, I had to hear the Rough Rider gloat all weekend, "Que paso, Garfield, que paso? Which I had to ask myself as well. Although I am a Montebello Oiler, boy, did that Garfield loss hit me hard. It was a bad week for us Bulldogs.

I have been SO blessed my entire life to have SO many wonderful and caring friends; in some cases, friends who have been a part of my life for most of my years such as Kim, Art, and Maroun to more recent friends such as Donna, George, and Shanna, who have been such a BIG part of my life for the last few years. One of those wonderful and dear friends is David, pictured here with me. David is an Assistant Principal who works with me. He will be out for the next 6 weeks on medical leave. He recently learned he has cancer and is currently in the hospital recuperating from surgery. Please keep him in your prayers. You couldn't ask for a better friend. And what a truly special person he is to me and so many others.
What an incredibly busy month November has turned out to be for me! I have been trying to work in a little art here and there so that I can stay sane! Creating art is a great way for me to keep some balance in my life. Here are some of my latest pages. . .

It is no secret that I have been having a love affair with San Francisco, going back to the days we lived there for almost a year, back in 1991-1992. Every opportunity I get, I am there. And if I can't get away, my mind daydreams enough of the time that I find myself walking down those familiar blocks, just like I did all those years ago. It is as I NEVER left the city!

These pages were made with some of the stash that my dear friend, Kelly Kilmer sent to me recently. Kelly gave me an amazing assortment of collage ephemera that has had my creative juices going for the last week! Once again, Kelly, thank you SO much! And just like San Francisco is 1 of my BIG loves, so are skeletons and el dia de los muertos, which is celebrated in Mexico on November 2. Speaking of collage ephemera, I still have 3 collage packs for sale. For more information, refer to my October 17th post and comments posted regarding the collage packs I am selling.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Here are 2 more pages I worked on this past Saturday in the current book I have been working in for the last couple of months. As reported last night, you could hear the U2 concert from our house. I watched the concert live on YouTube and by the time the Arroyo cleared out all those cars, it was close to 2 a.m.! I got about 4 hours of sleep and am pretty beat. It looks like I am going to get to bed early tonight! Watching the concert and being able to hear all of it from our front yard, felt (almost!) like I was there @ the Rose Bowl.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

I may be fucking sick, but I am loving life right now! U2 is performing live @ the Rose Bowl and we can hear the entire concert from our house! YES! If I had not been sick, I would be in that crowd! It is NO secret that U2 is my favorite band. Still amazing after all these years. Well, tonight, the Arroyo is hearing something besides Mother Nature and those coyotes we hear every night!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I have been sick since Sunday afternoon! I have the flu. Thank God I got a flu shot a couple of weeks ago. I get a shot each year. This bug hit me hard, but I think it would have been much worse without the shot. I have been home all week! I am experiencing MAJOR cabin fever and am glad to be back @ work tomorrow. Being sick has really made me slow down - not to a complete stop, though! Since I haven't had too much energy to do too much of anything, I have been working on some new art.

These pages I started last week. I drew the hand and skull (calavera) last Thursday, but I finally made some time (what else is there but time when you are sick?!) to paint these pages last night.

Since I was on a roll last night, I cranked out these pages too. I had just the images glued down last week. But last night, I was able to finish 6 pages in the book I am currently working on. Maybe that is what the doctor ordered...

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Back in early September, I had an art day @ my home. I invited a few of my girlfriends and we spent the day making art. I taught the group how to make their own Soul Cards deck. Besides making art, we had an elaborate lunch. Each of my 5 friends got a box that I put together specifically with them in mind. The boxes were stuffed with supplies for them to make their decks: a pair of scissors, collage images, paints, a box of Portfolio crayons, glue, rubber stamps, decorative papers, and a few surprises! I told my girlfriends everything would be supplied for them - and boy, were they surprised! The boxes were covered in upholstery fabrics. Some of these fabrics such as the ones on these boxes are in the collage packs that are for sale. I LOVE these fabrics because they have a real French feeling to them such as the red ticking above.

A modge podge of items are in each bag.

A bag of ribbons - hand-painted silks, Midori, French, tapestry, lace, etc.

Another view of a ribbon bag.

I have been SO damn busy @ work! I am trying to finish up my last days @ my school so that I can move to the new office and job. There has been really absolutely NO time for any art. A few days ago, I received a request for a collage pack, so I have made up a few bags. And I do mean a few since they take a lot of time to put together! The collage packs (2 gallon ziploc bags) are loaded with decorative papers, a quart-size ziploc bag full of ribbons (several types of ribbons including silk and Midori), fabric pieces, several colored copy collage (including full page) pictures, stickers, labels, and little surprises. I have posted some photos of the contents of the packs. The price is $45.oo, which includes shipping. If you are interested, please email me @ millan0206@yahoo.com. Thanks.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A couple of new pages in my latest journal. I doctored up this image I found in a magazine to make it into my own. Today was an incredibly exhausting day, but although I am pretty beat, art ideas are percolating in my head. I painted several pages in my journal with a buttermilk-off-whitish paint to create a base or background. When I have a moment, these pages will go from buttermilk to who-knows-what! That is the luxury of working in a book, a journal: spontaneity!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Omigod! 2 posts in the same day? In the same week? In the same month? Yes! I am getting ready for el dia de los muertos, celebrated in Mexico, on November 2nd. El dia de los muertos is 1 of my favorite days of the year. Besides working in my book and on my soul cards, I worked on this paper mache skull (calavera). I spent a lot of time decorating the calavera. Now, the only thing it still needs is a sealer. Once I seal the artwork, it will be off to a new home; 1 of my closest friends will be the recipient of this gift.

Speaking of el dia de los muertos, here are some places worthy of checking out because they offer classes and so much more regarding this important day:
1. The Folk Tree in Pasadena
2. Olvera Street in the downtown Los Angeles area
3. Self-Help Graphics in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles
Check my blog for links to all 3. There, you will find schedules of the events these 3 offer, as well as their hours of operation.

Boy, have I been swamped the last couple of weeks! We just finished week 3 of the new school year. I will soon be leaving Wilson again. I have been promoted to a Director's position and will be working @ our local district office. In my new role, I will be opening 5 new schools on 1 campus and re-structuring another school into small schools. Target date: September 2010. Since I am still @ my old job, I have been really doing 2 jobs @ the same time. Although challenging and never boring, to do both places justice, I need to move on to the new job. But I also still need to make time for art-making. As Jack Nicholson famously said in The Shining, "All work makes Jack a dull boy." Yesterday, I spent a good chunk of the day creating new art. I worked on my soul cards and added 2 more to my deck.

And I worked on 2 new pages in my book. I like the way these 2 pages flowed together and as an afterthought, I added the soul card to the center of these pages. This is the 1st work I have created in over 2 weeks. And my blog can attest to that...

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A couple of new pages from the current book I have been working in for most of the summer. Today was the first "official" day of the new school year. It was absolutely exhausting... I am looking forward to the weekend because I will be teaching the "Soul Cards" class this Saturday. Besides teaching the class, I will be working side-by-side with my students, and continuing to expand on my soul cards deck.

Monday, September 7, 2009

The end of summer... wow, where did the time go? Here are some more shots of our recent trip to Sonoma. The 1st shot, my husband and I took in the lobby of the hotel we stayed @. On our last night, we hung out in the lobby after dinner, for a couple of hours. The 2 of us spent time near the fire, reading and enjoying each other's company. We feel very blessed to have such a wonderful life
together-30 years this February.

A shot of the garden, directly across the street from "The French Laundry". I wonder if Thomas Keller ever uses anything in this garden for the meals he prepares...

The Yountville landscape - breath-taking.

On our last day in Sonoma, we stopped @ the Oakville Market, in Yountville. We bought sandwiches, chips, olives, drinks, and sweets for an impromptu picnic. I took these photos while we were inside the market, trying to decide on what to eat. Look at these olives inviting you to dig in with that spoon.

Every type of cheese you could imagine.

More cheeses, local products and beautiful packaging.

One last shot of the cheese bar. Tonight, as a swan song to summer, we enjoyed a barbeque, just the 2 of us, and hung out in our backyard. Lately, I have been spending a lot of time in my garden and it is really starting to take off! Everything seems to be blooming! It is hard to imagine that we have been in this place for a year. Hard to imagine that it will soon be the 1 year anniversary of Mom's passing. Hard to imagine that tomorrow I start year 25 with LAUSD. Where has all that time gone? Wasn't it just yesterday that I couldn't sleep all night, anticipating my 1st day as an English teacher?! Well, as crazy as this may sound, I still have the same excitement and restless night before the new school starts. When I no longer feel that way, it is time to do something else.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Some new art (finally!). Tonight, I completed my dozen soul cards that are my sample set for a class I will teaching next weekend.

These 4 cards are the last of the sample cards I made for my upcoming class. I started working on these when we were up in Sonoma almost 2 weeks ago. It is really hard for me to carve out some time to work on my various art projects, but these soul cards are like working on ATC's because of their size and they are so portable, that you can really work on them just about anywhere. I still have some more pictures I want to post regarding our Sonoma trip, but they will have to wait for my next post.

Friday, August 28, 2009

When you get a chance, please take a look at the "One Laptop Per Child" program. You can find the link in the section of my blog titled "Get Involved In Our World". September 8 is "International Literacy Day". This is an amazing way to help all children become more literate.

More photos from our recent trip to Sonoma. I took all of these shots @ 1 of the wineries we visited, Chateau St. Jean, in Kenwood. The first time we visited this winery was 5 years ago. It was mid-September and I caught a bad summer cold while we were up in Napa; specifically, the first day there. Although on that trip I took numerous photos of Chateau St. Jean, being sick with a bad cold and fever made it really impossible for me to fully appreciate the beauty of this winery and the Napa and Sonoma valleys' gorgeous landscapes. This was not the case last week... what a glorious winery!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

More photos from our recent trip to Sonoma. The photo above was taken @ Rutherford Hill Winery, in Rutherford. I took this shot from the picnic area, which gave me a nice view of the Napa Valley from where I stood.

Another shot of grapes. Look at those gorgeous variations of purple-blue on the grapes. Beautiful.

Although it is almost September, the colors of the leaves are gently changing colors. In less than a few weeks, the leaves will be putting on a spectacular show.

My husband took this shot of me in front of "The French Laundry", in Yountville. For those who do not know this the only way you can get a reservation at this restaurant is by booking 2 months in advance! "The French Laundry" offers 2 menus to choose from. I learned of this restaurant several years ago, when my husband was attending culinary school. We have talked about actually eating here 1 day, but as a vegetarian, I have concluded that there would be very little I would eat on the menu! The French style of cooking excludes people like me from their foods! Anyway, for more information about "The French Laundry", go to this link:

More my style is "The French Laundry's" sister restaurant, "Bouchon". Besides "Bouchon", there is "Bouchon Bakery". Not this visit, but on our last to Napa, we ate @ "Bouchon". This time, I wanted to concentrate on their bakery. We hit the bakery twice while we were up there this past week. I got something deliciously decadent called "TKO"; the "TKO" consists of 2 chocolate cookies filled with a light creme. I picked something that was the least sinful out of a boat-load of pastries and cookies that would make you gain a pound or 2 just from looking @ them!

The next 2 shots are from "Bistro Jeanty", another French-styled restaurant, in Yountville. I have never been to France, but the bistro's curtains, flowering window boxes, and bicycle outside of the restaurant really caught my attention.

It is 1 of my dreams to visit France before I die. When we walked by "Bistro Jeanty", I felt like I had been transformed to the south of France. More Sonoma and Napa photos to come in my next post.