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.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I have been on vacation for almost 2 weeks now. I have been catching up on my life, which includes watching movies, spending time with my family and friends, and making some new art. Also, I am falling in love with fashion and sewing again! As a kid who grew up in the 70's, I am re-discovering some classic fashion styles and icons such as Ali MacGraw, Faye Dunaway, Jane Fonda, and Diane Keaton. Although I was a pre-teen when "Love Story" came out, I SO fell in love with the movie, book, and especially, Ali MacGraw's style. This trailer is great even if for nothing else, just to look at her timeless style.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Although I have seen some really wonderful movies this past year (and of course, none of them are current movies you can see at a movie theater), my favorite that I saw in 2010 is called "La Mission", with Benjamin Bratt. "La Mission" is about a Latino father coming to grips with his teenage son being gay. When we lived in San Francisco, we spent a lot of time in the Mission neighborhood. It felt like being back home in L.A. every time we ventured to "Pancho Villa's" or to Mission Dolores for Sunday mass. The colors and smells of the neighborhood conjured images of East Los Angeles and Boyle Heights. Anyway, besides being a terrific movie about the struggle to find acceptance and a sense of belonging, the movie is a wonderful and loving valentine to the Mission District.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

If you check out my blog, I have a very interesting link called "Style Rookie" by Tavi Gevinson. I have been following this blog for the last year-and-a-half. What makes this blog SO interesting is that it brings together art and fashion as seen through the eyes of its blogger, a 14-year-old girl named "Tavi". I have been obsessed with fashion since I can remember! Maybe it's because I went to a private school for 8 years and had to wear a uniform. Maybe it's because both of my parents were clothes-horses. Or maybe it is the artist in me! As a young girl, in my pre-teen years, I fell in love with Ali MacGraw's classic, yet simple elegance. By the time I saw "Love Story" as an 11 year-old, I was hooked!

If you take a look at these 2 shots of Ali MacGraw, you could swear her look is current and today! This is what great style does. It NEVER makes you look trendy! Growing up, I wanted to be Ali MacGraw, but I didn't have the straight hair, or the body, or the crooked front tooth smile, or really anything else of hers to be able to pull it off. Her approach to wearing sportswear has really influenced my look over the years. I learned at a very young age to invest in timeless pieces that I could use over and over. My approach to fashion has always been to buy something that has a lot of life to it. And maybe, who knows, 20 years from now, someone will look at a photo of me and say, "That outfit looks SO right now!"
During Thanksgiving break, I started working in a new journal. I was given this Frida leather journal almost 2 years ago, as a birthday gift. I altered the front cover and have actually gotten the first few pages completed on the inside.

The first 4 months of work have been SO fast-paced and chaotic that there hasn't been any time to create much art. I have completed the first 6 pages in my Frida book. Now that I have a little free time (not as much as I would like), I am hoping to get a little further along in this book.
It has been an incredibly busy 4 months! I am ever so grateful for some time off and an opportunity to re-charge. However, before I get to blogging about some recent art I have created, I want to say a few words about my dear friend, Carol Parks who passed away recently. These photos are snapshots of her backyard. Every time I visited Carol's home, whether it was to take a class or for her annual Valentine's Day tea, Carol always managed to pull out all of the stops for anyone who was fortunate to be included. Carol made everyone feel at home. Carol made every thing look SO easy! Every last detail was taken care of and she made it all look like it was effortless when in fact, it was very time-consuming. She was an incredibly generous, creative, and fascinating woman! And oh, what a friend...

Not only was Carol a special friend to me, she was a patron saint to several artists she hosted at her home. I can't speak for anyone except myself, but if it hadn't been for Carol, I most likely would never have gotten an opportunity to take such wonderful classes with the likes of Traci Bunkers, Juliana Coles, and Lynne Perrella. My job makes it almost impossible to take time off for classes and because I could never get to Artfest or other venues across the country because of my work schedule, Carol hosting workshops @ her home gave me a chance to take classes with some of the best artists out there. When I look at these shots I took of Carol's patio and backyard, they seem to personify Carol. These chairs among the beautiful, vibrant colors, beckon you to take a seat, take a load off, to slow down, and enjoy the moment. Just like Carol did... Carol, you will be sorely missed.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Here are 2 more pages from my swatches book. I created these 2 pages with my dear friend, Shanna in mind. Like the lotus, Shanna's beauty is found in every place she is.

I have been truly blessed with many friends! And throughout my life, I have met several special persons who continue to have a BIG part in my life and I carry them in my heart always. But Shanna is in a category all to herself. She is the most special, spiritual, and kindest soul I have met. Shanna radiates a quiet dignity. Recently, Shanna left to start a new journey that will take her to several countries over the course of the next 2 years. First stop, India, where she was born and lived for many years.

Here I am with another dear buddy, Donna and Shanna on the last day of the 2009-2010 school year. Donna and Shanna took me out to dinner to celebrate my promotion (again!) to principal. It is hard to believe all of the things that happened in a year! And it is hard to believe Shanna is not going to be working with us anytime soon. Safe journey...

Here are some more pages from my swatches book. It seems as though it has taken me forever to finish this little book, but in actuality, I finished most of my pages in a 3-day period. But sadly, I have had no time to work on any new art in the last month. We are 3 weeks from our opening and pretty much most of my time is now focused on getting all of the last details taken care of so that I can open my school.

I worked today and it looks like I will be working the next 2 Saturdays too. Today, I felt like I really knocked out a BIG chunk of work. And right now, I feel good about a lot of things going on in my life!

Maybe if I can make another BIG dent this week @ work, I can carve out a little time to make some new art. I only have 4 pages left in my swatches book and once I am finished, I plan to make a few for some very special friends and maybe some to sell. The swatch books are going to be great therapy for the new principal!

Thank you for the interest in my collage packs. I have sold all of them. I think I have made a dent in my studio! All of the collage packs will be going out in Monday's mail. Once again, thank you and especially to Kelly, my dear friend and fellow artist, and who I swear I need to hire as my agent!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

During the last 2 months, I have gotten an opportunity to see some terrific movies. My husband and I try to do a couple of movie nights @ home each week. This past Friday, we saw "Rabbit Proof Fence", which is based on a true story. These movie nights are more than entertainment for us; these films all deal with the theme of social justice, or I should say, injustice. As we get closer to opening school, I want to give our students many opportunities to learn and discuss about injustices just like what happened to Molly Craig, her sister, Daisy, and cousin, Gracie, the protagonists of this movie. Without giving it away, this story truly is a testament to the power of the human spirit.

July and now August, have been incredibly busy months! We are a month away from opening the new school and there are SO many things that still need to get done. I feel as though I am 8 months pregnant and ready to give birth soon! Absolutely no time to make art or to do too much of anything other than work! However, my blog needs a jolt and some fresh artwork before my 7 "followers" desert me for good! These pages are from my swatches book that I started in Kelly's "Swatches" class, early in July.

I have enjoyed tremendously working in this little book and I am 4 pages away from completing it. Once this book is finished, it will be time to re-visit my love journal, which has been as patient with me as my blog followers!

If you like my pages, particularly the decorative papers I am using, fyi - in my quest to keep cleaning and minimizing the amount of supplies I have in my studio, I have made up some packs again. These packs are different from the ones I usually sell because they are just made up of paper - all kinds of paper: decorative, colored copies of some of my favorite images, foreign language magazine and newspaper pages, and other bits of ephemera. These packs are in a gallon sized Ziploc and are pretty stuffed! I am selling them for $25 (including shipping). If you are interested in purchasing 1, email @ millan0206@yahoo.com .

Lastly, this little swatch book's theme is a celebration of women. All kinds of women ...

Saturday, July 10, 2010

These are the front and back covers of my 1st swatch book that I made in Kelly's class last weekend. I actually made 3 books, but am currently working in only 1. I have to really concentrate and not allow myself to be distracted from this current book because it would be very easy to jump into the other 2 and work from 1 book to another. DISCIPLINE!

I have had this image for several years. I got it from Sarah Fishburn (1 of my favorite artists) through a swap that I participated in. I like how the background papers seem to pick up the colors of the object the young woman is carrying over her head. I especially like the pinks and reds that are so prominent.

I worked with packing tape, stickers, and rick rack on these pages. On the page to the right, I let some of the original paper peek through it.
It was an extremely busy week. We are only 3 weeks from moving into the new school. After moving in, there are about 5 weeks before the new school year starts. Time is just flying! I was reminded of that yesterday when we received the calendar of upcoming principals' meetings for the new year. Ridiculous that we are getting this in July since we just had our last meeting of the previous school year in June, but there the calendar loomed over us!
As busy as it has been these last 3 months, I am trying to squeeze in a little "me" time, as well as "we" time! Last night, we watched a really wonderful movie called, "Born into Brothels", which I would highly recommend.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Here are 2 more pages in my love journal. It was a very busy holiday weekend! I had a lot going on @ home and with my family. Still, I managed to squeeze in some "me" time, which lately, is not much. On Saturday, I got an opportunity to take Kelly's "Swatches" class and I LOVED it! It was great to see Kelly and actually catch-up a bit too! So much did I enjoy this class, that every moment I have had time to steal these last few days, I have been working on 1 of the 3 books I created in the class. Early in the class, Kelly said, "These little books are addictive!" They sure as hell are! So addictive, that I completed 14 pages in my 1st book and I have another 18 pages left in it! For now, my love journal is on hold. These little books are SO easy to work in because they are so small and portable that I want to complete this little guy before I move back to my love journal! I even have some ideas for books I want to make as gifts for some very special people. Although it's only July, Christmas is right around the corner again... I will be posting my little swatch book pages soon.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Here are 2 more pages in the book I am currently working in. I am looking forward to the long, holiday weekend! It has been an exhausting 3 months! Not only am I looking forward to catching up on my sleep and spending time with my family, but I am taking Kelly's "Swatches" (finally!) class this weekend! YES! Not only do I get a chance to take an art class, but more importantly, I get to catch-up with my dear friend and truly talented artist, Kelly!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Here are my latest pages in my love journal. I am taking a page out of Kelly's "playbook": no paint was used for these 2 and my next 4 pages. I used a variety of papers, stickers, a Sharpie fine marker for writing , and decorative tapes. The pages kind of fit really well with the wide array of colors that seem to showcase the girl's beautiful sari. Although the school year has officially ended, I am SUPER busy putting everything together for the opening of my new school. But being busy is NO reason to not work on art! Not painting pages in my journal has given me more time to work in it. And working more frequently in my journal has given me an opportunity to take a little breather from being a principal.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

My latest pages from my love journal. After a very busy and packed week, I am spending a quiet day cleaning house and listening to Bruce Springsteen and some butt-moving and shaking rock and roll! I may be a principal, but there is nothing conservative about me! Have a great weekend.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day to all the fathers, uncles, god-fathers, and other male role models out there! This is your special day! The top photo is of all of us as children with our folks. Although I am prejudiced, my dad was the best father on the planet. You couldn't ask for better.

My older brother, Frank who epitomizes what a good father should be, and my niece, Katie.

My gorgeous husband, Mike and our niece, Francesca, @ her 8th grade graduation. Hard to believe she is going to be 16 in a few weeks! The time has surely flown!
My younger brother, Michael and me @ Francesca's baptism! Wow, even harder to believe when you think about how much time has passed. Michael and I are Francesca's god-parents. And my baby brother is 'Father Goose' in our family. Never a dull moment when he is around.

Another couple of pages from the journal I am currently working in. I am having a lazy Sunday and feel great about things! I had a furlough day on Friday and another 1 coming up tomorrow. So, I actually got a 4-day weekend. I got a jump start on all the things that were pending @ home and that was terrific. It will give me a day tomorrow for spoiling myself. On tap are a foot massage (it's about time!) and a trip to the museum. I was going to go to the museum today, but have decided instead, to work on my book. Yesterday, I spent the day cleaning house and doing laundry. I re-organized my studio and put all small sized paint bottles in a basket that is now on my desk. Instant inspiration and 1 less excuse for not making the time to work on art. Enjoy your Sunday - we Southern Californians are spoiled with our amazing weather year-round!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

My latest pages in my "love" book. I got a chance to work on several pages in my book this past weekend. I expect to be working on my book again in the next couple of days. I will be off from work this Friday and Monday for a 4-day weekend! I need to take my 4 furlough days before the school year ends and I am running out of time! Today, I took my 1st furlough day and although furlough days # 2 and 3 are a couple of days away, squeezing in the last furlough day will be tough with the schedule I have for the next 2 weeks. Although no one wants to give up days and basically not get paid for their time, I would much rather do this than to see anyone lose their job or our district make more cuts to services. And on a "happy" note, these 4 days are going to force me to slow down and enjoy my life outside of the job. Can anyone say, "Next stop, the Huntington, Norton Simon, Folk Tree?!" Here I come ...

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Sometimes, life becomes complicated. The job gets crazy! There isn't as much time in the day as I would like - every day! But, then I think of all of the moments my nephews and nieces have taught me to slow down and savor the moment. It's great being a kid and being able to... stick out your tongue when the adults want you to behave for the never-ending photos on Christmas day.

And it is fun to be able to just really enjoy that chocolate ice-cream and who cares if you have it all over your face!

Or if you are trying to show the adults to have some fun in church and just, well, chill!

And then of course, there is always time for a jump in the air! Who cares if you are in college, right?! All of this seems 100 times better than preparing for the work week and more endless meetings. Have a great week, everyone! I love all you kids!

A couple of new pages from my love journal. I enjoyed adding several layers to these pages, as well as transparencies, stickers, and a rub-on. The pages in this little book are so thin that I have been adding Wassau paper that is 110 lb. to some of the pages so that I can really work the paper!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Two more pages and two different views of my latest pages in my love journal. I attached one of my soul cards (from a batch I made last summer for a class I taught) to the left side of this page. I like that it looks like a small door - a portal leading to some very private thoughts.

This page started out with several layers of bits of paper. In the background, I used two pages from a book of red stamps that my dear friend, Carol Parks gave me last year. She stuffed a box full of red and Valentine's Day themed items into it. And the box was SO beautiful, I didn't want to open it yet alone take anything out of it! I have been saving these red stamps pages for the right moment. Well, I think that moment just came. And because Kelly raved about these stencils, I had to go out and get them. I have had them on my desk for the last few weeks and they have been patiently waiting for to come out!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Speaking of Pablo Neruda, if you have not seen "Il Postino", you are in for a real treat! This is one of my favorite foreign movies - what a love story! What a valentine to the poet and this beautiful Italian island!
I spent my 4-day (including a furlough day) weekend doing exactly what I love most: 1) spending lots of time with my husband, 2) making art, 3) gardening, and 4) relaxing. The above photo is from a book a colleague gave me for my birthday, back in February. I had not done much with the book other than jot down a few ideas and random thoughts. Over the weekend it came to me what I wanted to do with this little booklet. I made it my latest journal. First thing I did was cover the outside covers in red paint, then I added the gilded edges, which are really stickers. Since I spent almost all of this past February and half of March sick, I felt I short-changed myself on my favorite day of the year: Valentine's Day. So, I spent some of Saturday making valentines (who says you can only give them out on February 14?!) and this new journal will be my "love" book.

First page of my love journal. Lots of thoughts on what love is and what types of love there are. I feel SO lucky to have such a wonderful family and friends, and especially, my husband, who is in a category all his own. It does not get better than that.

These next pages are my ode to Pablo Neruda, my favorite poet. This is an excerpt from "Your Hands":
I crossed the roads,
trains carried me,
waters brought me,
and in the skin of the grapes
I thought I touched you,
the almond announced to me
your secret softness,
until your hands
closed in on my chest
and there like two wings
they ended their journey.
Although not many would dispute that Shakespeare was the greatest poet of all time, Pablo Neruda has always had a BIG place in my heart! Throughout my teaching career, I taught Shakespeare's plays and sonnets, but it wasn't until I taught Neruda's poems that I really fell in love with poetry.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The top photo is a shot of a gift my dear friend, Kelly Kilmer made for me. It and the rolls of tape were just part of a larger gift box Kelly gave me for my birthday.

The photo above is a shot of my India journal and field kit. A few months before the holidays, Kelly told me that she has always wanted a book of my art, whether it be copies of my artwork or original pieces. While I worked on my India book, Kelly posted comments on a regular basis each time I posted photos on my blog. So, a lightbulb clicked in my head about what would make a good gift for Kelly. I got my journal and took it to Kinko's to have it xeroxed. Then, I made a new book of my India journal artwork and I added some new artwork, along with the xeroxed copies. The photos below are the original pieces I added to Kelly's book.

Monday, May 17, 2010

I have been on a cigar box thing since February! I have had several boxes laying on the floor of my studio; they have been in a neat pile for the last 2 years! It was time to do something with them. I made Valentine's Day gifts out of 3 of them and this was my valentine to me! My Frida box has found a permanent home on my desk - inside of the box are little scraps of paper that mean something only to me. More importantly, the scraps and box are constant inspiration when I need a jump start on an idea.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

This past week, my dear friend and fellow artist, Kelly Kilmer, was a 'Guest Curator' for Crescendoh. One of my posts got a HUGE plug and helped give my blog a much needed jolt. Check out Kelly's picks here: http://blog.crescendoh.com/crescendoh/index.html. Thanks Kel!
It seems like forever since I have blogged! Here is my latest completed piece. During my Easter break, I worked on this piece, which was actually a gift I painted for a former colleague of mine. This school year was an especially hard one for me. Although I got both flu vaccinations, the influenza shot in early October, and the swine flu shot in December, I spent all of February and half of March sick with the flu. I got a little breather, but got sick again in April. So, the little time I felt up to making art was done in that week of spring break. During spring break, I was given the best news possible: I got the principal position for the Social Justice Leadership Academy! I have waited patiently for this school to open for the last few years. I applied for the job in May 2009, was told I got the job, then, everything was put on hold. To say I am excited is an understatement! I am going home, back to East Los Angeles, and my new school will consist of many, many familiar faces: Garfield friends and colleagues and maybe a few surprises! Let me come back to this piece... in June 2007, I was told I would be moved to a new school at the end of the year, "to give me another school experience before I would become a principal." I was given the news almost two weeks before the school year ended. The day I got that news was one of the most painful experiences of my life. That day, I was the acting principal and here I was being told I would be moved without any input from me or any thought as to how I would feel about this. For the next two weeks, I had a tremendous outpouring of love, respect, and good wishes bestowed on me. The faculty collected several hundred names on petitions and put pressure on our local district and Board of Education to not move me. The last attempt saw two dozen teachers go to the last Board meeting of the year. One of my oldest friends and colleagues, James Wicks, addressed the packed Board meeting and tried to persuade our former Superintendent not to move me from Garfield. In the end, I was moved not to the school I was originally told, Roosevelt High, but instead, to Wilson High. I was given the kind of send-off you would expect at a funeral. I got the best eulogy you could possibly get, and although the pain of being moved would last throughout my time @ Wilson, I got a golden opportunity by being moved to Wilson. However, that is for another day. I received many, many cards and emails throughout my first year away from Garfield; sometimes, it felt like I was receiving these on a daily basis during that first year. But the most touching one I received was a poem that my fellow colleague and B track teacher, Ann Braeff, gave me. It was an acrostic poem that used all of the letters of my first and last names and it addressed me and the topic of change. When I received this gift, I told Ann I would make a copy of the poem and somehow, I would use it for an art piece for her. It took me almost three years to get that piece completed! When I started to work on this in late March, most of the piece was done very quickly. By working on it, the piece reflected how all of a sudden, I felt: a new beginning, full of hope for what lies ahead with this new school, and coming full circle. I embedded in the background of this piece, Ann's poem. Although it is very subtle where Ann's words are in the painting, the focal image echoes those words very loudly. Lastly, there was no way I could have created this piece back in 2007 - I had to live these last three years exactly in the manner I have to get to this point in my life: a new beginning.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The top photo is from a piece I did in Lynne Perrella's "Frida's Trunk: Lost and Found" class, back in fall 2007. Lynne has always been 1 of my favorite artists. And although I have only taken 2 of her classes, I must have made a positive impression on her because I receive cards and notes from her several times a year. Awhile back, actually 7 years ago this February, I had several hundred rubber stamps that I had collected, compiled, stashed, or were gifted to me over the course of many years. We had a fire that destroyed our entire home and all of our possessions. Miraculously, my large Acey Deucy collection wasn't touched by the fire. After that fire, it was the beginning of us down-sizing our lives. Today, I only have about a dozen of my Acey Deucy stamps - the ones I reach for, time and time again; stamps that I have had for many years. Lynne's work is such an inspiration to me. So, during my recent Christmas break, I made Lynne this travel journal and field kit for her upcoming Frida workshop.

Here is the cover of the field kit. I LOVE the strong, vibrant colors and how they compliment the focal image so well!

Here are the covers of the travel kit, minus the silk ribbon tied around it and the cover of the journal that fits inside the travel kit.

More images of the field kit, exterior, front cover, alongside its interior and the journal that tucks inside the kit.

Another view of the interior of the field kit.

Lastly, a view of the entire exterior field kit. The field kit and journal are both made of canvas - lots of layers of paint went into this project and it was finished off with a simple stitch, all along the entire field kit. The stitching was made with waxed linen thread.