Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Welcome back to the Happenings in the Studio, AKA HITS, where I recap what goes on each month in my life as a visual artist. I cover real quick non-art related events to give a sense of where my time goes, but mostly focus on my current art commissions, writing gigs, struggles, thoughts and the like.

J.O.B., Housing and College (yes, I couldn’t stay away)

June was unusually busy with things other than art. Lots of major transitions are in progress. For one my U.S. Census job ended, leaving me on the job hunt again. Since my network of artists, favorite places to buy art supplies and there is a much larger art industry in the San Francisco Bay Area, I am focusing most of my job shopping out there. With that comes apartment hunting and getting new studio space. I am not excited about packing again, but living in the Bay does make me all giddy.

Another huge change is that I am back in college! My entire paychecks were going to my repay my student loans, not giving me any headway. So I enrolled for an online class at the community college of the East Bay to put off my huge payments. So far the class that I am taking is incredibly applicable and helpful. It is showing me web tools that help teach and create community. By the end of it I will have skills I have wanted to learn for a while like how to make podcasts, know the ins, outs and applications of Wikipedia, and how to more effectively use Google Reader.

In fact, the first assignment for Summer school was to make a survey using Google Docs, which automatically puts the answers into a spreadsheet! As you know I use spreadsheets daily (literally). I feel a tad disloyal to Excel, but they just don’t have all the features of Google Docs. I made a survey for this blog. It would be very helpful and encouraging if you would please take a moment to fill out this survey for this art blog. I would really appreciate you taking it. :-) Thank you!

Paper Lanterns

Typically I show a slideshow and/or video of what I have created but for June I have nothing much to share. I’m still conceptualizing and problem solving how to best create paper lanterns wired with LEDs to hang over my client’s master bed. More about the art process and thinking that goes behind making art installations.

I did get to meet up with my artist friend, Celeste Flores and art patron, Andrew, to talk art. It is so encouraging being around fellow artists and art lovers.

New Website of hot places in Sacramento

My Aunt Jenny asked me to join her in reviewing our favorite places in the Sacramento area. We are still compiling posts before debuting. For a sampling, I’ve written about a gluten free and vegan restaurant, traveling by train, where to pick up illustrated kid’s books in Braille, and several day trips of San Francisco’s Marina District with a google map plotting out the trip.

Inspiration/motivation: books, films and TV series

I’ve already spoken several times about the book that I got for my birthday called Crush it! By Gary Vaynerchuk, so I'll leave it at this- go read it!

My textbook for my Summer class is called Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms. I’m learning all sorts of helpful things about RSS feeds, blogs and Wikipedia. It is written in a lively and upbeat style. Thank you San Francisco library for carrying this book. :-)

Besides designing paper lanterns, I watched Wild China, a documentary filmed by the same incredible folks who created Planet Earth. Stunning cinematography and some animal behaviors never caught on film before. My paper lanterns have a lot to live up to. Wow.

I'd eagerly awaited the Sacramento French Film Festival at the Crest Theatre and I was very surprised in a bad way. None of the films were rated and they were way more depressing, shocking and unnerving then I was expecting. After watching the short films I didn't feel like running off to France to drink absinthe and to paint. However dinner with my family and Celeste at Crepeville was wonderful, as was the coffee at the Naked Lounge and sweets from Ginger Elizabeth's chocolate shop. Plus the venue was adorable, old fashioned, smelt like real popcorn, and had sculptural wall sconces taller then me.

To read my thoughts and books read for this year, here's my 2010 booklist.

July goals:

  • Find a full-time job and an apartment in the Bay Area
  • Finish creating and installing the paper lantern commission
  • Finish the last four weeks of my online class and apply what I learn to better market my art and put the new skills towards creating a stronger community for my blog.
  • Continue typing and take typing certificate (Since May I have sped up from 35-50 WPM. My goal is to test at 50.)
  • Daily eat papaya, ginger tea, raw cabbage, steamed beets, take calcium, ginko and practice yoga

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Top 10 Stop Motion Videos on YouTube

While checking out stop motion blogs I found this pretty sweet post:
Top 10 Stop Motion Videos on YouTube

Saturday, June 26, 2010

"The Great One" and wine

Check out this video which reviews Wayne Gretsky's line of Canadian wines. I've been a hockey and Gretzky fan way longer than I have of wine but now I need to go get a bottle of The Great One's cab.

The interviewer, Gary Vaynerchuk, is really inspiring because of his rags to riches story and how he built up his reputation to get to interview Wayne Gretzky.

I saw Gretzky play once and I'll never forget his presence. It's like the time I was in the same arena as the Stanley Cup. Wow! One day I hope to interview Gretzky as well.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Getting to Know You Survey

I normally do all of the talking, which I want to change. I'd love to get to know you in order to make this art blog serve you better and because it would be fun to build a community here.

If you'd please help me out and complete this short survey.

Thank you so much!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Crush it!

"Eliminating the Negative Factors."

Reading that a few days ago made something click. The saying "turn lemons into lemonade" has crossed my path, but it didn't make me want to apply it or really think about it's meaning.

A negative situation for me is not having enough time in the day. I adore mornings because I don't feel behind. It's a start of a fresh day with a new to-do list. Everything is on schedule. (Did you pick up that I love starting new projects because it's exciting?) Plus I'm wired to think clearly and more creatively and focus for hours on a task if it's before noon.

How do I give myself more time? How do I get longer mornings?

Get up earlier.

Now that it's summer it's easy to say that, since it's warm and sunny by 6am and the birds are up and tweeting.

This morning I woke up feeling behind and berated myself (while still laying in bed snuggling with the dog), that I shouldn't of slept in. I should of respected the alarm I set and got up at 7am. After a little while I did get up and greeted the morning sun to find out it was 5am! I was awake and functioning so I capitalize on that extra time and started cracking on the to-do list.

I'm going to start getting up earlier although probably not 5am. I'm thinking 6 in the morn. For sure it is going to be tough some days, like when I stay up late, but I want to build my legacy.

I am working on changing my current situation (albeit not horrible, but not where I planned on being after graduating college).
Typically I am motivated by what I don't want (student loan debt, being broke). However some of my wants is to have the freedom to travel, make tons of art, and live in a yurt or a loft or a tree house (or some other dwelling of my very own). I need to remind myself when it's cold outside of the covers at 6am, that if I sleep in it will take so much longer to get what I want.

If you haven't read Crush it! by Gary Vaynerchuk, you need to read it. I'm hoping you will create your passion into a career (if you're not doing that already). I need to figure out what the "it" from "Crush it!" is for me. I'm a champ at whack-a-mole, but I know a life of focusing on everything will be exhausting and unrewarding. I'm learning to focus and figuring out what I really want out of life (and creating the discipline to get up early).

Sunday, June 6, 2010

This book made me smile...

...I love how the man made the kite to make his lady smile.

That is so sweet.

(Click on the butterfly kite photo to get the full effect.)

This book is illustrated by multiple Caldecott award winner, David Wiesner. From reading the best American picture books (AKA Caldecotts) I discovered an illustrator that I really enjoy. Wiesner's art is playful, rich in colors, full of awe and emotion. Reading his books makes me want to create.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Welcome to HITS, the Happenings in the Studio, where I share what went on in my life as an artist. May was very unusual for me, in that I didn’t spend much time in the art studio. Instead I worked at my temporary Census job, applied to about 25 jobs, and I celebrated my birthday!!

As far as the artsy stuff goes, I made a prototype lantern made out of bouncy balls and crafted a thank you card out of a cheerios box, green straws and blue, plastic monkeys.

I was on a reading frenzy and blew through 26 gold medal Caldecott books and eight silver winners. That leaves eight gold winners left to read! There are still lots more silver winners to read since there are anywhere from zero to five books chosen for each year dating back to 1938. I have discovered some new favorite authors and illustrators. And I have decided on the topic for the book I am going to write. It's going to be a book of lesson plans centering around the award winning picture books and art, reading and writing. Once it's all put together I am thinking of teaching the class too.

My ears were treated to three concerts by my talented cousins. I don’t know how to play any instruments, so I am mystified hearing musicians perform. How do they do that? One of the songs is featured on the May HITS video.

My Aunt and I are collaborating on a website. It is going to be awesome! You’re just going to have to wait until June’s HITS to hear more about it.

Thanks for dropping by! See you July 1st!

HITS Table of Contents