Weekend 2/24/17




A couple weeks ago, it was pretty sweet to spend my Monday in Monterey painting with my friend Tara (her painting of kayakers is on the left). We had a great time especially since the rain stopped and it was nice enough to sit on a bench and work outside. I always feel like I need to do this more.

A librarian friend started a Drawn to the Night event at the Santa Clara City Library. The theme was 'eyes' and we had a blast hanging out drawing.

I worked on a portrait of April Ryan, the journalist. It's about 50 percent finished here. Rachel did an awesome job setting up the event with a display of different examples of eyes, tables and they even have work stations with angled tables.




Sofa Sketch

Sofa Sketch was extra good this round since we gave our first about to be mom some special gifts, including a book of images we made for her. I marbled the front cover in blue and painted her name. I left it open ended so everyone could paint or write whatever they wanted. The artists made so many good ones around motherhood, that I decided to make mine about imagination, painting Claudine and her new baby on a boat, with her pups close by on shore (dad's in the house cooking). It was fun painting something from my head, keeping it super intuitive. 

After painting the image for Claudine's book, I decided to paint something intuitively again for sketch night. It didn't turn out as great as I thought it might, but it was a fun exercise. 

Yvonne's art from Sofa Sketch. I loved those dark shadows and how she used the corner of the page.

Weekend 2/3/17

This past week has been a good one with lots of sketching and new ideas coming to fruition. I feel like the fog is clearing on where I want to head with my work this year and that feels pretty great. The election has had me in a weird space, as it has for many artists. I got annoyed last week thinking that dumb man can't keep me from making art! 

It feels like my new work will be larger and tell stories. I want to actually get started on my children's book this year. I want to bring my own experience, mix it with some fantasy and the current world for my new work. I can't exactly say what it will be, but I am happy about the sketches and thoughts forming.



Three sea paintings from this week.

Three sea paintings from this week.

I painted some postcards to send to congress this week. The idea is rough seas ahead. It felt really good to write those that I feel are doing good in the world, including Senator Kamala Harris. 



  • I listened to the Stuff Your Mom Never Told Me podcast episode A Skeptic's Guide to Women & Islam. It gives a really interesting perspective from Heina Dadaboy, a former Muslim who is now an atheist. Note, she isn't against the religion, but rather gives perspective on some stereotypes others have about it.
  • I've been trying to work on my Spanish again...well, as of today. I can get by but I really want to be truly bilingual. I love the Radio Ambulante podcast since I can listen while working. I listened to an episode Cuando La Habana era friki or "When Havana was freaky", an episode about a subculture in Cuba who would actually inject themselves with HIV as an act of rebellion. If you don't understand Spanish, I recommend listening to it on Radiolab in English.


Wildwood  by Colin Meloy and illustrated by Carson Ellis

Wildwood by Colin Meloy and illustrated by Carson Ellis


Last week I mentioned I'm reading Wildwood by Colin Meloy and illustrated by Carson Ellis. I am mesmerized by the creativity and the illustrations accompanying the text. Check out this New York Times review if you want to read more about it. It makes me feel super nostalgic for books I read back then, much like the Stranger Things series made me think of the buddy movies of the 80's I grew up on.



Tonight is South First Fridays in San Jose. Some things I am excited to see: 


Lady sketches while watching a documentary

Lady sketches while watching a documentary


  • I sketched ladies while watching the women's lib doc She's Beautiful When She's Angry. Obviously super relevant in these times with a misogynist as President, the documentary will make you sad that we have to still do this all these years later. I ended up sketching ladies while watching. I at first randomly found an article on how Iranian women dressed in the 70's, so I drew Iranian women. Then I looked up African women and drew them. 
  • A friend recommended watching Lest We Forget: The Big Lie Behind the Rise of Trump. Just as we thought, but clarified with historical notes and commentary. Pretty frightening to see this recent effort for white supremacy.


Weekend 11/18/16

First off, hello's been awhile.

I know I have been neglecting the weekly blog for months, but this week I am bringing it back. It's been a busy year and I just didn't have time for it. That's how it goes sometimes. I feel like I hit the ground running after my early October wedding with various projects. It feels good to be busy.  


Cat Watercolor Workshop

On Wednesday, I led another cat watercolor workshop at The Dancing Cat, a cat rescue space, in San Jose. They call it "San Jose's first creative space for people and cats." I really love teaching at this spot. It's 7 blocks from my house, the owner is great and so far, the classes sell out before I can promote them. She finds the best students, some with experience, some without, but they all are really open, motivated and have a really good time. I really like to encourage freeing yourself up, allowing yourself to have fun, experiment and embrace your own natural style. These workshops have been getting me motivated to teach more workshops in the future. Sharing my knowledge with new people reinforces my love for what I do. I have wanted to expand my offerings for workshops after the Content Magazine event over the summer and these recent cat workshops, so you should be seeing more in 2017.

I'll be teaching a pre-teen/teen class at The Dancing Cat for ages 10-14 (there's still room if you know anyone!) on December 10th and possibly another adult one in January.



A friend recently posted this episode of Malcolm Gladwell's podcast. She was right, it's fascinating. The title, Hallelujah, references the iconic song by recently departed Leonard Cohen. If you don't know Leonard's music, check it out. It's seriously beautiful. 

I heard a Radiolab podcast, From Tree to Shining Tree, a few months back on the community among trees. It's an unbelievably magical episode. I won't say much, but if you want to have your mind blown on the interconnectivity of trees, you must listen. I also just found out there is a TED Talk on the subject as well. 



Artist Alicia Dornadic curated an art show over the summer at Alite Outpost called Not a Lemon. She put together this beautiful catalog of the show and it's available on Blurb for $11. I can't wait to get mine!


Cohen Trump.JPG


After taking a little unplanned break from art last week, I made this combination of paintings. The top room is of Leonard Cohen's living room and the bottom is Trump's living room. I was watching a Leonard Cohen documentary and the narrator said:

Leonard’s house is sparse, without decoration. The walls are pale gray with white trim...The furniture is is minimal...He has everything he needs and nothing that he doesn’t need.”
— from Adrienne Clarkson documentary "Leonard"

In thinking about how Donald Trump got a lot of support from the blue-collar or working class, it's pretty ironic that his three-story penthouse home is $100 million and filled with marble, 24 kt gold and chandeliers. My unplanned break from art last week was due to a combination of working on a grant application, reflecting on the election and what I am doing with my art. Sometimes I get so disenchanted with art in its modern context. It feels like it's all about conveying perfection on Instagram, everything looking homogenous and branded. I still have my rebellious side and I see it coming out more lately. It's so important to voice your opinion and be yourself.




Last night I saw the great Anthony Bourdain in San Jose. I have been a huge fan for a decade now so it was pretty amazing to see him in person. I love how he is both a food elitist and calls out food snobbery. I can't wait to get his new cookbook too.



I painted this sketchbook cover for a friend's birthday. It says "sueña en grande" or "dream big." I used BFK Rives paper to wrap the sketchbook cover, using a technique I learned in a book making course in art school. The painting is of Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument in New Mexico, a place we hiked while on a road trip together a few years ago.

I painted this little window, thinking of that super moon everyone was talking about, thinking of a light at the end of the tunnel, that kind of thing. 



I think having a dog is key to working freelance or from home. They get you of the house and out of your head. You also get to go to dog parks like the one pictured above. Hart's Dog Park is a new spot in Downtown San Jose and one of our best artists, Roan Victor, painted this stunning mural at it.

Weekend 3/18/2016

Midst working on taxes, cleaning out the studio and doing some all around spring cleaning, I have been packing for an upcoming trip to Costa Rica. I'm trying to get all my ducks in a row beforehand. It's feeling so good to know that I will come back to a clean slate. 





Last Friday I made patacones and guacamole for a jiu jitsu potluck. Patacones are friend green plantains. Since a lot of the ladies I train with eat somewhat paleo/clean, I wanted to make something that fit into that way of eating. I love being the cook. You get to sample while you're working.

Niçoise salad                                                     

Niçoise salad                                                     

I loosely used this recipe to make this Niçoise salad. It turned out so good. I ended up kind of mashing up the potatoes. I used sherry wine vinegar since that's what I had and leftover roasted chicken rather than fish. 



Michael Ian Black interviewing Naomi Klein

I listened to The Raincoats on a rainy Sunday. It's one of my favorite records of all time. 



My friend Jackie mentioned this article to me about a frugal man. It's really interesting. I always go back and forth between being frugal and being extravagant. Although my level of extravagance is probably really low-key compared to some people. It's interesting to hear about how this guy lives.



I've been walking a ton since we got a dog so I have been noticing things in my neighborhood more than usual. I love the way this apartment dweller decorated their balcony and these tiles are so nice.


I told myself I would switch it up and paint something totally different, but ended up painted one of my usual moons. 

Sauna sketchbook.jpg

I drew some ideas for a backyard sauna, something I dream of having someday. I started sketching some when I was in Spain a couple of years ago and have them on my mind again lately.