Sunday, August 25, 2013

Creative Kids!!! ~ A Summer of Art Camp!

Art is not a part of life, 
it is not in addition to life,
it is the essence of those pieces of us, 
that make us fulfilled. That give us hope. 
That give us dreams 
and provide the world a view 
very different than what it would have been 
without us.
~Hansan Davis

Leopard Love
by Stella, age 5
watercolor pencil, white pastel

Stella ... artist, fashion maven, spitfire and future designer of all things animal print.

I've been a little behind and slow with blogging over the summer. Once again I was teaching summer art workshops, at the Wizard of Art in Los Feliz, (near Griffith Park.) This summer I did 10 weeks and the very last day was on Friday!

I thought I'd share with you, some of the amazing kids we spend a week or more with, over the summer. The kids sign up by the week. Some do 1 week, some two ... Keya spent 4!

Penguins in Pastel by Keya, age 12. 

I don't have the photo of Keya but there will be much more of her work to come. She is starting as a regular student, at the Wizard of Art, this fall. She is a rock star, and I can't wait to have her in class.

Tiger Eyes
pastel on canvas
Alexis, age 8

Alexis ... artist, animal lover and sweet spirit.

Hummingbird in the Afternoon
Watercolor on paper
by Georgia, age 10

Georgia ... watercolorist, over-achiever, and future Ivy League grad.

charcoal tone drawing
Lola, age 7

Lola ... artist, and future editor of Rolling Stone. (She walked in Monday morning and we asked what she wanted to draw. Without hesitation, she said, "Ringo or George.")

Harp Seal at Night
Mixed Media on paper
by Graham, age 6

Graham ... artist and future Green Peace activist.

Apple on Green
Oil on Canvas
Gabe, age 10

Gabe ... well first let me say, that this brilliant apple was Gabe's first oil painting ever. He's been doing acrylics for a couple of years, and using this new medium was a revelation for him. He kept shouting, "I love Oils!!!" while he was painting. 

I can't imagine him not becoming a painter, not only because of his talent, but how passionate he is about it! 

He also ran for school president and won. His platform was that the art studio should be open during lunch. An artist for president perhaps?

Night Owl
Charcoal on canvas
by Gavin, age 8

Gavin ... proud artist and Audubon enthusiast.

Dolphin and the Sea
Animation cell, mixed media, watercolor and salt
by Maggie, 5 1/2

Maggie ... artist, dreamer, and eyewear maven. 

Tropical Seascape
Watercolor on Paper
by Ziggy, age 9 (10 in one month)

Ziggy ... watercolor genius and future humanitarian award winner. (Wins current award for kindest smile, and most beautiful attitude.)

Evening by the Sea
Acrylic on canvas
by Asher, age 10

Asher ... painter, future A.S.B. President, captain of the football team, and most likely to be a missing member of the Kennedy family. 

Still life with Single Rose
Acrylic on canvas
Nelly, age 11

Nelly was leaving the next day. Her family was moving to the east coast and she was visibly shaken. Nelly did this painting for her best friend, and it was her parting gift to her.

Nelly ... artist and future art therapist.

Art opens up the closets,
airs out the cellars and attics.
It brings healing.
~Julia Cameron

Bright Poppies
Watercolor on paper
by Ruby, age 7

Ruby ... painter, sweetheart, and creator of things bright and beautiful.

And here are a few more of my summer faves that I happened to get photos of. Sometimes they left and I realized I missed photographing some of my favorite art pieces! (And kiddos!)

Orla ... artist and lover all things pastel, stuffed and furry. Age 5.

Sadie ...  sculptor, beauty (inside and out) and most likely to be a future choice, to represent the U.S., at the Venice Biennale. 

Tessa, 9 ... artist, watercolor enthusiast, and most likely to change her major from pre-med to art, a semester before graduating. 

Carolyn, ... painter, Monet enthusiast, and wins the award for sounding most like Brenda Vaccaro at 13 years old. (So fabulous.)

Samara, 7 ... watercolorist, and future head of a Fortune 500 company.

Ashley, 5 ... animator, cutie pie and future fashion blogger. Just look at those glasses!

And then there was Michael. Audrey, our high school intern (who has been taking at the Wizard since she was 4) and I were so taken with this little one. The cuteness ... was astounding.

He was also one of the most focus little ones, we've ever had. His squirley little buddy Leo, would come up and start joking around and Michael would sigh and say, "I'm trying to work."

He would get so passionate, about what he was doing, he'd have to get up. All that energy would just pop him up out of his seat!

I mean seriously, could he be any more adorable? ... A little bundle of joy and light. 

Parrots at Sunset
pastel on paper
by Michael, age 6

These are 3 of my favorite teenagers, on the planet. 

Audrey, on the left, is our super talented high school apprentice, and fast becoming a great art teacher. She still takes Saturday class at the Wizard. 

Faith is in the middle and has been coming back every summer for workshops and is another amazing painter. She always stuns me. 

Anna, on the right, also takes Saturday class and decided to do two weeks of workshops, this year. Yay!

Anna and Audrey did portraits of each other.
Here is Anna with her oil painting of Audrey.

by Anna, age 16
oil on canvas

I know! Right? Incredible. So fun to see what she comes up with.
Here, Anna is working on a portrait, in ink.

Anna and Audrey, with Audrey's Portrait of Anna

by Audrey, age 16
oil on canvas

Faith was working on this, below. I will have to post the finished piece later. She found a photo of this British politician with  ... let's just say, he had a rather full face. Somehow, she imagined him ... pickled. 

You have already seen these Sartorial Sisters, with their art. Stella with her leopard, and Sadie with her seal. I love seeing how these girls express themselves, not only through their art, but what they wear. So dang cute.

A lot of silliness happens over the summer ...
And sometime you just have to join in. (Yes, that's me in the glasses.)

Shane, (Faith's sister) ... more silliness and artist's eccentricities! 

Another character, 6 year old Brooke, funny, sassy and smart as a whip. (And Alexis' sister.)

We have a snack break and you never know what will happen ... shoulder rubs, games, jokes, charades, hair braiding ... and of course, actual snacks.

The teachers ... Mekenzie, Audrey and I. It's funny, because we look appropriately tired in this shot! So lucky to work with these talented ladies! 

Making art is like giving a gift:
evidence of your spirit
and that you are here.
~Patty Mitchell

Blessings and light!

Friday, August 16, 2013

An Afghan Feast and the Old Mission Santa Barbara!

Old Mission Santa Barbara
"The Queen of the Missions"
Founded by Friar Fermín de Lasuén 
Feast of St. Barbara, December 4, 1786

The Santa Barbara Mission was the 10th mission, of the twenty-one California Missions, founded by the Spanish Franciscans. 

Saint Francis in the Mission Courtyard

This summer, our friend Nasrin came to visit. None of us had seen her since Pakistan, in 1997. She was an Afghan who had left her country with her 3 children, and was working in Islamabad, where my parents were living at the time. 

Many years ago, only months after I'd met her, the U.N. helped her come to the United States, to North Dakota, where she'd be safe, with her children. (Long, amazing story! I'll let you know when her book comes out!) 

My family stayed in touch with her ... especially my Mom. And, after so many years, Nasrin came for her first visit to California! She came just before the 4th of July. I thought it would be fun to bring her to Ojai for the 4th, with the funny Ojai Independence Day Parade and 4th of July 

We also thought it would be nice to take her to Santa Barbara, which is a beautiful little town on the Southern California Coast.

Our first stop was the Santa Barbara Mission, with it's lovely old Spanish architecture and beautiful gardens.

Saint Francis in the lovely cemetery grounds.

Inside the church, the statues on the altar date to the 1790s, with St. Barbara in the center.

On either side of the nave are two niches or chapels, in which are inhabited by two figures each. On one side, Jesus and Mary Magdalene, and on the other, Saint Francis of Assisi with Saint Claire. The sculptures were done, in bronze, by Northern California artist, Bruce Wolfe. 

Nasrin loved these sculptures. I don't know when they were brought in. I'd never seen them and it had been years since I'd been to the mission.

Jesus and Mary
by Bruce Wolfe

Mary Magdalene
by Bruce Wolfe

Saint Francis and Saint Claire
by Bruce Wolfe

Saint Claire of Assisi
by Bruce Wolfe

Mission Kitchen

Below, old saint paintings ... somehow I didn't get the info. I was getting really hungry! Sorry!

Antiphonal, circa 1770-1775

In case you missed it, I also recently visited the Mission Santa Inés, and the blog post is HERE.

For more on the Old Mission Santa Barbara, click Here, for their website.

For information on the 3rd Century Martyred Saint Barbara (patron saint of Prisoners, Architects, Artillerymen, and Mathematicians,) click Here.

After our Mission visit, we headed through charming little neighborhoods, down the hill, to State Street, where there are lots of little shops and countless restaurants to choose from.

One of the back walkways ...

I think this, below, is a city government building. As you can see, they stuck with the Spanish architecture, all over town. Santa Barbara was a hit with Nasrin. We bought Powerball tickets and decided if she won, she'd by a house there! I, of course, would buy my villa in Italy. ;)

The next day ... was the feast. Nasrin and I drove down to Ventura to 3 different stores, for ingredients, while my mom shopped for more stuff up in Ojai! 

Here are just a few of the spices that we ground in my dad's coffee grinder.

We started cooking at about 1:30 and finished at about 7:45.

Below, Afghan/India spices, cooking with onions, garlic and tomato paste ...

Below ... fried eggplant that would go into a masterpiece of deliciousness!

Okra, which all kept referring to as "Oprah."

Carrots cooking in oil ... and sugar.

Here is the eggplant dish, with yogurt (with garlic in it.) I can't tell you the name, because I can't remember, and I probably couldn't spell it anyway but  ... oh my good gravy! Best thing ever. Pretty sure we ate something similar, back in '97, when we visited Peshawar, Pakistan. 

If you ever get the chance to have Afghan food ... don't miss the opportunity!

Below, heavenly lamb with more of the same spices, then seared in oil with sugar. (omg!) Sorry to torture you guys!

There was also a spinach dish, another eggplant dish ... a HUGE rice dish with pistachios, raisins, and carrots ... 

And this beef dish below, that was incredible, with chickpeas and peppers. We also had some "plain" rice for my nephew. By the way, she brought a special 5 pound bag of rice, in her carry on, that was from imported from India.

There were 7 of us including Benjamin (who just turned 8 yesterday!) but there was enough food for 20 people. And, by the way, my nephew ate everything! Even the stuff he says he normally doesn't like, and the rice was, he said, "the best I've ever had!"

It was an incredible once in a lifetime feast, and a wonderful visit. The following day, we took Nasrin to the Getty Center, in L.A. I'm not sure how I even moved. I'd had at least two heaping plates full of food! 

Before she left, we also had lunch in my hood, cruised around Hollywood, and looked at some of the big Hancock Park mansions.

Thank you Nasrin, for coming to visit us! And, of course, the cooking lesson! :)

I grew up in Ventura, which is about a half hour from Santa Barbara. Without traffic, that is. 

My friends and I would go see bands play, in High School, and in the years just after. This band, below, is one of the Santa Barbara bands we used to go see. (Plus, a couple of guys I had crushes on played in bands that would play the same nights, so we saw them many times. Fortunately, my "band musician period" was short lived!) 

Anyway, I will never forget, having moved to San Diego, turning on the radio in my little grey hatchback, and hearing this band for the first time on a huge San Diego radio station! It was so exciting, my friend and I were screaming! This is the song they were playing ...

Toad the Wet Sprocket, 1991

Keep all special thoughts and memories
for lifetimes to come.
Share these keepsakes with others
to inspire hope 
and build from the past,
which can bridge
to the future.
~Mattie Stepanek