My Newest Published Writing!

Hello everyone!

Been hard at work creating new visual pieces as well as writing. My poetry has been featured in a Cancer Anthology. It was a pleasure to work and collaborate with other writers and poets. All proceeds go to “Topic of Cancer” a very worthwhile and deserving charity. Copies can now be purchased in the U.S. and the U. K. via http://www.amazon.com

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New Year- New Teachniques and Offerings! Antiqued Photo Transfer on Canvas

It’s not a painting- it’s not a photo- it’s BOTH! New to my studio in 2015 I am now offering antiqued photo transfers on canvas! This technique has limitless customization offerings- you think it – it can be done. Any size as well! This is a beautiful and unique way to showcase and preserve special moments. Here are some pictures of the finished products- here I used my three dogs as reference and to test the technique and things that can be done- color wise. Happy New Year Everyone! Here is to a fantastic 2015! ❤

"Alice" 2015 "Frida" 2015 "Panda" 2015 photo transfer all 3  detail

Armchair Educators/ Activists- Everyone’s an “Expert”.

                                                    Thought of the day

With the news coverage of Gaza education bashing has – temporarily- taken a back seat. Now people who have never shown an interest in mid east politics are spewing editorialized “facts” about what side is in the right- 95% of these people have no affiliation or knowledge of the area, issues, and or history. Two of my close friends- ironically Israeli and Palestinian- stated it perfectly ” It is the flavor of the day for people too attached to social media”. This led into a very candid and entertaining conversation about “armchair activists”- and yes these two people are friends and harbor no ill will towards one another. With today’s immediate access to the internet anyone with a WiFi connection and a half way decent computer can claim to be a writer, D.J., advocate, etc. The list is endless and colorful. Social Media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook are clogged with politics and everyone has become an “expert”. Interesting and disturbing at the same time.

As an educator in the inner city I have often been at the losing end of these “armchair experts”. People who have never set foot in a classroom, much less my area of the city, are telling me what being a teacher is like! How my job is “easy” and how “plenty of people can do my job”. I especially love when these “experts” are childless as well. I listen and often ignore, I am the one present everyday in my classroom I know what “my life is like”. I also find it pointless to argue with people who are obviously misinformed and seeking attention. Being in the behavior and mental health side of education I often see issues in these people that eerily mirror my most challenged kids. I also am of the school of “spend my hits on real issues worth fighting.” The events of the last two years has me changing my opinion on my once ” ignore and conquer what matters” stance. This “Armchair Educator” movement has reached epidemic proportions and is seeping into classrooms.

In Chicago we are also having an issue with politicians that run the city on a “lie with authority” mentality. People feel that if something is said enough times, with enough conviction, it becomes fact. Sadly it sometimes works on people who are too used to being fed information in dubious formats. This is true with education. There are people who are stating numbers, claiming “proof”, and naming names. Very little of which is correct. I am not discounting that there are a plethora of people in education not suited for it, but that holds true for every position- in every career. I am disputing these “facts”. The beauty of me being an educator in the third largest district in the U.S. is that I am very familiar with “the state of my career”. With a little bit of fact comes a vast wasteland of fiction. This only creates additional- and needless- hurdles in education. We have enough real and legitimate challenges that face our children daily, we do not need to defend ourselves to these “experts”. This takes time from what matters most, our kids.

This brings me to the photo above. When I saw this it struck a chord. This is the “gist of the issue” so to say. These armchair educators spend countless hours on social media slamming a career and people they have no knowledge of, this time would better be spent working. Working on improvement within themselves. Obviously something is lacking if your main drive in life is to post 23 times a day on Facebook how easy teachers have it when you have not held a job in ten years, and or depend on your spouse for support. If people worked to improve themselves -general overall improvement would be a by-product of living a more authentic life. This especially holds true for education. Sitting on your sofa waxing poetic about the “ease of teaching” changes no one. Have a four year degree? Sign up to substitute teach! Don’t have time during the school day? Volunteer at a youth center. There are literally limitless ways someone can help change education, and in turn change themselves. Becoming an “true” activist costs nothing, is free, and the work you do to help a child is priceless. I can speak for the need for true heroes in Chicago. We can not find enough substitute teachers, people willing to read to a child, sponsor an activity, help parents register, etc. Most of the things we need help with take little to no time and require no commitment. This is how you become a true “expert”. Until you sit with a child and hear their story and see their process you can not make assumptions ,and or dictate, “what is wrong”. Nor can you suggest a “fix” when you can’t fully grasp what it is that is broken.

Social media has been a blessing, it has connected people once disconnected and is a place to share photos and moments, but it is also a breeding ground for dissonance. Facebook is not an educational journal, it is not a school district, it is not a child. Sitting on a smartphone with a little bit of time does not make one “an activist/educator.” Only work, getting in the mix of what ails you, and growing oneself through service does this.

From Website to Blog- Constant Evolution of Myself as an Artist

I blog weekly, sometimes daily, with my students. Blogging has become my new favorite form of written expression. I still adore my art journals and doodles, but the advent of technology has embraced the writing process. Yet somehow I have not considered a personal artist’s blog until today. For the last two years I have had an excellent personal website. Not only was it expensive to maintain and host, it was just that, a website. It was one dimensional and did not allow me to interact with my audience.  It was flat, I was becoming flat. I received many emails asking about my process, mediums, and questions about technique.  I wanted a way to better interact with my audience. As an artist and teacher I am aways seeking out change and new ways to evolve. I firmly believe without change one stagnates and becomes negative and limited. Change can be a bad thing as well, you need to know how to spin your opportunities and when to call it a day.  With technology there are so many amazing ways to connect, explore, express and teach. Everything seems shiny and new and then it becomes one big mass of stimulus bombarding you at all directions.  My kids at school call this ” electronic hell”.  For a lack of a better term, I agree. Blogging fits my bill and offers me  a challenge , a learning opportunity, and freedom, yet I feel comfortable and able to maintain it and do it justice.

Today’s artist needs to adapt in order to survive. Gone are the days of holing yourself up in a beautifully decrepit studio and shunning all things “modern” in order to sacrifice for your art. In fact I feel you do not need to “starve” for your art.  Art is redundant, everything has been done before and now is competitive and cutthroat. A downside of technology is that it is more easily pirated now and copied. An artist needs to self promote and network. Art is a passion, but it is also a sales career and business.  A very fickle and temperamental business.

So I am here, changing myself in order to better fit the needs of my clients, and to offer myself the challenge to take my work to another level.  This page will serve as my journal, my artist’s notebook and my portfolio. I will be posting past and current works as well as my photography and jewelry.  I will also be writing about art , specifically art education in Chicago.  This new blog not only brings change to my studio and personal craft, it begins a new era for me an educator. In addition to special education and art therapy I will now also be teaching middle school art! This is a culmination of a dream that has been 14 years in the making.  Please follow me on my journey, Thank you and I look forward to getting to know you  better!

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“A is for Argentina”  Argentinian Red Comet-11 X14  #1 in a series of Acrylic Paintings on Historically Significant   Vintage Paper. This piece features the events of 1976 –