An Eclectic Plethora of Media

On my creative journey I’ve explored many other media: murals, illuminari, carved ceramics, stained glass, mixed media sculpture, to name a few. Custom commission work assignments (such as portraits, murals, or ketubahs) were also always an enjoyable stretch.


I have created several in-home murals. The first ones were on my own bedroom wall when I was 13. Because of funding constraints I have not been able to actualize most large murals that I have created, however, this one was completed.  
     This 22’x12′ mural began as a project for the summer youth art camp at Spirit in the Arts. It provided some interesting challenges.
     First, it was done on 4’x8′ sheets of 1/2″ plywood, that had been underpainted by volunteers. The director took my little mock up drawing and traced it onto the sheets using a tracing projector. This was so that the kids in the art camp could paint in the big shapes in solid colors. It was a good concept, but my lack of availability ahead of time really didn’t serve well (I found out later). The children had fun with it, though, as did I. It was a good start.
     Camp ended, and it was time for me to complete the project. It quickly became apparent that the projector was not up to snuff as it warped the images in such a way that they didn’t line up from plywood sheet to plywood sheet. I had to have a space where all the sheets could be laid out as they would be attached to the wall so that I could re-align the images placement.
     The Art program was up on the 2nd floor. No elevator. Two flights with a turnaround  landing in the middle. The only place with floor space large enough to line up all of the sheets was down stairs and down the hall. They could not be left downstairs in the space shared with other programs, nor could they be worked on when those programs were occupying the space. I hauled the sheets down the stairs one by one from storage to the workspace before each work session, and back up again after.
     Anyway, it took months for me to complete the painting, on my hands and knees on the floor, in off-hours. Sometimes the minister from the Hmong church would come visit with me while I worked, but usually not. Sometimes, the director of the art program would assist me when her schedule enable her to, but she was really pressed to keep the art program going. Eventually, it was aligned, and I completed all the actual painting of the mural.
     It was installed on their building by the directors husband with appropriate heavy equipment. It hung overlooking the parking lot for several years, until right before they left the building. The community dedication for this mural was inspiring. Since it featured the faces of many local people, and celebrated the diversity there, it was welcomed with open arms. There were Aztec dancers, the Hmong youth brass band, hotdogs and artists. The community participation and approval was deeply touching.
     I’ve created several murals, both permanent and temporary. This one was one of the biggest challenges, and yet most satisfying.


Sidewalk chalk painting = illuminari, a temporary mural

I represented several businesses including PlacerArts in more than a few illuminari festivals. This is the classic style of  chalk painting. We use pastels, and never any water (unlike the more permanent chalk paints that are gaining popularity lately).

I love the feel of the media. It is much like pastel painting on a good toothed paper, only  you can’t layer too much chalk. If you add too much, it blows away. If it rains or someone drops a drink, it washes away. That’s part of the appeal to me. It is so fragile and temporary.

Also, doing illuminari is physically challenging. Most of the pieces I’ve done were at least 10’x10′ and involved many hours either squatting or on my hands and knees on the cement. One time, for example, as a guest artist at a Sacramento valley middle school,  I painted an 12’x17′ illuminari with the assistance of 240 6th graders in the middle of their “quad” area, and then hosted an illuminari festival for them. Working with the children, I had to be able to move fast, so I spent most of that day doing squats. The price of this wonderful experience: I couldn’t sit down for a couple days.


Hand built and carved ceramics are part of my 3D-Maker history. A very good friend of mine was the ceramics instructor at a college where I also taught. She taught me to hand build using coil and slab techniques which I loved. The two of us commuted to college together and attended several workshops together.

One of these was a Susan and Steven Kemenyffy workshop. At that time, this husband and wife were collaborating on their large vessel pieces. In the workshop, they demonstrated on a large slab piece. Watching Susan draw one her beautiful women on the pre-fired clay, and painting it with underglazes was inspirational to me. I decided I wanted to play with clay more.

Later that year, I bought some greenware teapots to paint (with underglazes) for my sisters for Christmas. As I was sketching on the first mold-poured greenware teapot with an automatic pencil, the tip scratched the surface. Oh, my! It opened up a whole new area of exploration: carving unfired clay. The first teapot became “The Sleeping Rhinoceros on the Road to Enlightenment.”

I decided I could use large commercial greenware vases as blank canvasses to carve and paint with underglazes. The lady at the greenware shop said that they were too delicate to carve. It became a challenge for me to see how much I could carve away, and paint with wet underglaze, without it just falling apart.

Wall Gypsy - Carved ceramic wall piece

Other Mixed Media Projects

Child Within Doll

Master's Thesis Pieces