Wednesday, June 29, 2011

ART=EMPOWERMENT! I was Quoted in the SF Chronicle!

Summer Learning Gives Kids Lessons in Fun!

Jill Tucker, Chronicle Staff Writer

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Third-grader Elaine Ma sat at a shady table in San Francisco's Civic Center Plaza dipping a paintbrush in pink, gold and green paint.

All around her some 800 children spent the first official day of summer hula hooping, playing board games, experimenting with bubbles and baking soda, hanging out in a bookmobile, drawing pictures, making bedazzled princess crowns and riding ponies.

"I'm painting a house," she said as she brushed a gold swoosh on the paper. "This is magical grass."

This, said organizers of the city's Summer Learning Day at the plaza, is what summer is supposed to be about: playing, thinking, creating, and ultimately learning outside the classroom in active, fun ways.

Researchers call it the summer brain drain. It affects all children, but especially those who don't actively fight it.

That's not the experience for too many children, particularly low-income kids, who spend their 10 or so weeks of summer vacation doing nothing, said Sheryl Davis, director of Mo' Magic, which helped organize Tuesday's event.

Without structured activities that stretch their minds, they "tend to gain weight and fall behind," she said. "They lose the summer. They come back to school two months behind."

Overall, most students forget two months worth of math over the summer. But low-income students also lose two to three months worth of reading skills. As a result, the achievement gap between white, Asian and wealthy students and their Hispanic, black and low-income peers, each summer increasingly widens.

On Tuesday, most of the students at Civic Center Plaza were participants in nonprofit and city-sponsored summer camps and programs although some families stumbled upon the event and joined the fun, too.

There didn't appear to be a single child at the event who, given a choice, would have picked a couch over the petting zoo, art project or bouncy houses.

Students who take part in summer enrichment activities, ranging from science camp, sports, family trips to museums or other programs, can boost their achievement levels, according to the National Summer Learning Association, which supported Tuesday's Summer Learning Day activities across the nation.

And the students tend to avoid packing on the pounds as well, more likely avoiding the obesity epidemic plaguing the country's youth.

In San Francisco, hundreds of primarily low-income children participate in nonprofit and city-sponsored summer programs, many featuring academic components. Those types of community programs can be critical to preventing summer learning loss, according to a study released this month by the nonprofit Rand Corp.

"They are often less expensive than school district staff, and they offer enrichment opportunities that are often similar to those experienced by middle-income youth during the summer - such as kayaking or chess, for example - that encourage students to enroll and attend, both of which are critical to program effectiveness," said Catherine Augustine, a senior policy researcher at Rand, in a statement.

At Civic Center Plaza, with her paper filled with a pink and gold house with magical grass, Elaine appeared to plugging that drain in her brain. Her paintbrush and imagination were running wild. A green stick-figure man appeared on the paper. He had just arrived home, she explained.

Lisa Rasmussen, who had set up her Art Cart for the event, listened to Elaine's story line and smiled.

"When children have art, they just swim in it," Rasmussen said. "They just thrive."

E-mail Jill Tucker at

This article appeared on page C - 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle

Photographer: Me from an amazing day at the Civic Center Plaza!


Terra Firma: My New Gallery

Last week I signed a new contract with the San Francisco Bay Area Gallery, Terra Firma. They have three locations in Northern California (Sonoma, the Claremont Hotel in Berkeley, and San Rafael).
Currently, my paintings are showing in San Rafael, Terra Firma location. I am really jazzed about this opportunity!!! My works have perfect companions, the amazing and very meaningful, Shona Sculptures and the phenomenal Ethiopian painter, Wosene Kosrof.
I have a feeling my work will be flying out of there into collectors homes!

This amazing gallery just opened in the last month and has a great vibe. The seemly small space is expansive with a loft and it has floor to ceiling windows, which emits some extraordinary light!!
Please stop by and say hi to Danielle, the Galleries Director and my work!
As always!!! Thank you Danielle for your continuous support!!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Love this image from my Solo Exhibition

Caol Ait with lotus leaves, a magic carpet, a stone from Ireland, turmeric powder!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Save The Arts Benefit

Caol' Ait (thin places)
Acrylic on Canvas
Starting Bid $400
Value $1300

I have donated one of my paintings to this amazing and important fundraiser!
Education is the civil rights issue of our time. Come join us in our efforts to save
the arts in education and give our children the well-rounded educational experience that they need and deserve if they're to compete in the 21st century.
Please join us this Saturday June 11th!

acquire my painting, the money goes to a very important, empowering, and beneficial cause.


and all children must have the right to experience ART.

For more information and to buy a ticket for this event go to Save The heArts Benefit

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Interview @ Room Gallery!!

Here is an interview, that I did at the amazing ROOM Gallery in San Rafael,CA were I exhibit and sell my paintings. Below the video is the body of work that you can see and acquire at ROOM Gallery. Ask for Agne or Chelsea. Thank you Agne!! ROOM's visionary owner.

I began this piece three years ago. I was inspired by a sacred trip I took to canyons of the Sierra Tarahumara in Mexico. The Raramuri are the indigenous peoples that live there. I created a "tree shrine" there and I felt really connected to the land. You could peel the layers on this painting like an onion. The first layer is a green color field.
Size :24” x 36”
Dept 2 ¾ “
Medium: A crylic on Canvas
Price: 1900

Pneuma (Means Spirit)
Size :24” x 36”
Dept 2 ¾ “
Medium: A crylic on Canvas
Price: 1900

This is a very rich canvas with a brilliant red and gold layers. Maya is the principal deity that manifests, perpetuates and governs the illusion and dream of duality in the phenomenal Universe. For some mystics, this manifestation is real.[1] Each person, each physical object, from the perspective of eternity, is like a brief, disturbed drop of water from an unbounded ocean. The goal of enlightenment is to understand this — more precisely, to experience this: to see intuitively that the distinction between the self and the Universe is a false dichotomy. The distinction between consciousness and physical matter, between mind and body (refer bodymind), is the result of an unenlightened perspective
Size 36” x 40” x 23/8

Caol Ait
Caol Ait is a Celtic idea meaning "thin places" and refers to when the physical world and spiritual world come together and the boundary between them is indefinable.
Acrylic on Canvas
Size: 48” x 36’ x 2 3/8

Illumanation (Wall)
Acrylic on Canvas
30” x 40”
Phoenix Rising
A journey painting that is layers of compositions. The process was a creation and destruction. Finally this one came to life i.e. Phoenix Rising.
Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Size : 24” x 36” x 2 ¾ “
Price: 1500
Wu Wei
One of Taoism’s most important concepts is wu wei, which is sometimes translated as “non-doing” or “non-action.”
Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Size : 24” x 36” x 2 ¾ “
Price: $1300

Prana (Breath in Yoga)
Acrylic on Canvas
Size 24” x 36’ x 2/38
a presumed capacity to perceive the truth directly and instantaneously
Acrylic on Canvas
Size: 24” 36”