Tag Archives: Community

MLK Day Community Mural


January 13th, 2018 I spent MLK day with 15 incredible 5th-grade artists with organization Upward Roots, from Fred T. Korematsu Discovery Academy, in Oakland, CA. I ride my bicycle to every mural that I create. Here is a picture of me on the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) with all of my paints and brushes! It is super easy to bike to events and more importantly, fun!

The mural took 2 days to complete. One day consisted of just me painting the outline, which happened to be a Friday during school hours. I had countless youth come up to me and ask me questions, so curious and intrigued with what I was doing. They were no strangers to murals, the school features many artists murals outside and inside the school. I was quite impressed. Some of my favorite comments for the students were, “I want to be an Artist too”, or “can we skip math class and paint with you?”.

I love working with youth and appreciated all of my interactions.

The second day was the very next day, and a Saturday so it was a little less crowded and chaotic. I cannot imagine what the reaction the rest of the school had when they came back to school to see the mural completed with color. They all were so excited!

This approach to the mural is called, “Paint by Numbers” and is an easy way for many to get involved all at once to fill in the piece, similar to that of a coloring book.  The technique is great for 1-3 days with minimal preparation time with the participants who will eventually paint the piece. I put a number or a dot of color in the center of the designs I want to be colored in, and students fill them in.

My favorite part of the collaboration was the conversations the artists had with one another during the creation. Laughing, talking, and finding a groove that was both social and relaxing. What a wonderful experience it was!

Did you know that you can also see this mural from BART between the Coliseum BART stop and San Leandro! Pretty amazing!


Upward Roots Elizabeth Knight for coordinating and connecting me to the mural. Their wedding day was the day after this event and I cannot believe how well she had it together.

To Kindergarten and 5th-grade teacher, painter and facilitator Maria Pirner for helping me paint and getting me settled and comfortable at the school. You have such an incredible way of connecting with students and I admire your patience and ability to talk to the students.

Lastly, thank you to Shannon Burns, this project would have not happened without you. Shannon is a friend from my first year in the bay area, 7 years ago and gave me a heads up about the opportunity.



Earth Day Mural 2017


This Earth Day I rode my bicycle with the Biketopia Music Collective  from Oakland to Bayview to help pedal the stage at the Bayview Opera House earth day celebration in San Francisco, CA. We pedaled the stage for musical acts with using just four bicycles and friends to pedal them. What a beautiful day!

The aim of this day-long mural was to involve as many elementary students in the creation of the piece. Allowing for freedom, exploration, and creativity to be free.

I was so lucky to paint a community mural with some of the schools of Bayview. It was incredible to paint on stage with the youth and create the piece with them. The music is by Heather Normandale and the band that I live painted with was Audio Pharmacy. It was a successful day and I am so thankful to of been apart of it! Check out the video now!



Painting in Joshua Tree



Twice a year, the Joshua Tree Music Festival happens in the desert of Southern California making up the Mojave and Colorado desert. Its stunning, the size of Rhode Island and one of my places to gather to meet other artists, listen to international music and get to know more about Joshua Tree.


This is my third festival with them. This year I decided to be apart of the Art Auction where 21 artists get together to do live painting throughout the festival. At the end, the pieces are put on display for a silent art auction where half the proceeds go to the music education fund in Joshua Tree. Its an amazing way to engage artists and the community. I love that the festival puts such value on the visual arts.


This year I decided to listen to some music and enjoy the festival before I immediately started painting. Last festival I had to paint an 8 foot by 6 foot piece so I was a bit more stressed out. This year it was 2 1/2 feet by 2 1/2 feet and I could carry it with me wherever I wanted. There was shade, thank goodness and I could actually listen to all the live music and I met a lot of people because they would enjoy the progress of my piece throughout the festival.


Here are some process shots of how I painted the murals. Of course the background first, then slowly deciding where I wanted to put people and the parts of the festival. I walked around with my board for this part and just sketching in front of what I was painting. This was one of my favorite parts because people were super intrigued with this process. This also came with sticky notes so I could play with the composition and make sure I had room for the entire festival and all the things that made it so special.

I spent most of my time shaded in the “Bowl” that included 3 musical stages and performances from 10am-11:30 pm with artists rotating almost every 1.5 hours. I listened to almost every set of music that was played. Quality music and painting combined made for a dreamy weekend. Below you can also see the silent art auction and how they set it up for us on the sunny Sunday morning of the festival. People could go around and write on the clip board how much they wanted to bid. I was a little nervous!


I have to admit that I am not the biggest fan of people seeing my artwork before its done, let alone when it’s just in the planning stage and many people ask if it’s done. That is why I like the festival, to push myself and get out of my comfort zone of a studio or a blank wall inside alone. Music, friends, food, art, and workshops this festival was a great way to connect with the community and introduce art at the same time.


My absolute favorite part of the weekend was getting to interact with people who were speaking about my painting, and then I was able to paint them into my piece. I loved the children getting excited about their cartoon character coming to life. My painting was a hit with children as the same children would sneak back to my painting about once an hour to make sure they were still in the painting. They were so engaged and it was incredible to make them feel included and excited about something creative.


In particular one girl, Chloe stood out to me as she was more than an admirer, she was an assistant. This beautiful 6-year-old gave me advice about what things she wanted to see in the festival, composition, and she even got to paint a little of it with me. I appreciated her excitement and loyalty to the piece. She helped me out, and I enjoyed the company. Her family, all featured in the piece, ended up purchasing the piece through the auction and I could not be happier about it. Pretty special and it was a great experience.


Until next festival, Joshua Tree, hope to see you all in May!


El Fin a Comuna de Rhiannon


How can you describe a place that captures your souls spirit and offers lessons, energy and experiances for your heart that words can not even describe? Community Rhiannon has proven to be a magical place for discovery, working and family in the midsts of smells of eucalyptus, incense, donkeys, compost, dogs, san pedro, yoga and whispering mountains.


The farm is 1.5 hours from Quito, Ecuador in the small town of Malchingui and I stumbled upon this gem through the WWOOFING website. The scenery is gorgeous set in the mountains near the sacred Incan trail. There were 4 volcanos located around Rhiannon, and you could see them on a clear day. Below is the active volcano that you could see from my house!


There are a lovely couple, Nicky and Helen that own the place and make things organized and beautiful. They work well as a team and have a little one and a half year olf baby as well. She has shiny bright blue eyes and is always willing to give out a laugh or smile. Here is an interesting article written about the couple as they have been in the press about getting legal papers for their family as two mothers. They have owned the farm for about 5 years.

At Rhiannon there are about 10-25 Volunteers from all over the world living in tipis, snake pits, gnome domes and tiny houses. The volunteers arrive twice a month, on the first and on the 15th of each month, and the community requires a length stay of 1 month minimum. This way, the people get to know each other and the community becomes a family.


This was the view from my house for one month, I lived in the “snake pit” because my bed was literally 5 feet underground hanging from a platform with 4 big metal chains to the ceiling. It was two stories and I lived alone, cant complain!


Another view from inside the snake pit, it still needs donkey poop, sawdust, dirt, and water mixture on the walls before its compelte. The process is called adobe.


Here is the snake pit from the oustide

Meals are cooked together everyday. Breakfast at 7am, lunch at 1:30 pm and pm and dinner at 7:30pm. Every meal is vegetarian and everyone eats together.


Here is Luna, one of the premanent residents of Rhiannon Community. Cute little lady!

At Rhiannon, it is a almost completely sustainable (there is not enough food produced at the farm to be conpletly sustainable yet). The community has solar powered electricity (no lights on after 9pm), bano seco “dry toilets” and nothing goes to waste. Remember the song about reduce, reuse, and recycle? Well this place does all three steps not just recycling. The amount of garbage in one month produced a this farm was probably the same I could produce on a week by myself. Pretty impressive but we all for sure had to be super aware of these things all the time. The showers were cold, unless there was a sunny day and the sun heated it.


Here is the bicycle powered washing machine that we used to wash clothes with natural lemon soap collected once a week from the lemon and lime peels.

We would all wake up to the ring of a big bell at 6:45 am and a second at 7:00 am. We would all have breakfast together typically porridge, fruit and granola. Then we would have a team meeting at 7:45 am to talk about work and then start work at 8:00 am.


10 yoga platforms that overlook the mountains, pretty incredible.

Tasks on the farm ranged from taking care of donkeys, feeding the chickens, turning compost, taking care of the tree circle from overgrowing weeds, taking care of 7 dogs, harvesting crops, building houses out of rocks and donkey poop, painting signs, and cleaning the house. Not one day looked the same and you could definitely try everything if you wanted.



Here is Joss juggling the donkey poop, working hard to adobe the snake pit.

Work would end at 1:30 pm where we would all eat lunch together and after that we pretty much had free time to ourselves. There was yoga everyday at 3:00 pm and mediations at 7:00pm. Dinner was always around 7:00-8:00 pm. I learned fabulous meals and am excited to start implementing them.

At the farm I also tried the sacred medicine San Pedro and took it with about 30 people in a sacred circle with sacred songs, a tribe and a sacred fire. It was a beautiful experience, very different from anything else I have felt. Below is my friend Frederika and we collected beautiful flowers for the ceremony.

15   13


Here is the family preparing for a sweat lodge ceremony before the San Pedro. The ceremony includes 4 rounds of hot stones in a tiny room (see the adobe structure behind) and the idea is that you are being reborn by sweating and singing sacred songs.

While at the farm I learned how to give massages from Nicky and got Reiki 1 certified. The massage corse was a weekend where I learned how to give an hour and a half full body massage. We did a hands on practice and I now have a skill I can take with me the rest of my life. Definitely something I love doing.

Reiki is a type of healing practice that comes from Japan. It is a 45 min – 1 hour practice where the practitioner gives reiki to the client while the client relaxes and meditates. The idea is that the reiki energy unblocked the chakras in the body, the energy centers where 7 are located in the body. Each center is a different energy and color and as we live or lives its quite possible to block these centers. Reiki is the process of relieving the blockage by allowing the client space, support and energy to do so. It’s a miraculous practice and its changes my life. You can get certified all the way up to level 5 as a Reiki master. I am definitely looking to get certified after I practice for 6 months which is recommended.


At the farm I also taught English to a elementary school in the town. It was once a week and the children were so much fun to teach. It was a lot of work, but absolutely worth it.

I am so happy that I have started to WWOOF (farm organically) as it gives such a great balance to traveling. The month gave me exactly what I needed in my life at the perfect moment. I feel so grateful for the life I live and the people who have been apart of it.


Here is the Rhiannon Family

When I first arrived to Quito at the Ofelia station it was 4:30 am. I had taken a night bus 9 hours from the coast and realized that here wasn’t a bus to Malchingui until 6:30. The cab driver said he couldn’t wait for me so I was left alone at the station scared! Thankfully I made friends with the bus drivers and was able to sit and the buses that head out every 30 minutes! Made it to the farm safely but man that was a close call!


Here is the bus that I finally took at 7:30 am, I was never more happy to see a bus in my life.