Book Sculpture Tutorial: The Dickinson

The Dickinson Book Sculpture features a staggered geometric design complemented with dainty pearl-accented flowers. It is one of my bestsellers, and now you can do it at home with this free video tutorial. For a guide to choosing the right book for this project, click here. For instructions on how to make the paper flowers, click here.

Below are the patterns for the Dickinson Book Sculpture as discussed in the video. It is presented here for easy reference. Each block represents a group of pages and the red dashed lines show where to cut the pages.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Email me your comments here.

Book Sculpture Tutorial: The Yin-Yang

I’ve received numerous inquiries about how to make the Yin-Yang book sculpture, and I’m excited to finally offer a free video tutorial for it. The concept behind this design is to cut the pages incrementally by 1/8″ to create the gradated look. I call this design the Yin Yang because the two halves seem to complement yet tug at each other – much like the dynamic system of contrary forces found in nature, seemingly opposing yet interconnected and interdependent. For a guide to choosing the right book for this project, click here.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Email me your comments here.

Broiled Parmesan Tilapia

This is another staple dish in our house. Super easy to make and my family never gets tired of eating this. We eat it with steamed rice and vegetables.

6 tilapia fillets
salt and pepper
chopped parsley for garnish (optional)

For cheese sauce:
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/4 cup butter, softened
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
juice from a small lemon
1 teaspoon italian seasoning
salt and pepper

1. Season tilapia fillets with salt and pepper.
2. Combine ingredients for cheese sauce in a small bowl.
3. Line broiler pan with aluminum foil and arrange tilapia fillets in a single layer on the pan.
4. Broil for 3 minutes.
5. Turn tilapia fillets and broil for 2 minutes.
6. Remove from oven and pour cheese mixture over the fillets.
7. Broil for another 2 minutes.
8. Sprinkle chopped parsley on top, if desired.

Serves 4 to 6.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Email me your comments here.

Learn to Paint with Encaustic: An Encaustic Class by Appointment

If you’re interested in learning to paint with encaustic, I am offering encaustic classes by appointment. I don’t profess to know everything about the medium, but what I do know, I’m happy to share with you.

If you’re new to encaustic, I can teach you the essential information you need to get started and offer you hands-on experience with various techniques to create smooth and textured finishes. This is a great way to try out the medium before investing in tools and materials. Here’s what we can cover in a full-day session:

1. Brief history of encaustic
2. Essential materials including brush and paint options, fusing instruments, and appropriate supports and grounds
3. Studio setup including ventilation, proper use of equipment, and safety practices
4. Fundamentals of encaustic painting including sizing a panel, fusing techniques, and applying encaustic paint
5. Encaustic painting techniques including dripping, splattering, layering and scraping, accretion, and intarsia.

For those who already have experience with encaustic, here are some “beyond the basic” topics we can cover:

1. Using oil and other media with encaustic
2. Collage and assemblage techniques with encaustic
3. Photo transfer technique
4. Photography and encaustic
5. Other mixed media techniques

Classes are held in my private studio in Mission Viejo, California. Class rates and hours are as follows:

Private Sessions (1 Student):
Half day (9am – 12pm): $225
Full day (9am – 3pm with a lunch break from 12-1): $375

Private Sessions with a Friend (Maximum 2 Students):
Half day (9am – 12pm): $180 per person
Full day (9am – 3pm with a lunch break from 12-1): $300 per person

I will provide the necessary encaustic materials, including a 6×6 wood panel so you can take home a finished project. If we’re covering mixed media techniques, you may need to bring additional materials.

If you’re interested, please send me an email so we can work out a schedule and discuss what topics you want to cover. Payment via cash, check, or credit card is made on the day of the session.

Moroccan-Style Tilapia

I love the earthy flavor of this dish paired with the freshness of the mango salsa. When my family wants a break from eating red meat, I prepare this dish for a light, healthy alternative.

6 tilapia fillets
3 teaspoons ground cumin
3 teaspoons ground coriander
salt and pepper
1/4 cup butter
2 tablespoons olive oil

For the mango salsa:
1 mango, diced
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 small onion, diced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon white sugar
juice from 2 limes
salt and pepper

1. Season tilapia fillets with salt and pepper.
2. Rub cumin and coriander all over tilapia fillets.
3. Melt half of the butter on a skillet over medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil.
4. Pan-fry half of the tilapia fillets until cooked through.
5. Do the same for the rest of the tilapia fillets, using the remaining butter and olive oil.
4. Serve with mango salsa over steamed rice.

For the mango salsa: Combine all ingredients for the mango salsa in a bowl. IF possible, refrigerate for 1 hour to let the flavors marinate.

Serves 4 to 6.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Email me your comments here.

Portobello Mushroom Burger

A hearty vegetarian dish for those meat-free days. Build your sandwich with your favorite fixins. We like to combine the grilled mushroom with roasted bell pepper, avocado, tomato, onion, and goat cheese plus a drizzling of balsamic glaze on an onion hamburger bun or sweet Hawaiian bun.

4 Portobello mushroom caps
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
salt and pepper
4 burger buns

1. Whisk together balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and garlic to make vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Marinate mushrooms in vinaigrette for 15 minutes while preheating grill.
3. Grill mushrooms for 5 to 8 minutes or until tender.

Suggested Sandwich Fixins:
reduced balsamic glaze
roasted bell pepper
tomato slices
avocado slices
onion slices
choice of cheese: I like to use goat cheese.

Serves 4.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Email me your comments here.

Learning from the Masters: Cutout Studies

Inspired by patterns and geometric abstraction, I did some cutout studies to explore shapes and spacial relationships – with the end goal of translating these concepts in my encaustic work. Most of the plates shown below were inspired by abstract artists whose works I studied, while a few are either direct copies or products of remnant elements from the other cutouts.

The artists I studied for this project are as follows:
1. American artist Ellsworth Kelly (1923-2015)
2. American artist John McLaughlin (1898-1976)
3. American artist Lorser Feitelson (1898-1978)
4. American artist Helen Lundeberg (1908-1999)
5. American artist Karl Benjamin (1925-2012)
6. British artist Jeffrey Steele (1931)
7. Dutch artist Louis Reith (1983)
8. Australian artists Kristina Sostarko and Jason Odd of Inaluxe

The plates were made using 140-lb hot-press Fabriano watercolor paper, some of which were painted black, iridescent stainless steel, or interference red.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Email me your comments here.