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Posts tagged ‘art’

Nurturing Creativity

“Making art is hard, but it’s fun!” – 4th grader

For many of us, making art can be many things: hard, easy, interesting, frustrating, fun, funny…

As a teaching artist for Arts Corps and Seattle Art Museum, I aim to make art making an avenue for exploring, learning and developing skills they can use in all aspects of their lives.

Exploring identity and community is probably my favorite way to engage youth through art. I adapted my Passport Series to teach high school English-language learner students how to draw self-portraits. The students engaged in conversation about identity and stereotypes, and came up with the most important things about themselves that they would want to share in a re-imagined passport. In addition to chosen name, culture/religion and important dates or life events, they also thought it was important to share their dreams.

For some of the younger students I work with, my primary goal is to help them develop habits of mind, especially to stretch beyond their perceived limitations, and to persist. Many young students already have such a fear of failure, of not getting something right, that they would balk at even beginning to draw, paint or carve. During one residency, I worked with 4th graders over eight sessions to make Salish-inspired linoleum carvings and prints. It was so thrilling to watch them get over their fears and remain undaunted when things didn’t go as planned, when their wrists got sore from carving, and even when they cut themselves! Yes, making art is hard — even painful and bloody! — but it can still be fun.

Visual Meditation

When I practice yoga, the steady breathing and flowing movements help me achieve a meditative state of mind. I find that happens too when I focus my eyes on the arrangement of patterns all around me. They create this visual beat, a rhythm that calms the chatter in my head and my heart.

When I was growing up, there were times of stress brought on by middle-school friendship drama, insecurity about myself, family strife. What gave me the most comfort was to go into my room and rearrange my collection of James Dean memorabilia. I would move the postcards and posters around until they achieved a certain flow and balance, then lie back and admire the rebel perfectly perched on my walls. I think there are many of us who respond to chaos and uncertainty by reaching for some semblance of order.

Today, the causes of the heartache and insecurity are different, but the need to reach for a safe harbor is still the same. I’m glad, though, that my attempts have moved beyond that small room, beyond moving the same pieces over and over. The search brings me to what appears out in the world around me. While this visual meditation brings me a sense of ease, it also opens me up to possibilities, to wonder. Following the swirl of a spiral staircase, I am calmed by each repeating step and I find myself ready for where it will lead me next.

In 2014, I spent three weeks in Mexico for an artist residency. These images are from San Francisco Etla and Oaxaca City. For more images from Mexico, please see the blog posts from Spring 2014.

Sweet Huitzo


For three weeks in early 2014, I travelled to Mexico to study printmaking with Maestro Enrique Flores, experiment with different kinds of art making, and to make new photographs that capture the color and energy (not to mention the sun!) of this beautifully diverse country. This is the third post of a series from that trip.

After Mexico City (pop. 8.8 million), San Pablo Huitzo, Oaxaca, certainly offered a markedly different experience. The town lies northwest of Oaxaca City, in the central valleys of the state. There are fields of corn, strawberries and flowers, and quarries spread along both sides of the two-lane highway. Most of the 118,000 residents live in the three districts on the west side. That’s where Maestro Enrique Flores and Manuel Bernal, his extremely talented nephew, were born and continue to live. It’s where they help artists realize their own creative visions at Enrique’s beautiful printmaking studio. It’s where their big-hearted family embraced me into the fold.

I arrived at the tail-end of the town’s fiesta, honoring its patron saint, San Pablo. At night, the plaza came alive with all the neighbors visiting with each other amidst the food stalls, young couples sneaking romance in the shadows, music thumping from carnival rides and the local band. In the brightness of day, the streets lay still, only the sound of an occasional mototaxi vrooming by.

All images on this page and within this website are Copyright Carina A. del Rosario, all rights reserved. For inquiries about purchasing prints or licensing use, please contact

Unplug to Reconnect

For three weeks in early 2014, I travelled to Mexico to study printmaking with Maestro Enrique Flores, experiment with different kinds of art making, and to make new photographs that capture the color and energy (not to mention the sun!) of this beautifully diverse country. This is the second post of a series from that trip.

When people learn I was in Mexico – or any extended trip to another country, for that matter – they often ask, “Did you go for work or vacation?”
It’s certainly a vacation from my regular life: house chores, work obligations, social engagements and distractions, Seattle weather, the internet. But I do consider it work, even though no one is paying me to go. It’s purposeful effort that can leave you exhausted and exhilarated. It’s work  to willfully disorient yourself by going to a place you do not know, where the culture and language are different from what you are accustomed to. It’s work to reprogram your brain to look, observe and absorb in order to create.
On this recent trip, I spent everyday walking and looking, often lingering to observe more closely, sometimes stopping to draw, photograph or write about what was in front of me. Back in my regular life, I often just browse. It’s harder to fully immerse myself into anything because something always beckons: a ding signaling a text on my phone; another email topping my inbox; a link to something else, just one click away.
But out in the physical world, what beckons are the subtle shades of green of the stones in a wall, the entrancing patterns formed by tiles, arches, even empty plastic bottles. Over these shapes, my eyes crawl, caressing every crevice and bump, gliding on edges. I fall into their rhythm and nothing else exists.

All images on this page and within this website are Copyright Carina A. del Rosario, all rights reserved. For inquiries about purchasing prints or licensing use, please contact

Supporting the Philippines through Art

Thanks to those of you who have asked about my family since Typhoon Haiyan (also referred to as Typhoon Yolanda) devastated the central and southern Philippines. My family lives in Luzon and I am grateful that they were out of harms’ way. But many families of my friends are among the masses who have lost their homes, livelihoods and loved ones. As difficult as it is to fathom such trauma, I know we don’t want to be paralyzed by it.
Would you please join me in taking action, in following our impulse to help and to extend hope?

Waiting for a PrinceWaiting for You: “Waiting for a Prince” Raffle
Eligibility: Anyone in the continental United States and Hawai’i may enter.
Each Entry is $10, but you can donate as much as you want, i.e. $20 is 2 entries, $30 is three entries.
Prize: One lucky winner will receive “Waiting for a Prince” (digital photograph, image size 8″x12″, matted 16″x20″). I will pay for shipping of this matted print.
Donation/Entry Process: Between Dec. 1 and Dec. 15, 2013*, please make a donation to the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns. Every $10 you give is an entry for this contest. You MUST forward your confirmation email from NAFCON to me ( and please include your name and preferred contact information. I will reply with your entry number and contact you if you win!
I will take “donations” until midnight PST on Dec. 15. The winner will be picked via and I will post the results of the drawing on Dec. 16.

* I know many of you have already donated to different Typhoon Haiyan relief efforts. THANK YOU for your quick response! The survivors of this super typhoon have a very long and hard road to recovery, so there is still a need for monetary support for temporary shelter, food and other necessities as local people work to rebuild. This raffle is meant to spur new donations to help with the on-going need, so donations must be made between Dec. 1 and Dec. 15, 2013 in order to qualify as a raffle entry.

About Waiting for a Prince
In September 2011, I returned to my birthplace. I was in Manila when Typhoon Pedring hit Luzon. It was nowhere near the force of Typhoon Haiyan, but it did break through the seawall. While I was waiting for the waters to recede, I saw strangers on this jeepney helping each other: Men would carry a passenger on their backs, deposit them onto higher ground, then go back for one or two more before moving on with their day. After Typhoon Haiyan, Filipinos continue to help each other. They aren’t necessarily waiting for princes to come to the rescue, but they are relying on each other and the global community to provide whatever resources we can share so they can take charge of their recovery and rebuild on their own terms. Please join me in supporting their efforts.

Maraming salamat po.

An Ocean Apart

The Philippines and Madagascar are about 5,500 miles (9,000 kilometers) apart, separated by the Indian Ocean, but that distance has been bridged culturally and linguistically through trade and migration. People from Borneo, the Philippines southern neighbor, were the first settlers in Madagascar, so we share similar physical characteristics and as well as Austronesian language roots.

When I travelled to Madagascar for the first time in 2012, I was struck by a sense of familiarity. I had returned to the Philippines in 2011 and the sights, sounds and smells of my homeland were still fresh in my memory when I landed in Madagascar a year later. Many Malagasy people reminded me of my cousins, not just in looks but in also mannerisms. A rice soup brought back memories of home. Local children teaching me to count in Malagasy made me realize some of the numbers in Tagalog were similar.

An Ocean Apart is my solo exhibition at Geraldine’s Counter in Columbia City (4872 Rainier Ave. S., Seattle 98118), through Nov. 10th.

Other Fall 2013 Exhibitions

My “Passport Series” is part of Under My Skin: Artists Explore Race in the 21st Century at the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience, through Nov. 17th.

Additional photographs from “An Ocean Apart” will be part of a group show presented by IDEA Odyssey Collective and juried by Juan Alonso at City Hall Galleries, through Jan. 3rd.

Rainier Beach Youth Lead the Way – Follow Along!

Transit Justice Youth Corps During the spring, I worked with amazing young people who are a part of the Transit Justice Youth Corps, a group supported by the Rainier Beach Community Empowerment Coalition and Puget Sound Sage. They wanted to highlight the beautiful diversity and successes of their neighborhood and also to address the safety and transit access that they and their neighbors are concerned about. These young leaders are awesome community organizers and social justice advocates who inspire me with their dedication and infectious enthusiasm.

Join me in celebrating their work and moving it forward! On Saturday, Sept. 12th at noon, we will officially unveil the bus mural we developed and created together at Renton Avenue South and South Henderson. Immediately afterwards, we’ll do a fun photo shoot at South Henderson and 50th Avenue South. Picture the Beatles’ Abbey Road, but RB-style.
CAdelRosario For those of you who live in South Seattle’s Rainier Beach and Rainier Valley, come represent! We are looking for  people of different ages, ethnicities, abilities and fashion sensibilities to walk across South Henderson at 50th Avenue South and be photographed for a future bus mural. We want people

  • wearing long dresses and pants that cover the leg; skirts, shorts; various foot wear, like sneakers, sandals, dress shoes, boots
  • using a wheelchair, walker, or cane
  • riding skateboards, bikes, or strollers.

Come out and strut your stuff! I will be aiming my camera low, focusing primarily on people’s arms and legs, so around 4’6″ and below. Young children and others who are under this height limit are still invited to participate, but please know that your face may end up showing in the photograph. You’re welcome to bring a fun mask if you’d like!

The Rainier Beach Art Walk will be happening at this time, so you’ll have plenty of other beautiful artwork, local businesses and talented entertainment to check out. Hope to see you there!

Talking Heads about Art

The Kent Summer Art Exhibit has offered me great opportunities, including having my work be part of a city’s permanent collection and, now, talking about my work on the city’s TV station, Kent TV21. Scroll down the website and check out the video clip to get a virtual glimpse at the exhibition. Thanks again to the jurors, Kent Arts Commissioners and Kent Visual Arts Coordinator Cherly de los Remedios.
The exhibition is up until August 31st at the Centennial Gallery, 400 W. Gowe St., Mondays through Fridays, 8 am to 5 pm. It’s free and open to the public.

Gearing Up for Summer

Do you have youth in your life who are interested in photography? I love fanning young people’s creative embers! I’ll be teaching two workshops this summer at Photography Center Northwest: Introduction to Digital Photography (June 26-29) and Street Photography (July 9-13). Students can shoot either with a D-SLR or point-and-shoot camera, as long as the camera’s settings can be adjusted. Contact Education Director Ashley Siple at  206-720-7222 x16 or go to the PCNW website to download a scholarship application.

Shadows and Reflections

Shadows and Reflections — they are welcome reminders of the sun during these lingering days of winter here in Seattle, where snow is drifting down outside my window right now. Three of my photographs from sunnier places (Mexico, New Mexico and Spain) will be featured in this upcoming show, curated by artist June Sekiguchi, at Ida Culver House – Broadview, March 21st to July 16th. If you’re in town and want to attend the opening reception on March 21st, 4:30-6:30 pm, please RSVP by March 19th at 206-204-5408.

I’m honored that June selected one of my favorite photographs to promote the show. I remember practicing this technique, over and over again as I wandered the streets of Guanajuato, until I finally got it right with this one.

Other artists featured in this show are former classmates Laura Brodax and Stan Raucher, as well as Aaron Asis, Deanne Belinoff, Lori Bellamy, Sharon Birzer, Kamella Boulle, Betty Bowes, Conrad Chavez, Milton Clark, Sarah Dalton, Lori Duckstein, Kim Farrell, Karen Frank, Joy Hagen, Mary Hales, Jacqueline Hall, Jenna James, Anastasia Kiryanova, David Ko, Melissa Koch, Jim Kurihara, Thane McCulloh, Paul McKee, Robert Letsinger, Carol Milne, Bill Montgomery, Carol Montgomery, Marion Norberg, Doug Rosenoff, Liz Ruest, Bruce Savadow, Ann Elizabeth Scott, John Smither, Naomi Steele, Jennifer Sumner, Rob Tilley and Jessamyn Tuttle.