Archive for the ‘Portfolio of Work’ Category

I finished my visual journal a week after Roxanne Evans Stout’s beautiful workshop, but left right away to Oaxaca, Mexico ( photos forthcoming 😊). Here are some photos taken outside of Jana Freeman’s fabulous Way Art Yonder workshops (above) , Day 2 of the workshop ( details from Roxanne’s teaching table and my work area with “preparatory piles”) and, finally, my completed journal.

At home, I had to co-opt my kitchen ( I need my studio back 🤪)… but thought this would make a nice tableau, so I’m sharing it here. This is how things looked deep in the night, two Sundays ago..

And finally…c’est fini! My first art journal – and first video posted here on SketchBloom.

All of the lovely journals from the workshop:

A closing plen air celebration at the end of the weekend. Can’t wait for my next (February) art workshop…

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Hello Stranger!

In case you are wondering what happened to me and why I’ve gone M.I.A during the month of February and most of March, the board above is one of the reasons. As it happened in 2010,
our school underwent an enormous accreditation visit, which meant preparing for months collecting, documenting and providing evidences.

One of the best things to come out of the work leading to the Accreditation was that Faculty was once more asked to prepare a record of what we have been doing – outside of teaching- the past five years.
It is a monumental task to audit, select and curate five years of life, work, art – yet I welcome the chance to take stock of where I have been, for it points to where I want to go. This process of self-evaluation is a privilege not afforded to many professions, and I was thankful for the challenge.
We were also asked to write a brief narrative. I worked on this more hours than I care to admit and I am happy to now share this with you: words, drawings and travel photography — some of which hasn’t been seen here yet! Hope you enjoy it.

“The French writer Daniel Pennac describes the notion of  the passeur, of the ‘transmitter’, as intimately connected to the ownership of culture.  He considers pedagogy as a branch of dramaturgy: a great teacher is a playwright, a vector of knowledge who instills curiosity, personifies her subject, and communicates passion. As an academic, designer, artist, and poet , storytelling is central to my work.

When I was six years old, fascinated by a book of folktales of Northern Europe, I decided I wanted to be a collector of legends. Though my path took me to Architecture and Fine Arts, teaching History of Architecture brought me to travel to Latin America, the American Southwest and the Caribbeans  where I began to record the history of place through the stories of its native people, These ‘stories of architecture’ become the framework of my courses. Through drawing, urban sketching, collages, photography, and writing, my preoccupation has been with collecting, documenting, processing and communicating narratives – while letting the spontaneous unfold.”

Miti Aiello, San Diego, March 2016

Writer Update:

My abstract on my research on Storage Cities has been accepted by one of the two main Architecture academic bodies here in the U.S for presentation at their International Conference! They are sending me to Santiago, Chile in June, and will publish my academic paper. Too excited for words. If you want to get a sneak peek and read my abstract check out my academia.edu page.

This is likely a hello/byefornow.
I wanted to update my blog now that classes have ended for the quarter, and before once again leaving for Mexico, this time in Baja California Sur for a week of volunteering. Faculty and students of my school are going to help build a healing center using natural architecture in a location that is three hours away by car from the closest road. It will be very remote, challenging and, I am sure, transforming. I will document everything.

Few weeks ago I wrote that, sometimes, we don’t have time to do art because we are too busy living a life that is art itself.
That is a true blessing, amidst the inherent challenges.

Although I have not posted here, I have not stopped taking photographs, seeing, collecting, thinking. My hope of hopes is to get caught up with my posts this summer…Promises we have heard before…

“You don’t need motivation.
What you need is discipline, young lady!”


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The sacrificial lamb- an old leather jacket already repaired twice.

The sacrificial lamb- an old leather jacket already repaired twice.


With my pattern and leather in the Materials Lab, to trace images in Illustrator and experiment with the laser cutting process. “The object feels good if the process feels good.”


The laser etched leather swatches. Fire drawings…scars…tattoos and cattle branding.


Preparing for night surgical cutting, tailoring and riveting. And documenting. The whole project came about in three days (Friday to Sunday), but was months in the making (and in the thinking, and in the promising).




The prototypes are done!


Laying out this graphic board illustrating the process took longer than I would like to admit. In the end, it was a process of elimination…which is the secret to design, really.



Exhibit time. Board layout #2 with Illustrator patterns :).



Project fini. Ready-to-wear, custom-made temporary leather tattoos....by yours truly.

Project fini. Ready-to-wear, custom-made temporary leather tattoos….by yours truly.



Idea #13: Temporary Leather Tattoos

Experiments with recycled leather, tattoo patterns and the laser cutter in our Materials Lab for the Action/Reaction Faculty show, where students react to faculty work.

I chose to explore these tribal tattoo patterns I drew long ago and finally turn them into ‘temporary’ leather tattoos – since an actual tribal armband tattoo is out of the question (#italianmother).

In the process, I learned how to make leather-on-leather tattoos, used the laser cutter for the first time, hand-cut till my hands were sore, learned how to put rivets, and was taught about vector lines and patterns in lllustrator by my wonderful, patient students.
Thanks to student feedback/critique (which was extremely positive about the artifacts :)) the board could use one more ‘pass’ as far as fonts and background, but I wanted to post this now, as the show is coming to a close.

While researching case studies, I was astonished by the amount of cool accessories, arm bands and earrings made with recycled bike tires and inner tubes.

Etsy, here I come.


Here are some photos from the Action|Reaction opening, by Donn Angel Perez, the curator of the show (and author of the beautiful paintings shown), along with student Chuck Wilson

For the opening- in keeping with the recycled/sustainable theme, and to save time 😉 – I projected my board.


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littlescreenshot <<<and this, this little guy on my desktop just makes me happy.

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Above, my Christmas presents from my students.
The ‘one hundred small books’ were a project for the Advanced Presentation course I taught.

To start the conversation on small scale binding, I brought some of my mini books to show.
How did I end up with these? 😛


My students could choose their own narrative and learned how to bind books using different techniques and materials.
We covered layout through a discussion on portfolio graphics and blog and website design –and used some color palette tools–
so for the final project I wanted to do something different and strange, inspired by an artist in the 70’s who created one hundred little books.

Some of them are portfolios, some poetry, photography…a couple are on love and music 🙂




There is even Dostoevsky’s novella ‘White Night’ and a book entirely on coffee and quotes, both done by Anastasia, a fellow artist (someone knows me!).

You can follow her beautiful work here.

I will post more pages from the little books once school resumes. I also (shocking, I know) have a little book on coffee quotes at home, bought in Italy few Christmases ago. I’ve been meaning to write a post about it, and now I will share it with you – and Anastasia 🙂

Also there were lots and lots of sketchbooks from my History of Architecture students (!).


I. love. them.

Before I go (get coffee), some coffee quotes from my little coffee book:

If asked: ‘How do you take your coffee’?
I reply : ‘Very Seriously’


Coffee is a language in itself

Jackie Chan

Wake up!

Drink coffee…

Then think.


Coffee is the favorite drink

of the civilized world.

Thomas Jefferson

Black as night,

Sweet as sin.

Neil Gaiman ‘Anansi Boys’

Deja Brew:

The feeling you’ve had

this coffee before.

Unknown Coffee

It is inhumane, in my opinion, to force people who have a genuine medical need for coffee to

wait in line behind people who apparently view it as some kind of recreational activity.

Dave Barry

Black as the Devil,

Hot as Hell,

Pure as an Angel,

Sweet as Love.

Charles Maurice De Talleyrand


My Bounty. Merry Christmas.

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Another month rushed by, seemingly accelerating towards the end, as though sprinting to the finish line. The year’s end. Another year.

This past month brought also new beginnings and renewals. Just like accountants, professors measure years differently from the general public.

So this, other, new year that starts with the fall -the harvest- brought Spring in October : experimental mixed media and history courses, new energy, enthusiastic and curious students, expanded involvement, new projects and many welcome social occasions…and always, the company and camaraderie of my gentle and wise kin.
I love my job and feel so blessed. (I have just been given a Service Award for Five Years of outstanding contribution to the school, celebrate good times..)

I hosted my very first reception for my Graduate students’ work in the History of Architecture course this last week. The title of the exhibition was

‘ History of Architecture: Analysis and Synthesis through Visual Notes’.
My past students’ critical, and sometimes lyrical and poetic work –their beautifully rendered drawings, sketches and diagrams–have been gracing the halls of my school and received much acclaim. This body of work and research into this alternative method for teaching history is the topic of a forthcoming paper, which I will present in the Spring.

I am also launching a project called Builtculture, which I will be editing. This is something I have been working on for few months along with a stellar Graduate student of mine, Samar Sepehri. Builtculture is a repository for lectures and cultural events happening in San Diego and the So-Cal region, for the architecture and urban design discriminating aficionados. It exists in form of a facebook page for now, but will soon morph into a simple yet useful calendar site–as soon as I can catch my breath.

Planning to post photos of the Visual Notes Exhibit next week -need to scan few more examples and ‘teasers’- and to share Builtculture when it is ready too. I am thinking about adding an Academic section to my work site, Archistdesign, for such endeavors.

All of this to say, really, is that my full-time job and volunteering [ for community build and garden build projects , I have learned to build a deck and plaster, aka architecture for social purpose … yes!] have taken ahold of my heart and days  lately, and my art has had to wait.
I also (also!) will have my poetry published. New poems have been brewing and blooming, maybe I will share one later tonight.

I know that there are few of you who follow these ramblings of mine , who gently coax me when I have not posted for a while, and wanted to reach out and declare that I do not want this to be a ‘ travel blog’ , a dalliance…but that I also have to make peace with the fact that I am nor cannot be a a full-time writer, poet or artist, (although I would embrace these lives and crafts in a heartbeat, teaching is my calling) and that I cannot post or work on my art everyday. Life itself needs to be explored, precious work completed, books need to be read, and body, soul, and spirit nurtured daily. Perhaps, I have been given too many passions for just one life. These are heavy gifts and Chet Baker sings ‘I fall in love too easily’…

Before biding my hopefully brief adieu, here is a poem that I recently found among old correspondence.
It is nice to be old enough to have that.. Speaking of correspondence, see ‘ Young Goethe in Love’. I died.

The Undertaking

The darkness lifts, imagine, in your lifetime .

The darkness lifts, imagine, in your lifetime .

There you are — cased in clean bark you drift through weaving rushes, fields flooded with cotton.

You are free.

The river films with lilies, shrubs appear, shoots thicken into palm.

And now all fear gives way: the light looks after you, you feel the waves’ goodwill as arms widen over the water;

Love, the key is turned.

Extend yourself —it is the Nile, the sun is shining, everywhere you turn is luck.

Louise Glück

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Click to see my architectural shoots over at ArchistDesign | Studio. All projects by Architectural Concepts in San Diego, CA.

Apparently this is my year. The year of the Water Dragon.
I am happy to say, I am finally completing my architecture website.

This other digital studio has been on the back burner for about a year , but it looks like 2012 is the antithesis of  procrastination.

A year that quickens…like a strong sun that vanquishes the fog.

I have added some photography work for my friend and mentor Margit Whitlock at Architectural Concepts. Photographing these well-executed design projects was a joy.

Still few portfolio items to add to the site (and three new projects on the boards!)
Will keep posting updates as they happen, and hope to finish in few weeks.

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Entry for ONE LIFE | An International Photography Competition.

I decided to participate ( characteristically last-minute) to ONE LIFE, an international photography competition, in the ‘City Imagery’ category.

Click here (or on the image above) to see the entry at a higher resolution and, if you like what you see, vote and share my photograph.

The prize is $10,000 or a trip around the world. Guess what I would pick.

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Made on Illustrator and Mac

My second board for the faculty display wall. I now have a list of new art to add to my portfolio tabs, as this was a great opportunity to curate my artwork.

It feels great to be done (for now). Happy Halloween!

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Lily Pond. Balboa Park, San Diego. May 2010. Panasonic Lumix Camera.

Two Lilies. Balboa Park, San Diego. May 2010. Panasonic Lumix Camera.

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes,

but in having new eyes.”

Marcel Proust

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'I'll Carry You, You'll Carry Me'. ArtWalk in San Diego, Little Italy. 2005

Daydream, delusion, limousine, eyelash

Oh baby with your pretty face

Drop a tear in my wineglass

Look at those big eyes

See what you mean to me

Sweet-cakes and milkshakes

I’m a delusion angel

I’m a fantasy parade

I want you to know what I think

Don’t want you to guess anymore

You have no idea where I came from

We have no idea where we’re going

Lodged in life

Like branches in a river

Flowing downstream

Caught in the current

I’ll carry you

You’ll carry me

That’s how it could be

Don’t you know me?

Don’t you know me by now?

Street Poet from Before Sunrise

With San Diego , it is often all or nothing.

ArtWalk took place this weekend in Little Italia and some lucky folks got to witness the Chihuly Exhibit at the Salk Institute, which is San Diego’s strongest claim to architectural relevance..

Photos courtesy of Professor Joe Nicholson.

Here is The Sun lit up at night.

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All photos taken using Panasonic Lumix Digital Camera with Leica wide lens

Mother of Pearl, translucent

Wispy, cloudlike, ethereal

Ephemeral, iridescent


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Do you remember this, my sketchbook exchange with Jennifer of Habit of Design?

I actually completed my ‘project’ last week, but wanted to wait till Jennifer received my sketchbook by mail so not to spoil the surprise!

The cover, before and after….. (yes I was not authorized to operate on the sketchbook cover…I did it anyway):

A blank sketchbook cover...an invitation to mischief!

Front Cover- inspired by various things among whom (is this how you say it?) Death in Venice

Back cover

And who knows what it might turn thanks to this. (More on Renga)

I know, I am so demanding.

SO my assigment was Typewriters… Yes, these are all my drawings and photos! What do you think?

Typewriters - Page 1

Typewriters - Page 2...and that's why my fountain pen matters.

Typewriters - Page 3

Typewriters - Page 4

Typewriters - Page 5

This was a wonderful experience- to be soon repeated.

Thank you Jennifer for the Brilliant idea!

I have to thank Professor Booker…Back in my Undergraduate days @ NDSU, he introduced us to Renga Arts and the stunning, surreal, Moorish-inspired “Forgetting Room’ by Nick Bantock.

About Renga and Renga art…[and here it’s to future Renga poetry and art collaborations]

Renga Platform Contemporary forms of Renga in the UK
Renga Arts Functional Art.
Renga @ Wordshop.com (love the name! and yes, it does take two to renga)


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“To sleep, perchance to dream-
ay, there’s the rub.”

Hamlet (III, i, 65-68)

Ink on Paper. September 2009


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Interior of 'Copley' Symphony Hall, San Diego. Love my new 0.25 pen!

Today the whole school attended Convocation, to kick off the new school year and Fall semester.

The venue was spectacular: Copley Symphony Hall, built in 1929. I took some liberty with the size of the coffers, and the left side was a little too ‘spanish rococo curlicue nonsense’ for my taste.

As the sandiegosymphony.com site explains:

The theather was surrounded by the new redevelopment that took place in the site (the Syphony Towers Office Building, Sheraton Suites Hotel and a parking garage). A very important point: none of those structures is in direct contact with the walls of the theatre, and so no sound or vibration disturbance from any of the surrounding structures will ever interfere with the sound of the music played inside.This is one of the few venues in the world that belongs to the orchestra playing in it. It has proved to be a gem and a pleasure to sit in to hear great music performed superbly.

Symphony Towers was also the first building I worked in when I moved to San Diego seven years ago, and Symphony Hall where I saw Ani di Franco play in 2002 0r 2003.  It was very surreal being there tonight but…

No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.


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Starshaped. Digital Art- Photoshop(2001). Revisited 08.09

Starshaped. Digital Art- Photoshop(2001). Revisited 08.09

F R A G M E N T S is a series that I am starting to ‘salvage’ pieces of artworks in my digital trunk.

I sometimes find old artwork that, while it may not work perfectly on the whole, still contains interesting textures or details. The image above is part of a larger digital piece I did in college. It is a poem i wrote: #1.  Eventually these  fragments could all be composed in a collage of their own.  Salvaged Art.

I have also been reading and researching  art and design blogs, and learning about writing copy (especially here on copyblogger ).  Copyblogger inspired  me to write in short, incisive sentences ( Hemingway style).   As for the deluge of design and art I indulged in, it Really made me understand what is ‘delicious’ to the eyes!

The amount of incredibly talented folks out there is source of enormous inspiration, and  I have been compelled to start my very own blogroll to pass on the love 🙂  Speaking of inspiration, you probably know that the term “inspired” comes from the latin inspirare, to breathe in or unto.  But , did you also know it  has roots in the Greek word Theopneustos which means “God breathed” (Theos, “God,” pneo, “to breathe”) ?   Both ‘passionate’ and ‘enthusiastic’ have similar soul connections.   All art has spirituality, in one form or another, as its source.♥

Completely unrelated, or maybe not:  I recently found a quote that really resonates with me –from the title of a  current marketing book, of all places:

‘Stop being perfect and start being remarkable’.

How many perfect people do you know that stay unknown?

Then think of the greatest artists, or architects, or even the greatest people you know:

are they perfect,or are they remarkable?

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Original Sketch, Candelas Restaurant, Pilot Pen on Paper

Original Sketch, Candelas Restaurant, Pilot Pen on Paper

I have been experimenting with sepia tones done using espresso and with watercolors.

I am teaching a Rendering and Delineation class and the work done as demonstration for the students was great inspiration to continue sketching and using different ways to color the initial drawing. I suggested to my students a technique that I found of great help: instead of applying color directly to the original drawing, make multiple copies and experiment with different media. This is especially useful if the original drawing is done in graphite, or if one wants to keep the original version.

The experiment with Espresso was most revealing: by using regular American coffee I was only able to get couple of values/hues, but when I used an Italian Espresso-expertly made by Adam, our new coffee-cart owner here at the school (who was taught how by a professional Italian Barista :))- I was able to obtain a full scale of values, and even use the grounds for textures.

Watercolors are a fantastic rendering tools, for they can easily be augmented by pastels or pencils for more texture. I like to keep three or four fine watercolor brushes in different sizes in the sketching satchel I carry with me. I told my students to think of these different sizes as different lineweights for technical pens.

Candelas Restaurant- Rendering done using Espresso

Candelas Restaurant- Rendering done using Espresso

Candelas Restaurant- Watercolor

Candelas Restaurant- Watercolor

The sketches/drawings above were done during a tour of Downtown San Diego.  I found out that, even using plain copier paper the results obtained are fairly good, and, what was even more exciting, once I made color copies of my renderings, the results looked really polished and professional. Nevertheless, I am posting here the originals rendering to show the process. I actually like the rough quality of the results, but I cannot help but wonder what kind of fantastic effects one could obtain by manipulating these images in Photoshop and turning them into photocollages. I found out that the most successful photocollages are those done starting with solid, traditional work, whether in original, scanned or photocopied form.  Ah! The possibilities!

We also went to visit the brand new San Elijo Nature Center, and I will post the sketches from that site visit, where I experimented with a series of ‘watercolorable’ Graphitint pencils, which come in natural, landscape colors.

Next I want to further explore markers and pencils, and again use the Color Drawing book by Doyle as a guide. Rendering is a combination of Art and Architecture and I have to thank my former Professor Milt Yergens for supplying very inspiring watercolor renderings from his travels sketchbook. When using watercolor to give life to loose architectural sketches and drawings, the most important thing is not to be afraid of making mistakes and remebering to keep the brush ‘loose’.  After all, in these preliminary experiments with watercolor, the object is not sheer perfection, but playing with ‘splashes’ of color and learning about different effects and applications.

Faber Castell markers Faber Castell - Different lineweights

Other tools I really love is the Faber Castell artist pens: I have the sepia and landscape series. These markers come in Small, Medium, and Bold size.  The Bold size is shaped like a brush and is Great for quick, Venturi-like sketches, forcing one to get down the proportions quickly. I remember all those 10 seconds quick sketches in Drawing classes, and it is all about training the hand to get down on paper the greatest amount of information in the shortest time. Wonderful training for traveling artists, fans of the Moleskine.Speaking of Moleskines, I made great discoveries online about the beloved notebook, and will post my findings.

Robert Venturi. San Giorgio Maggiore

Robert Venturi. San Giorgio Maggiore

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Concept for jewelry piece 'twomoons'
Concept for jewelry piece ‘twomoons’
I designed this piece in the summer of 2008.
Here is the concept on a Post-It (where else?).
I then took it to a friend of mine in Calabria who has a jewelry shop and, from this design,her and the metalsmith first made a wax model then used  brushed silver to obtain the finished piece.
It was presented to me with typical Italian flair and attention to details.
I was ecstatic when I saw the result. The first thing that I designed in its entirety and that got ‘built’ 🙂
Twomoons Wax Proof-modeled after concept sketch

Twomoons Wax Proof- modeled after concept sketch

Final Twomoons Piece, Summer 2008

Final Twomoons Piece, Summer 2008

Here is how the jeweler presented me my 'project'. Italian taste!

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No Thanks - Fall 2007

My portfolio albums:  please click on the tabs on top of the page for my in-progress portfolio of work.


Painting and Collages


Check back often as I am digitizing all my work:)

…this is a Long awaited moment.
I wanted to have my small corner of the online galaxy since 2002, and I feel I am finally getting there. There is a pain in opening up and letting go, but the inevitability brings joy and the freedom to stand up to who you are, to who you are meant to be. I always saw myself as an Artist, in a sense or another and those who know me know I love many things.
I do not have a unified style, or method, or technique etc.

I am just very curious, and can be pensive and observing.
I am also sure I can be blind to details, or stubborn… but there are moments when I see my work and I know I want to capture these moments of light, of life….forever.
I know that I want to write poems, or thoughts, or musings all my life- and be surrounded by friends who can encourage and guide.

Ever since I went to the Huntington Gardens a part of me has awaken, a part which was denied for so long.
I am SO thankful for the having the opportunity to teach Art (History), to a group of upstanding, caring gentlemen (yes -they are all guys) architects who have motivated me and awed me with their insight. thankyou for the kindness and the patience.

Also I want to mention my heroine as of lately: Artemisia Gentileschi. Listening to her story and the sacrifices she was willing to make in order to follow her calling inspires and motivates me. She is a muse and an angel.

I know I may never be able to be an artist full time, because I love architecture, and I love teaching, and I have perhaps interests too diverse to be packaged in a neat little “promo”, but I want to continue to explore and share. thankyou for being out there in the ether. The portfolios are for all the work up to now- new work will be published as new post.

I would LOVE to hear your comments.

PS I am ‘keeping away’ my architecture projects/portfolio…all that is for a separate, more structured website I am working on.

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