Norton Simon Museum

May 22, 2011

I arranged a field trip to the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, CA. Here are some pictures of our time in the sculpture garden.

Mishy by the lily pond, eating her red apple.

A mother duck with her ducklings.

Mishy with Y and J watching the tadpoles.

Mishy and I love going to art galleries. I let her decide what she wants to see and then we talk about what we see in the paintings and sculptures – the different colors, shapes, what she sees in the painting, what the painting might be called, what do you think the artist is trying to convey or not, any feelings that come out of seeing the painting? I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer, because art is subjective and it’s just fun looking at art together and also be in nature. The Norton Simon Museum has a beautiful and peaceful sculpture garden.


Norton Simon Museum

Mishy inspired by a Rodin sculpture.

Mishy showing Babba the long horned cattle.

A couple of weeks ago, on a very hot Sunday in Los Angeles, the Autry Museum, which is located near Griffith Park hosted a fabulous Earth Day Celebration, which was sadly not well attended. We received free tickets via Goldstar and that’s how I heard about the event. There is an upcoming Day of the Cowboy and Cowgirl on July 23rd, 2011 and if that day is anything like our day during the Earth Day Festival, you will probably stay all day long and still find more fun things to do and discover at the Autry – including some delicious food. I had some very tasty vegan chocolate chili. My daughter loved it too.

Here is a photo essay of our time there and it doesn’t cover everything the Autry Museum offered that day. They really know how to create a wonderful day for families. The Autry Museum is known for showing a complete picture of Californian Cowboy and Native America cultures, as well as Chinese American’s contribution during the time of the gold rush and railroad construction.

Pretending they are in jail.

Babba riding the pretend horse.

Mining for gold. They let you take some fool's gold home.

Playing in the Family Discovery Gallery - inspired by Lisa See's family history.

Pretending to eat the food Mishy made for Babba in the Family Discovery Gallery

Reading in the Family Discovery Gallery

Watching Peruvian music as part of The Earth Day Festival

Mishy and me painting a mural.

Dancing to a Native American drum circle

Petting a goat from the Moorpark Animal Teaching College.

Feeding a goat.

Dancing to Brazilian music.

Resting and hugging.

Releasing ladybugs.

The mural Mishy and I contributed to by helping paint it during the Earth Day Celebration.


The Autry Museum

The Autry Museum Day of The Cowboy and Cowgirl

Goldstar – where we received our free tickets. Goldstar offers discount tickets to several cultural events in America, including complimentary tickets. You just pay the service charges.

Photo Finalist!

May 16, 2011

When I was in grade seven, I had a teacher who was a professional photographer. She had a dark room where I spent many hours developing photographs because I loved taking pictures and watching them appear before my eyes. I loved manipulating them during the developing process – how you can create shadows and textures with movements from your hands. I had dreams of becoming a professional photographer, of having a visually artistic career, of sharing the world my images I had created by snapping away and then processing them in the dark room. (Now, with digital photography, you can manipulate images on your computer. I don’t have time to edit – yes, the photos you see on this blog are completely untouched – warts and all.)

When I was in highschool, I heard about a photograph competition for highschool students and I desperately wanted to enter. I developed the photograph I had taken when I was twelve years old and still loved – a photograph of water droplets from the Eaton Center in downtown Toronto. I liked how I angled the photograph, how the light hit the droplets, how the shadows created a mysterious mood. I thought I had a decent chance of at least becoming a finalist, maybe even winning a prize. I didn’t enter though because as the days came closer to the last days of entering the competition, I lost faith in my photograph and me as a photographer. I let the image sit on top of my bookcase in my room and left it there until I stopped living at home. My dreams of a photographic career finished because I just didn’t believe in myself.

Three years ago, I heard about a photograph contest for amateur photographers sponsored by the Music Center and Los Angeles Times. This year, I entered the competition. It was a marathon day of horseback riding in Topanga, attending preconcert festivities and a classical music concert in Glendale, playing with a statue of Benjamin Franklin, heading to Torrance to see the Golden Chinese Acrobats, and then the next morning, heading to the Santa Monica Pier and riding the carousels – all in 24 hours. I photographed our journey and distilled it down to 10 photographs.

Now, I am a finalist! And it’s time for people to vote. Please vote for me. I would love to win. The prizes are a camera bag and a gift certificate to Samy’s Camera shop. The winning photographs share a spread in Brand X Magazine, which is published by Los Angeles Times.

To vote, text: 2410059 to 22333  You may text up to 10 times! Please do. I really would love to win. Voting closes on May 21, 2011 at 9:30AM.

If you would like to see my photos, here is the link:

They are alphabetically listed so I am on page 5 – bottom left hand corner under: A Day Starts With Horse And Ends With Horses by M.J. Kang.

And please spread the word so people vote for me. Please.  On Facebook, Twitter – please.

To vote, text: 2410059 to 22333

There is a public viewing of all of the finalist this weekend at the Music Center. Here’s the link for more details:

I am stepping out of my comfort zone and putting myself out there because well, why not? Now that I’m a mother – if I want my daughter to take risks and believe in herself, I need to start believing in myself.

By chance Mishy and I walked into a classroom visit of Roy Lichtenstein’s In Process exhibition at Federick R. Weisman Museum of Art at Pepperdine University. The presentation was lead by Regan, an art history major at Pepperdine and it was presented in an amazingly child friendly, informative, and interesting way. We all learned about the style of Pop Art – named Pop Art because it’s using popular items/representations and making it into art – and which artists influenced Roy Lichtenstein’s work and how he played homage to his mentors. He created water lilies similar to Claude Monet’s water lilies in a collage and small studies. Mishy and fellow classmates also discovered which materials Roy Lichtenstein used in his art work – he painted with oils, used cut out paper, paint, and foil in his collage work that was presented in the exhibition.

As Mishy and I make our way into and through the homeschooling world, we have had several opportunities to join regular classrooms and it was been absolutely wonderful to be able to join in on a class and leave a class when it’s time for us to move on to other adventures or lunch or a concert. I love being able to share the world of art with my daughter and not do the teaching sometimes.


Roy Lichtenstein In Process

January 22-April 3, 2011

Museum of Art – Pepperdine University

24255 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA

Upcoming Family Art Days: Saturday, March 12th from 11AM to 1PM.

When entering Pepperdine, tell the security guard that you are headed to the Museum of Art. He will give you a parking permit and direct you where to park. If you are arriving on a weekend, parking is not a problem. During the week day, when school is in session, you will most likely be directed to a parking lot and told to shuttle your way back to the art gallery. Taking a shuttle may seem daunting, but it isn’t. They arrive frequently on a set schedule and it’s very easy to hop in and out of it and walk a little bit to the gallery. The gallery is located kitty corner to the Smothers Theatre.

Kidspace Museum

January 1, 2011

Last week, we spent a lot of time at Kidspace Museum in Pasadena. In the beginning of the week, we went for their annual snow days, and then it just happened we would pop in every chance we could when we were in the neighborhood. We were in the neighborhood of Pasadena to take in as much Pre-Rose Bowl Activities. When we decided to skip the preview of the floats, we decided to spend the rest of the afternoon at the museum – where it was New Years Eve day. They dropped balloon at noon and had activities around the museum to make noisemakers, pom poms, and New Years Eve party hats.

We have gone to Kidspace Museum first as regular visitors, and then as part of a homeschooling group to make and learn about Chumash wall paintings, then on farm day to meet and pet the young farm animals, and then snow day, and finally Noonsday or New Years Eve Day. I find it amazing how your experience at Kidspace can transform based on the special day and activities associated with those special days. On some days, we explored the entire museum – they have a lot of water play, walls you can climb, art activities, and gem stones you may explore. On others, we stayed in one section of the museum. Yesterday, Mishy spent hours on a tricycle, going around and around on their track. She did venture off their track, until we were kindly informed that tricycles had to stay on the track.

Mishy did get me to go on a tricycle with her – the same size she was on – we don’t have pictures – and we had races. She won, not because I let her, but because she is fast on that tricycle. At home, we don’t have one for her – she has requested it be put on her wishlist. Luckily for her, she has a birthday coming up.

Mishy on a tricyle. She wants exactly the same one 🙂


Kidspace Museum

My daughter is mixed ethnicity. In the fall, there was a touring photographic exhibition by Kip Fulbeck, a photographer who previously had an exhibition entitled – The Hapa Project – protraits of adults with mixed ethnicities. We didn’t make it to that exhibit – that was when Mishy did not like going on too many adventures in the car. When Mixed: Portraits of Mulitracial Kids was at the Japanese American Museum in the Little Toyko district of  Los Angeles, I really wanted to make a day of visiting Little Tokyo and seeing some exhibitions. (On the same day, we visited both MOCAs and stopped at a farmer’s market by City Hall.)

Making herself comfortable inside the exhibition

Following the handprints of other children and adults who are mixed.

I really think Kip Fulbeck’s photos speak for themselves and urge anyone with mixed children or children in general, to get the paperback copy of Mixed Portraits of Multiracial Kids. Mishy has been looking through the pages of this book over and over again, fascinated by the faces. (In the book, Nutureshock, the authors state that speaking about race is crucial by the age of 6 years old. Otherwise, stereotypes could possibly remain imprinted.)


MIXED Protraits of Multiracial Kids by Kip Fulbeck, forward by Dr. Maya Soetoro-NG, Afterword by Cher

House For Mia

March 28, 2010

Eating dried wild blueberries with Babba

We’ve been packing for our upcoming stay in NYC. I ordered 6 storage large boxes. When the storage boxes came, they arrived in a large cardboard box  Mishy and I looked at the box and I thought – this might make a perfect house for Mishy. She was game. I gave her the option of the size and shape of a door or doors and a window.

Open for business. Would you like a plane ticket to New York? It's $1.

After a day, Mishy decided she wanted to decorate her house. She grabbed some markers.

Let's jazz it up!

Now with paint.

Showing Mama Rat, Baby Rat, and Polar Bear her handiwork.

When she was finished for the day, she showed some of her stuffed animals and puppets. We love Folkmanis puppets.

Bonus photo: The final touch

Printmaking 101

March 28, 2010

Mishy and I have been hosting an Art Fun exploration series in our backyard this month. We usually plan to do three things during the two-hour class. We seem to get to do two. On this day, we did one of the planned activities. The second activity was fold overs. You drop tempura paint on to folded over cut outs of butterflies and hearts and any other shape you are inspired to create. After you mush the paint, you reveal the creation. Because there were so many cut out shapes, Mishy and I decided to do some fold overs on our own. Because we were liberal with the paint, Mishy decided to place the non painted shapes on top of the painted shapes fully revealed. This is when it became Printmaking 101. Here are a few pictures of her process.

Bergamot Station

March 28, 2010

Mishy and I have been going to Bergamot Station since she was four months old. She would happily nurse in the Ergo, a baby carrier, while I went from gallery to gallery. It has been a while since we’ve visited and now that she is two years old, I had no expectations. Bergamot Station is a large space filled with individual art galleries. My favorite is the Santa Monica Museum of Art. The curator seems to have a spectacular sense of whimsy, fun, and is in tune with her inner child.

Mishy at SMMOA's Gift Shop

Drinking pretend tea with a real porcelain cup.

Mishy touching everything at the SMMOA's gift shop and being carefully, casually watched.

She found Momma, Babba and Mishy posable magnets.

They have a charming tiny parkette where it is the perfect spot to rest, have a snack, and blow bubbles.

Taking a break in the little little park.

Eating edamame at the little little park.

Running around the tree in the little little park.

After our respite, Mishy and I decided to hit some of the other galleries. This time, it was her choice.

At the Patrick Painter East Gallery

Playing with what was left on the floor

Looking at the Shadow and Light exhibit.

Leaving Gallery Luisotti

Taking a peek at the new installation

Taking in some sculptural work

Eating some fruit leather in the back seat as we drive home.

Details: Bergamot Station

For those in the know – they have a wonderful cafe which serves delicious homemade vegetarian soup that is reasonably priced. They are known for their homemade mint lemonade. Mishy thought it was yummy. I did too.

Mishy fishing for good luck.

We joined in a Chinese New Year’s celebration at a local children’s store that recently opened up in Marina Del Ray – Innovative Baby.

Feeding the dragon puppet

There was some light puppet play.

Learning how to make a paper lantern

Then arts and crafts with sparkles which followed us home.

Playing on their in-store horsey

Afterwards, Mishy played with all of the displayed toys. The store has a great selection of beautiful everyday clothes from fantastic designers – Kicky Pants, Tea Collection – to name a few. We picked up a few long sleeve shirts from their sale rack – 70% off! Their toys are beautiful. Mishy wanted to take all of them home. Luckily, she is okay with us playing with them in the store.  The owners are super friendly, warm, and laid back. It is located right by the beach and the Venice Canals. Get a sandwich from Cow’s End or Island Burgers and have a picnic at the beach after your shopping adventure!


Innovative Baby
114 Washington Blvd #B
Marina del Rey, CA 90292

(310) 338-9908

Bonus photo: Mishy hanging out in the car.