2013 Santa Monica Pier Paddleboard Race & Ocean Festival

Come Join me at the Santa Monica Pier Saturday June 8th, 2013, for the annual Santa Monica Pier Paddleboard Race & Ocean Festival.



Paddlers lined up at the starting line ready to go paddle to paddle

I will be there in the water and on the beach shooting the event with my photo buddy Jeff of Jeffrey Dean Images as event photographers. We will also be selling Stand Up Paddle Racks on the pier. Look for Stand Up Paddle Racks under a white canopy at the festival.


Visit santamonicapier.org for details, maps and an event schedule.

Waves are looking good, the sun will be out and the sea is super warm for this time of the year.


;) ~




Spring 2013 Art Projects Underway

Spring 2013 Art Projects Underway

Study sketch of stylized tropical tree frog as part of skateboard design I am currently working on. 2013


This spring I have been working on quite a few Art projects aside of my Photography and Teaching Art. It’s been some years since I dove into serious Art projects. Man! I am loving it!

I started last fall with a few ideas and began prepping surfaces and materials and sketching away my ideas. I also had plans to include students in these projects, to gain what I would hope to. And there time is quickly approaching to begin.


Here are some tid-bits on e few of the projects unfolding.










Music to my Eyes:

I got some old trombones from the music department and boxes of old musical notes. The thought crossed my mind of a whole orchestra in paper-mache’ musical notes. So, I began with that and have one done. I have yet to photograph the final glossy and smooth piece, but the images here show in near the finishing phase. Students will follow and also finish the other two I currently have. I’m looking for more of any kind of instrument to be donated for the use of Art. ;) ~




I also got a few old beat up classical guitars. They still play well, but they are about to be playable paintings as well.  I have one I am designing and two others for students to leave their mark and expression on. I started sanding them and down to the last one. Exciting!!! Can’t wait to see what these turn out to be.


Classical guitars being stripped and sanded. Nearly ready for some primer and design then paint. 6 weeks till they will be done.





Old Sector 9 44″ long board being re-faced. All starting with stripping the bottom and top logo of the deck. And a old and rusty stuck truck I need to drill out.


Skate ‘n’ Paint:

I had an older Sector Nine 44” long skateboard. I got it used as a hand-me-down and have skated down some long steep hills in San Clemente and a few other local beach cities.  My dog, Taj, has pulled me miles on that thing as well. I got some new carver trucks and had an idea to totally re-due the deck with stylized tropical island painting with a frog infestation and some fuzzy carpet edges to finish off the top. The logo in the grip tape was painted over back in the fall and I am half way through drawing my design on the bottom. Almost time to start the paint job. ;) ~

Primer the bottom of Long Board Deck to prepare for drawing and paint








Long Board design study. ALready making changes, but this is where the process starts.






Top Deck Design. Covers the old Sector 9 logo.

















Freestyle decks. 7ply Canadian maple. Donated by the generosity of of others for the benefit of Young Art students to express themselves on a very cool medium.

Skate ‘n’ Paint Freestyle:

A bro from college, Derek Pulos of SNAP Graphics & Design, hit me up on FB not too long ago and loved the idea I had posted. He pitched me a donation option for TWENTY  Turbo, 7 ply, Canadian Maple and ready to image freestyle decks. Of course, how could I resist that offer? So I put a few bucks up, along with Derek , John Chamberlain and Greg Tsujimoto to buy whole sale decks from Derek’s connection. Now I have a large group of skilled Drawing & Painting and Color & Design students ready to reface the raw wood with their own Art, in any medium they choose. Pretty sweet deal!







I wish I had me as an Art Teacher! ;) ~








Read It!: “Something in the Yard” – A Short Story Anthology

So the Creative Writing Teacher, Mr. J. Stephens, had a group of really well done stories from an extra curricular project, and thought about publishing an anthology. He told me about it, and my mind starting reeling thoughts of being published and how self-fulfilling that can be. If as a student I had that chance, it would have given more confidence early on to pursue what took me years into adulthood to learn and do. What an AWESOME opportunity. So we made a plan and took students into a real life contextual learning situation. Authors and Artists met together, collaborated, researched, discussed, read, shared, illustrated and created a final book complete with student’s original Art acting as the cover for each story. In a fully published and professional book with edits, fund raising, and surprising sales. It can be purchased on line here. The profit of your purchase will help fund the Art Department of El Rancho Charter Middle School.  Thank you   ;)~


Here are a few sample illustrations from the book.

Something in the Yard Inner Beast

Immortal Happiness


Seal Rock – Southern California Seals

In the spring time nature gets excited and active. It’s the same in the sea, and Southern California Seals are playing, mating and surviving in many places such as Seal Rock, in Laguna Beach. We live amongst them, and they us. Literally just out the back door.

Watch the 3 minute film  ;)~

Seals at Seal Rock in Laguna Beach, CA literally live and survive just out our back doors.

My ocean and surf photo partner, Jeff of Jeffery Dean Images, and myself enjoy the ocean, surf and all its wonderful sea life. We made a short paddle trip out to Seal Rock just north of Laguna Beach’s center to view, observe, photograph and film wild seals in their habitat.

Jeff paddles between the jetting rocks at Seal Rock.










Upon reaching the famed rock and known seal congregation area, we enjoyed very playful seals, which swam around and under us; a very beautiful experience every time. While there we also noticed that many were very sick. In fact, there was a young pup found dead on the beach that very morning. While members of  Orange County’s Pacific Marine Mammal Center (PMMC) were there, we found out that they had discovered several recent deaths, and noted that many were sick for unknown reasons. They are also calling this “A state of Emergency.”

A Seal pup watches me carefully from a short distance from his perch on Seal Rock.


“Orange County’s Pacific Marine Mammal Center has been experiencing record numbers of sick and injured sea lions this month — the most they have ever had in the center’s 42-year history, according to PMMC Executive Director Keith Matassa. The malnourished creatures have been rescued from local beaches… no one knows what exactly is causing all these sea lions to turn up sick, injured and starving on the beaches of Orange County — right now, the reasons can only be speculated. If you see a sick or injured sea lion or seal on the beach, you’re cautioned to leave it alone and call the PMMC at 949-494-3050. A rescue crew will arrive and transport the animal back to the center and give it proper care.” (Rich Kane, The Los Alamitos-Seal Beach Patch, March 19, 2013.)


A seal pup struggles to climb from the sea for rest. It is possible that it may be slowly starving as we witnessed a dead pup washed up in the cove that same morning and several others looking very gaunt and near death. Notice the spine clearly visible in its lower back. The PMMC has stated that they are suspicious of starvation.


Sadly, we witnessed many of the seals coughing roughly, vomiting and some very weak, fragile and malnourished that seemed to be near their end. Barely able to enter or leave the water, panting heavily and a deep pool of black in their eyes and all bones visible through their thinning fur.

As much as I enjoy the ocean, and all its creatures and energy, I am also saddened by what I discover from time to time. I watched, filmed and photographed seals for 3 hours, the whole time in awe, amazement and concern for what I was seeing.

From this day, I created a short film in hope to inspire, at least a little, in you the power of the natural world in these seals. I hope you enjoy it, find it peaceful and mesmerizing, and also to think a little more about our impact and the choices that you can make to help make it be better for us all. We all have the right to live healthy and free, especially where we were born. Maybe there is something we can do to help, at least a little.


“In 2009, Pacific Marine Mammal Center experienced an unusually busy year caring for ailing sea lion pups and seals stranded along the Orange County coastline… [It’s even more now] “It typically takes about two months before the pups are ready to be released back into the ocean. The average weight of the mammals taken in over the last six weeks is about 24 pounds, with most of them 30 percent to 50 percent under their normal weight of 48 to 79 pounds,” center officials said… “Since we are the only licensed marine mammal rescue in the entire Orange County area, the task of responding to each animal in need and financially supporting their recovery rests entirely on our shoulders,” said Melissa Sciacca, director of development/marketing. The center is seeking donations to help care for the mammals during the emergency.” (BY VIK JOLLY / The Orange County Register June 2009)


Look at this little guy. I hope he is happy and safe. ;) ~

To learn more about the Pacific Marine Mammal Center, visit www.pacificmmc.org

Located in Laguna Beach, the Pacific Marine Mammal Center is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to rescuing, treating and rehabilitating marine mammals that have been stranded along Orange County’s coastline. The Center also releases healthy animals back into the wild, and strives to increase public awareness of the marine environment through education and research. The Center is also available to schedule educational programs or presentations. For more information, please contact the Pacific Marine Mammal Center at the provided telephone number, or visit its website.  http://pacificmmc.org

  • Fax: 949-494-2802
  • Hours: Mon – Sun, 10am – 4pm
  • Founding Date: 1971

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way their animals are treated” 

~ Mahatma Ghandi



MUZEO TrashARTist Challenge Exhibit and Expo

MUZEO TrashARTist Challenge 2013


It is my personal pleasure to share with you that my 7th Grade Color & Design class students have been entered into a Trash Art Challenge and their work is part of a larger exhibit at the MUZEO Museum in Anaheim, CA. 241 S. Anaheim Blvd., Anaheim, CA 92805

Submissions will be on display at MUZEO for viewing and People’s Choice voting from April 6 to April 20.

Please visit the exhibit and VOTE for my El Rancho Charter School submissions.

“Tree of Life”

On April 20 from 12 pm to 3 pm, TrashARTist Challenge participants and the community come together for a FREE festival featuring conservation & recycling vendors, giveaways, craft booths, music, entertainment and more! This family-friendly event celebrates sustainability and recognizes winners and prize recipients from the TrashARTist Challenge.

The TrashARTist Challenge is a unique, environmentally conscious event connecting more than 400,000 students, administrators, city and business leaders by focusing on conservation and recycling through the Arts!

Students are encouraged to work as a group to enter an art project made from recycled materials (or TRASH!) to promote a message of creativity and sustainability.

Winners will be announced in the following key categories: 1st Place Award?, 2nd Place Award, Honorable Mention, People’s Choice Award

When the winners will be announced: ? MUZEO’s TrashARTist Challenge 2013 winners will be announced at the MUZEO TrashARTist Challenge Expo held on April 20, 2013. Prizes will be distributed from the main stage. A representative from each group must be present at the expo to receive a winning prize if awarded.

“Helping Hands All Over the World”

Student Collaboration – Book Publication Release “Something in the Yard”

Student Collaboration – Book Publication Release “Something in the Yard”

Full Book Jacket – 2013 Creative Writing and ART illustartion collaboration Project.
Buy your copy at Lulu.com and help fund the Art Department at El Rancho Charter School

We’d be lying if we said we started with some master plan to publish this book. The reality is much humbler, much cooler.

It started with a bunch of students who didn’t likely know they were authors. These writers were just a handful of 200+ students from Mr. Stephens Creative Writing course. They thought they were writing a story for their Honors English class. So did he.

But as he started reading and grading them, he discovered many of them were pretty good, so he threw out the offer to a select few writers: “If you’re interested in revising them, we’ll see if they’re good enough to publish somewhere, somehow.”

This wasn’t for a grade in class . . . it was purely for the joy and possibility of making something lasting. They were into it. A few writers dropped out. It was a lot of work for outside-of-school time. But this choice handful stuck with it.

One day in the office the Art teacher, Mr. Puchalski, and Mr. Stephens got to chatting about the book project. Mr. Puchalski loved it and offered the idea: “What would you think of some of my illustrators partnering with your writers? Maybe they could illustrate a cover for the stories?”

We loved the idea, and soon, the project was flying. Our first meeting had almost 100 artists, all thrilled at this idea. As time ticked on and more effort was required, only the strong and committed stuck with the project. Illustrators competed against each other to create the best cover for the story, and authors got to choose which cover they loved the most.

And here we are.

The collection is done — thirteen original stories accompanied with original artwork, wrapped in original cover artwork. And all of it, created by students with the guidance of Mr. Stephens as the Chief Editor and Mr. Puchalski the Art Director and Cover Design.

So we hope you enjoy our efforts because we sure all enjoyed the journey.


The Book is available on line at lulu.com

Follow the link to purchase your copy for a discounted price of $10.00 until April 26th.

El Rancho-logo-green


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“Water is LIFE” – WORLD WATER DAY 2013 & NAP Africa Challenge YOU to Care

“Water is LIFE” ~ Nap Africa’s 2013 Water Campaign

in conjunction with

World Water Day ~ March 22, 2013 


Water from NAP Africa’s first borehole flows into a carrying bucket. NAP hopes to build another borehole soon to provide fresh water for growing much needed crops in the NAP sponsored community garden.

You can help make a difference in the lives of others who are extremely less fortunate than you are. Water can be taken for granted, but in countries such as Zimbabwe, it certainly is not, it is about LIFE or death. Read more to found out what YOU can do to help make a difference lending support to the people of the Jabulani village and beyond!

Young Jabulani boys play around an old borehole (water well) pump in the village. NAP Africa is raising money to fund a new borehole to be drilled and constructed in the garden to avoid carrying water bucket by bucket to water their crops and assist with sustaining life in the rural village.

Currently, NAP Africa is seeking funds to build a much needed borehole (water well) to service the Jabulani community garden. The garden is run by the local villagers and their families and serves as a sustainable lifeline to survival in the bush. Currently men, women, and children carry water on their heads in order to keep crops moist.  Water needs have been a growing issue in Zimbabwe, which will prevent farmers from harvesting crops for both their families as well as for having an income source for the village.

Men, woman & children carry heavy buckets of water one at a time back and forth from a single water source to either home, or to the community garden.
Water is LIFE! Just ask these folks.

Estimated costs for a new borehole are close to $10,000 US. With your generous contribution NAP Africa can continue our mission of creating a sustainable environment for thousands of deserving families.

 Today is a good day to fund a borehole! Please help us reach our goal by donating to our Water Campaign 2013. Your donation will directly assist in building a new water source for our Jabulani Community Garden in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, Southern Africa. ;)




A village women helps to plant the young sprouts they raised into a garden trough in the Jabulani community garden.








Todd Puchalski DONATED, WILL YOU? ;) ~






NAP Africa says “THANK YOU”…

We send a big NAP “Thank You” for your generous donations. Please share and follow our progress in building a new borehole for the village at napafrica.org

Your efforts truly make a difference in many lives.



The Last “TALL Blondes” on Earth & Austin Hardwoods Gives Back BIG

“Tall Blondes” are Original Art Carvings of Giraffes from an African Village in Zimbabwe. They are BEAUTIFUL & RARE! ;) ~


Where you can find them in the United States? At Austin Hardwoods in Orange County, CA.


NAP volunteer Richard Orrill stands by a heard of “Tall Blondes” (carved giraffes) at Austin Hardwoods in Orange County, CA


Because the Jabulani Village artists live in Zimbabwe, a country severly impacted by the world’s worst economic crisis and years of political instability, The NAP Africa Humanitarian Organization has tried to showcase their talents by bringing some small carvings back to the US in their travel bags. These are offered privately for donations that help fund village projects.

Prior to the economic meltdown that began in 2002, this was a bustling village, producing world renowned ‘tall blondes’ (Tall Giraffe wood carvings) with their signature one-piece carving style. Exporters shipped several containers a year to the US and sold them across the country. All of that crashed to a halt when the economy made it financially impossible for exporters to work under Zim’s poor economic conditions. The LAST of these magnificent carvings from those by-gone days can still be found in the United States, in Orange County, CA at AustinHardwoods.

Steve at Austin Hardwoods has made a generous offer to anyone wishing to own one of these incredible art pieces. Just ask at Austin Hardwood and help the Artists of Jabulani Village.

610 N Santiago St, Santa Ana, CA 92701
(714) 953-4000
Mon-Fri: 7am-5pm
Sat: 8:00 am-4:30pm

NAP Africa Board Member Kathy Green gives an original image created & donated by Todd Puchalski to Austin Hardwoods of Orange County, CA for their generous donations and offer to to donate a large portion of the proceeds from the sales of these “Tall Blondes.” The carvings are of one solid piece of wood and the Artists are from the same village and people NAP Africa aims to assist. The money goes back to the projects helping these same exact Artists.



Todd Puchalski has donated an Original Artistic Photography matted print to Austin Hardwoods as a gift on behalf of the NAP Africa organization for its generous donations to NAP Africa gathered from sales of these beautiful, one-of-a-kind and last on Earth village carvings. ;) ~

Surf Shoot Story- with Ryan Schiller

Cool Winter Days in So Cal make for great photo ops in the water; motley blue skies, clear atmosphere, green & clear water, a S & NW swell combo, glassy surface and a whole lot of sunshine. Combine that with a couple surfers and some photo gear. Those are the ingredients for an epic morning along Southern California’s rocky, tropical desert coastline.

3-4 ft. Occ. + on a random set at a “Strands” break. ;) ~ Only way this would have been a better day is if the swell pushed in for larger waves. Stunning!

On this Day, Ryan Schiller and I came out to Photograph a session for his sponsor, Steaz Teaz, organic tea drinks. We chose Salt Creek and Strands surf breaks for the shoot due to the quality of the surf from the combination S & NW swell, the clean conditions, clear water, and of course little barrels and pitched peaks. It was the perfect day to shoot and the sun was rising in line with Ryan’s preferred Right-hand breaks. Light was right, conditions were excellent, experience, color, contrast, pattern, energy, vibe and spirit were all present. Good Times!!!



Ryan Schiller preparing for a little cover up!



Despite the very eye opening 55 degree water, we were able to stave of the numbness for awhile by keeping on the move and staying focused on getting in the waves and getting the shots. Eventually, though, when you cant grip your camera rig or feel the flippers on your feet, you know its time to start thinking about getting back into shore.




“So Much Fun, and what a perfect day! A gift and a great time. Couldn’t have chosen a greater set of circumstance in which to work in, even if it is part-time. I love my Job!”

;) ~







Ryan in a tight tube. “Salt Creek” Break



HB ARTWALK Feb 21, 2013

Exhibiting at SuperHero’s Sub Shop in Huntington Beach on Thursday February 21, 6-10pm. Part of the HB Artwalk. Lots of Artists, food, and fun. See ya there. ;) ~



US Open of Surfing. Huntington beach, California 2011. Photo: Todd Puchalski




Photo Monologue – The Himalaya

In 2008 I spent 6 weeks in India and Nepal. I was not there to vacation, or to get in some sights; none-the-less, it happens. Amongst long hard days, running on high alert, and little sleep, there are sheer moments when no matter how many times you rub your eyes and pinch yourself, you realize you’re not dreaming. It is simply wonderful! …and you understand the journey you are on…

Sunrise over the foothills of Katmandu.

Sunrise over the foothills of Katmandu.

One of the most sought after spiritual lands in the world, Nepal’s coveted landscape, ancient epicenters and mysticism also hold the largest energy force on Earth next to gravity, and the ocean; mineral and crystal rich Himalaya.

The Himalayas, also Himalaya, “abode of the snow,” is a mountain range in Asia separating the plains of the Indian subcontinent from the Tibetan Plateau.


Photo of the Himalaya foothills, and Ganesha II in the background from Nagarkot, a very low lying group of farms and villages of the Sherpa people. Still over 14,000 ft.Photo of the Himalaya foothills, and Ganesha II in the background from Nagarkot, a very low lying group of farms and villages of the Sherpa people. Still over 14,000 ft.

The Himalaya foothills, also known as the Sivalik Hills. At about 80 miles away, Ganesha II stands in the background rising well over 20,ooo feet above Nagarkot, a very low lying group of terraced farms and villages in the steep foothills of the Sherpa people, and where I stand to photograph this moment. Still over 14,000 ft+, and barely starting the foothills.   WOW!!!


From the cockpit of a very, very small plan grinding its way to 30,000 ft out of Katmandu, Nepal. 5:30am

First light from the cockpit of a very, very small plane grinding its way to 30,000 ft. out of Katmandu, Nepal; destined for the Mt. Everest summit. 5:30am







The Sakill Foothillls at dawn.

The Sivalik Hillls at dawn. Slowly ascending northeast from Katmandu towards Everest and the southern slope of the Himalaya.











From frozen Katmandu, on my way in a very small 5:00am prop-plane to circle the Everest Summit,  we first pass over the Sivalik Hills, and shortly the Mahabharat Range, the smaller range, before souring at 30,000 ft. to meet the largest land mass known to man (aside of Hawaii) face-to-face , and above the clouds.

The Himalayas. Vast, Powerful & Beautiful!Namaste

The Himalayas’, Lokasi. Vast, Powerful & Beautiful.

A neighboring Peak to Everest, and the towering peak over the infamous Lokasi Face, an extreme climb over and up ice, rock and the deep of crevasses on the ascent to Everest.

The Himalayas cross five countries: BhutanIndiaNepalChina, and Pakistan

Several places in the Himalaya are of religious significance in HinduismJainismSikhismBuddhism, and Islam. A notable example of a religious site is Paro Taktsang, where Padmasambhava is said to have founded Buddhism in Bhutan.


Prayers blowing in the wind. Katmandu, Nepal.

Prayers blowing in the wind. The Monkey Temple, Katmandu, Nepal.


Buddhist Monk Students. Life within Life....

Buddhist Monk Students. Life within Life…. Now tell me, do any of these boys look as if they face a fate in the Christian Hell? I also think not. Just food for thought……..   ;) ~


A little of real Sherpa Life. Not glamorized by movies and the Everest Craze... Sad, yet remarkably beautiful in spirit, mind, and body. Something to look up to.

A little of real Sherpa life. Not glamorized by movies and the Everest Craze… Sad, yet remarkably beautiful in spirit, mind, and body. Something to respect the true nature of mankind and understand yourself in the larger scheme of things around the globe.