Reed Cardwell • 1955 – 2013

It is with great sadness that I inform you of the passing of one of San Diego’s most prominent artists and art mentors, Reed Cardwell.
Reed touched many aspiring artists through his teaching and developed a devoted group of students over the years. He leaves his students with wonderful memories and many hours of precious instruction and advice on how to become better artists.
Throughout his career Reed had many exhibitions of his art; locally, across the U.S. and in Hawai’i. Reed Cardwell is well known for his strong figurative abstract paintings. With his aggressive use of color, Reed transformed raw emotion into human form. In November 2008, marking the historic Presidential election, Reed’s monumental exhibition of “The Presidents – from George W. to George W.” was mounted in the Simayspace at the Art Academy of San Diego.
I’ve known Reed since 1995 when Bravo Workshop’s studio was at the Ratner Art Center on 13th Street in the East Village. Reed’s studio was across the hall. When I worked with the Art Academy of San Diego as their Director of Workshops, Reed was our Abstract Painting instructor.
Reed taught Abstract Painting workshops at Bravo School of Art and was scheduled to teach here last week. His dedication to his students and his commitment to the art schools where he taught is a testament to this man’s values.
Reed Cardwell leaves a legacy of his amazing and remarkable works of art, a memory of his kindness, devotion and his generosity.
He will be missed.
A Celebration of Life will be held, along with an exhibition of his work, on
Sunday, August 25 from 3 – 6 p.m. in North Park at
Art Academy of San Diego • 3784 30th Street • San Diego, CA 92104
Reed Demonstrates

A Fun Painting Project with Dad


Having not lived near my Dad and not celebrating Father’s Day face to face for sooooo many years , I forget what people do to honor their Papa in person. Take him out to brunch? Bring him breakfast in bed? Make a card? Buy him flowers? Go fishing? Do some yard work with him? Give him a new tie? What?

According to Wikipedia, Father’s Day was founded in Spokane, Washington at the YMCA in 1910. In 1913, a bill to accord national recognition of the holiday was introduced in Congress. AND in 1966, President Lyndon B Johnson issued the first presidential proclamation honoring fathers, designating the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day. Six years later, the day was made a permanent national holiday when President Nixon signed it into law in 1972.

Who knew??

So, if you were really wondering what to do, perhaps a bit of creative bonding is in order. Paint a pair of  sneakers together on Sunday, June 16 from 2-5pm.

Painted sneakers98

No talent required, only a pair of clean canvas shoes and the willingness to have fun. Pre-registration for each of you required.

UCSD Crafts Center has been closed

Happy UCSD Student Grouting

I’m thinking that I should be posting something cool and interesting about Bravo School of Art, but I am mourning the loss of the Craft Center at UCSD.

I teach mosaic workshops at the Crafts Center. This unique facility, located in the middle of a eucalyptus grove on the campus of the University of California at San Diego, has provided classes and workshops including ceramics, jewelry, mosaic, metal work, screen printing, glassblowing, flame working, photography, graphics, music and poetry, stained glass, sculpture, weaving, neon, and even beer brewing, since 1972.

The Crafts Center is unlike any other facility in San Diego. Over the past 40 years it has been a welcoming space for students to work on their own projects, obtain expert instruction, learn life-long skills, turn their craft into an occupation and so much more.

It reminded me of Tyler School of Art, where I got my BFA degree in the 70’s. Secluded and filled with experimentation within soe many hands-on studio disciplines. Glass blowing, ceramics, jewelry, weaving, sculpture, graphics, photography, printmaking…

On September 27, less than 2 weeks before the start of the fall semester, I was sent an email to inform me of the closing of this unique venue. I am to assume that I no longer have a job there. This is what it said:

Dear Lauren,

This email is to inform you that the UCSD Crafts Center has been closed for the 2012-13 academic year. The closure includes classes, workshops and studio time. An official campus notice regarding this decision can be found here:

Over the next few weeks, the Crafts Center team will be preparing the space and equipment for closure, and will assist you with questions you may have regarding lockers and unfinished art pieces. Student who have registered for fall quarter will automatically receive a refund. The Crafts Center has brought many talented instructors to the campus over the years, and I thank you for your involvement and enrichment of the campus community.

Faculty and staff were notified this way, with a second email the following day from the interim director. Students are finding out about the closure when they go to the Craft Center website to register or to learn details of classes fro which they’ve already registered. Not only is the actual closure absolutely heartbreaking, but the handling of the closure announcement was so sudden that everyone was caught unprepared. Instructors were not given any notice whatsoever, nor were we ever directly informed that our positions had been terminated. The closing was sudden and done in a very uncool way.
To learn more about this or about what you can do, please visit this website.

If you are a displaced student, Bravo School of Art offers similar classes to suit your interest and schedule. If you are an instructor, come on over and teach at Bravo. I have room for you. Call me at Bravo.

New Classes and Workshops at Bravo School of Art

I just received the new list of classes and workshops beginning in September at Bravo and since I make the website I have my work cut out for me. It is a time consuming, detail oriented and somewhat frustrating task. I wanted to share a bit about the process in case you are perusing the site and it looks unfinished. During this transition time there are old outdated workshops and new ones that are not complete. What I like to do first is make sure there is a listing for all the classes. At least that way you know what is available. Then I make 2 payment buttons for each class, one for non-members and one for a member discount. In the meantime while each of these buttons is made and posted onto the sight you may see something like ” If you wish to register online and there is not a payment button, please call or email for other ways to register.” I figure that way until the online payment buttons are all completed you can still register the old fashioned way! Checks in the mail are really the preferred way to register. On the website page all about how to register there is a registration form that can be downloaded and printed out and mailed in with a check. Back in the days before everyone had websites that was how it was done.
I hope this explains the process I go through every 4 months when the list of classes and workshops as well as instructors changes, and why the website may look strange. And if you see any mistakes, you can put the blame on me as I have been known to make some. Just point them out and I will be grateful you found them.

Kimonos By The Dozen

A collection of screen printed fabric hand-sewn to create kimonos by

Lauren Becker Downey

Join us at Bravo School Of Art for an Opening Reception • May 6, 2011 • 5 – 9 pm

2690 Historic Decatur Rd, Studio 206

San Diego, CA 92106

The walls in our studio classroom are wearing kimonos. Yards of fabric were screen printed and over 50 kimonos created… by me. It’s time for them to make their San Diego debut. Join us Friday night at Bravo School of Art for the Opening Reception when the NTC Promenade Arts and Cultural district hosts Art Meets Fashion and see what the excitement is all about during NTC Promenade’s Friday Night Liberty.

Pick up our new May – June schedule of art classes & workshops.
Register for classes!

Friday Night Liberty is an evening of Free open artist studios, galleries and events throughout NTC Promenade Arts & Cultural District.

SMASH IT!!! BREAK IT!! Let’s Mosaic….

Stop by our studio classroom during this month’s Friday Night Liberty.
Break some tiles and dishes.
Try your hand at this really fun technique and add to the community mosaic project.
Mosaic Table Top
Sample Mosaic Table Top

Preview Instructor, Lauren Becker Downey’s Mosaic Methods. Watch demonstrations.

Friday, February 4, 2011 · 5 – 9 pm

Pick up a new Schedule of Classes.
Special discount for Mosaic Class registration this night ONLY.

Gift Certificates available.

Bravo School of Art

2690 Historic Decatur Rd, Studio 206
San Diego, CA 92106 · 619-223-0058

Friday Night Liberty is an evening of FREE open artist studios, galleries & events throughout NTC Promenade at Liberty Station. San Diego’s newest Arts and Cultural district. It’s a great way to explore our growing cultural campus. A calendar & map will be available at each venue. Bring a friend.    FREE PARKING>

Creativity is Everywhere…

Some days we just need to make something. It’s in our human nature to create… art, food, gardens, relationships, chaos, order, space…

What is creativity? Wikipedia states, “…the phenomenon whereby something new is created which has some kind of value“. Another dictionary states that creativity is the, “production of something previously non-existent“. It could be anything. YOU can be creative in many ways.

A focus of my life has been about ART as creativity… I was born an artist and for as long as I can remember, I was making things. Coloring with crayons, painting by numbers, gluing things on popsicle sticks, weaving potholders, making “salads” in dixie cups from flowers and weeds… My life has been about Making Art, Learning Art (classes, college, etc), Exhibiting Art,  Teaching Art, Viewing Art, Collecting Art, Eating Art, Dreaming about Art (yes, I choose colors in my dreams).

And sometimes I just want to make a pie…. Since I don’t have a picture my World Famous Mocha Pecan Pie, ya’ll can look at my wedding cake instead. Here’s the recipe, which includes a gluten-free version:

Lauren’s World Famous Mocha Pecan Pie


9-inch pie crust (A graham cracker crumb crust is the Best!)

I now use a Whole Foods Gluten-free pie crust.



3/4 C sugar (I use brown or Turbinado sugar)

1/2 C maple syrup

2 T coffee liqueur or brewed strong black coffee / decaf

2 T butter

2 T unbleached white flour (or Gluten-free all purpose flour)

3 large eggs

1/2 C semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 C toasted pecans

Preheat oven to 400°

Place all of the ingredients except the pecans in a blender or food processor and puree until chocolate chips are completely ground up and everything is smooth. If you don’t have those machines, melt the chocolate & butter on very low heat, cool it, and beat it with all the other filling ingredients except the pecans. Pour the filling over the pecans in a bowl and stir just enough to coat the nuts.

Pour the filling into the unbaked 9-inch pie shell. Bake at 400° for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350° and bake for another 30 minutes or until the filling is set but still moist. Cool completely before cutting.

Serve with whipped cream or ( YUM!! ) vanilla ice cream.

Make a pie! GET CREATIVE! Take a class at Bravo. We’ll get you started.