A New Year is just around the Bend


As I wrap up the year, getting the studio ready for new classes to come, I am reminded of what a great year 2015 has been here at Bravo School of Art. We welcomed several new instructors and many new classes. Some students discovered our great art curriculum for the first time. And so many familiar faces returned to explore their creativity in our studio classroom.

This summer, 2 instructors who live out of town, came to teach classes over several days. The student’s work coming out of each of these was amazing! Daily immersion in ART MAKING is really fun. I recommend it.

Sean P Callahan demonstrates Watercolor Pet Portrait
Expressive Mixed Media Painting student

Throughout the year, many students learned new ways to paint.

James Dingman paints by intuition
James Dingman paints by intuition

…and others learned that the art of Kokedama brings relaxation and peace.

Kanako Yamada & Kokedama Student
Kanako Yamada demonstrates Kokedama

Teen artists learned about drawing the figure in our new portfolio program. So many new classes… Beginning Embroidery, Paper Flower Wall, Macrame, Children’s Textile Summer camps, and so much more.

Enjoy the remaining days of 2015 and make plans to create with us in Bravo’s studio classroom. Our new schedule of classes is ready for enrollment. Please visit our website today and I’ll see you next year!


Home ~ Bravo’s soundtrack

If you’ve ever had the idea that you’re not creative; that you can’t possibly make art that’s any good, listen to the lyrics in Phillip Phillips song. This is what I’m saying to you. Come to Bravo. Take a class or two. Feel free to create, to make mistakes and to learn and grow. Make this place your home.

…Settle down, it’ll all be clear.

Don’t pay no mind to the demons

They fill you with fear.

The trouble it might drag you down.

If you get lost, you can always be found.

Just know you’re not alone.

Cause I’m gonna make this place your home…

Exploration of your creative self


We are excited about the coming of summer with longer days; more time for art! We have several new art classes, workshops and instructors. In addition to classic art training such as drawing, painting and printmaking, we have more than 50 unique art, craft  and creativity classes from which to choose. Many classes are for beginning students, some are for an experienced creative person and all are to foster your inner exploration of your creative self.

  • Mosaic
  • Soul Collage©
  • Jewelry Making
  • Digital Photography
  • Weaving
  • Zentangle®
  • Children’s Art Camp
  • Mixed Media
  • Paper Mache and more

Spring and Summer art classes are now ready for your enrollment. Please visit Bravo’s Website to see the creative possibilities. All registration buttons should be published on our website within the week!

This summer Bravo School of Art and Theatre Arts School of San Diego team up once again to create one-of-a-kind arts camp experiences for children, ages 7 – 11. Campers can “Globe Trot with the Arts” as they explore the world of visual and performing arts taught by professional artist teachers

In the meantime, we have many workshops from which to choose during April.

Our 20+ instructors are anxious to teach you a new art technique or help you improve your skills. Please visit our website to see what’s new for 2014.
See you in the studio!

Lauren’s World Famous Mocha Pecan Pie

Lauren’s World Famous Mocha Pecan Pie recipe

9-inch pie crust
(I use a graham cracker crumb crust OR a Whole Foods gluten-free crust)
3/4 C sugar (I use brown or Turbinado sugar)
1/2 C maple syrup or dark corn syrup
2 T coffee liqueur or brewed strong black coffee / decaf
2 T butter
2 T unbleached white 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 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

September: Back to school month


It’s now the third week of September and Bravo’s studio classroom is humming with activity this weekend. A couple of San Diego artists are in Bravo’s classroom to teach their private classes: Mixed Media Artist, Jane LaFazio is teaching her magical Wet Felting workshop today. I look forward to seeing the results. Tomorrow, Watercolor Artist, Shuang Li, will be teaching her third class in a 4-week series of Mastering Watercolor. Their classes are full, the creativity is flying off the walls and students are enjoying making art.

Check out Bravo’s new schedule of art classes and register yourself and a friend for a day or an evening of fun!

A recipe for the New Year

I’m wrapping up 2012 and putting it to bed and looking forward to new creative adventures in 2013; in the art studio and in the kitchen. My holiday gift to you is this yummy all time favorite recipe. Invite your friends over and share some love.


Active time: 1.5 hrs   Start to finish: 3 hrs


5 cups water, reserve 1 cup

5 cups chicken broth, reserve 1 cup

1 large onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced

6 garlic cloves, chopped

3 lb skinless boneless chicken thighs or breasts

1/2 cup hulled raw pumpkin seeds

1 lb tomatillos, husked

1 can diced green chiles

3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 T dried oregano

2 T vegetable oil

2 (15-oz) cans white hominy, rinsed and drained (I used 1 can)

salt to taste

Accompaniments: diced radish, cubed avocado tossed with lime juice, shredded cabbage, chopped onion, lime wedges, dried oregano, pumpkin seeds


Bring 4 cups water & 4 cups of broth, bay leaf, 1/2 of onion, 1/2 of garlic, and dash salt to a boil, covered, in a 6-quart heavy pot, then reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Add chicken and poach at a bare simmer, uncovered, until just cooked through, about 20 minutes. Transfer chicken to a cutting board to cool. Pour broth through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl, discarding solids, and reserve. When chicken is cool enough to handle, coarsely shred with your fingers.

Meanwhile, cook pumpkin seeds in a dry small skillet over low heat, stirring occasionally, until puffed but not browned (seeds will pop as they puff), 6 to 7 minutes. Or broil in the toaster oven although be prepared to burn one batch. It always happens to me. Transfer to a bowl to cool completely, then finely grind in coffee/spice grinder or in the blender.

Simmer tomatillos and remaining onion in remaining 1 cup water in a 3-quart saucepan, covered, until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain vegetables and purée in a blender with chiles, 1/4 cup cilantro, oregano, remaining garlic, and dash salt.

Heat oil in a 4- to 5-quart heavy pot over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then add purée (use caution as it will splatter and steam). Cook, uncovered, stirring frequently, until thickened… about 10 minutes. Stir in pumpkin seeds and 1 cup reserved broth and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in hominy, chicken and 3 more cups reserved broth or water and simmer, partially covered, 20 minutes. Add more water if it’s too thick. If you forget and use all the broth and water in the beginning, don’t worry… just use water where it’s needed.  * If the number of cups of broth and water don’t add up… don’t worry about it!

Stir in remaining 1/2 cup cilantro and serve pozole in deep bowls with accompaniments.

Happy New Year!

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: http://adminrecords.ucsd.edu/Notices/2012/2012-9-26-2.html.

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.