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70 & Sunny: Two San Diegans, Decades Apart, Talk the Creative Process and the Solar System

Catherine lives in Carmel Valley, and Olivia is a third grader in Chula Vista
Jenny Siegwart

Catherine Haller

76, Artist, Carmel Valley

How did you get into teaching art?

I’ve worked with ArtReach, a nonprofit that brings art classes to elementary schools, for 10 years. With them I’ve been able to teach kids about different artists and techniques in a fun way—it’s important to me that they have a good time.

What’s been the most rewarding for you?

Seeing students who once had no interest in art start to open up and love it. Kids need a way to express themselves and for some of them, art is the way to do that.

What about your own work?

I’m always painting. With San Diego real estate the way it is, my garage has become my studio—no commute has been great.

How do you get over creative blocks?

Just walk away from it. Sometimes it’s for a day or a week, sometimes it could even be a month and I’ve moved on to other things. But stepping away has always done the trick.

Is a piece ever truly finished?

Never. I can look at work I did five years ago and notice something I want to change. Life is crazy when you’re creative. It’s a real roller-coaster ride.

Olivia Garcia

8, Third Grader, Chula Vista

Got any cool hobbies?

I love the solar system—like, a lot—so right now I’m making the planets out of Play-Doh to hang in my room.

How do you feel about Mars?

I like that you can see it sometimes through a telescope, but I don’t have a favorite planet, if that’s what you’re asking. I just like knowing a lot about them and having my mom quiz me.

Do you have any stargazing tips?

So you’re going to need a telescope, something to drink, and a notepad. You’ll want to have something comfy to sit on, too. It’s important to be outside someplace where no lights are. You could look out your window, but you have to turn the lights off and get used to the dark.

Would you ever want to go to space?

Oh, yeah! Once you’re out there you can take off your seatbelt and float.

What would you bring to space?

My Amelia Bedelia books. I love to read.

Catherine (left) and Olivia

Jenny Siegwart

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