Friday, February 16, 2018


By the beautiful sea……O.K., the Pacific Ocean.

I always forget how awesome this is!
I took Nikka with me to the Ritz Carlton at Laguna-Niguel for a special event.
Need I say how much we both needed even this brief vacation?
Here’s the view from our room.

Kita was in the Caribbean Suite at Dog Resort Hotel & Spa where we could watch her on our iPhones.
Word has it she fell in love with a handsome German Shepherd.

Breakfast anyone? Wonder if there was anything else we could have ordered….

This fellow was our breakfast companion! He loved everything!

Time to hit the beach.

Or not...

Looking back at the hotel….

Oh joy…Sweet Jane, Tanya and Nikka….happy, happy…

Did I say happy? Ecstatic!

I think it’s time to take a couple of moments and just chill...

The meeting will be called to order….

Ahhhhhhh………Are you relaxed yet?

We watched the stunning sunset and then it was time to get ready for the event.

These strawberries were sent to the room and Nikka keeps insisting they
were from a secret admirer we met earlier…..

Next day my snowbirds from Chicago drove down from Newport Beach (or is it up?)

Finally, Nikka & I went whale watching but they were shy and we just got to chase the
dolphins but we saw a rainbow and that made up for the missing whales...

And this cutie...

Not quite sure why I received such largess but I suspect it was from Lynne Tucker at Pro- Travel.

I decided to have a movie marathon so we watched 'Murder on the Orient Express' with breakfast and 'Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri' along with 'The Shape of Water' that evening.
(We saw two other movies after we checked out.)

         “Unable to perceive the shape of you
           I find you all around me
          Your presence fills my eyes with your love...
          It humbles me
          For you are everywhere"
Last scene in ‘The Shape of Water'
This view from the room was absolutely stunning!

I guess you can figure out what this was about….

This much ‘stuff’ after only four days is embarrassing but getting everything was quite fun!

Enough of that….back to the real world.
I decided not to fight the traffic back as even with a late check out it would be horrible
so….of course….a movie!

This was my first time at a Cinépolis and I have to say that Orange County is in no way the real world.
First, the most comfortable ‘chairs’ ever that you can adjust…go ahead, put your feet up!
We ordered gobs of food and a handsome server brought everything to us.  Eeeee gads!

Sooooo fun! We saw this and then ‘The Post’.

Sending Valentine love to all.  Remember to live joyfully!

Tuesday, January 23, 2018


My dearest friends you have been so kind and loving throughout this transition time and I am so touched and heart warmed that many of you have asked how to donate in memory of dear Charles.
To make a gift, please have the tax deductable check made payable to President and Fellows of Harvard College and mail it to:

Harvard University Planned Giving
Attn: Jane Verrill
124 Mount Auburn Street, Suite 400N

Cambridge, MA 02138

In the memo field of the check, please write: HBS Fund for Student Financial Aid
In addition, because you are wishing to make a gift in memory of Charles, you should also include an additional note that says that you would like this donation to benefit the Harvard Business School Fund for Financial Aid in memory of Mr. Charles Lee Parker MBA’63. (This can be on a separate piece of paper.)
Everyone who makes a donation will receive an official acknowledgement letter from Harvard with detailed information about their gift for tax purposes.
PLEASE NOTE:  It’s most important to include ATTN: JANE VERRILL on your envelope in order for all the gifts to be directed to the same place.
For those of you who knew Charles I would be most grateful if you could write me a few lines of a special memory you have of him.  These will be placed on a remembrance board when we have our celebration of his life in March.
If you have any questions, please do feel free to either phone or e-mail me.
And yes Virginia, there is a Rainbow Bridge!

All my love sent from a grateful heart!

Thursday, January 4, 2018


With a heart filled with gratitude, thankful for each precious moment with Charles Lee Parker who left us on December 17, 2017.

He was just an adorable boy with a chicken...

Who grew up to be the smartest, wisest, kindest man also always adept in the kitchen with the turkey!

So many wonderful adventures but always great walks in the park with rescued Yuki.  We were all rescued!

This is how I remember Charles, loving and dear, never judging or unkind….. If you have any memories of Charles, we would be so grateful to receive them so we can place them on a ‘Remembrance Board’ we’ll have for the celebration of his precious life. (Date to be announced)

Goodbye my darling Charles and my strong brave mother who taught me to be just that!  Thank you both for gracing my life.

Heartfelt thanks to everyone who knew and loved Charles.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017


This may well be the most important blog I’ve ever written.
Last July, I received notice of 'Beyond the Lines' gallery’s exhibition at Bergamont Station featuring Debbie Korbel, an artist who had studied with me years ago.  May I say that no one else could get me out to Bergamont Station.  Off I went with Nikka and Amy.
‘SILVER’  by Debbie Korbel
Silver by Debbie Korbel
I suppose it’s really unseemly of me to take any credit for awesomely talented, creative Debbie Korbel but why not.  Why not indeed when it was the Brush painting classes years ago in my studio that first started Debbie on her artistic journey.  Here’s some of the proof!
Peony by Debbie Korbel

Debbie Korbel Chinese Magnolia

Koi by Debbie Korbel
Debbie and I have remained somewhat connected through the years and I was so happy to have a chance to see her again.  To say that I was completely staggered, blown away by her work, does not even begin to describe how in awe I am of her creativity and her ability to bring her concepts into three dimensional reality. Experiencing that, I knew just then that I had to write a blog about Debbie and share her gift with as many people as possible.
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How is it even possible to create such a perfect anatomical horse with scraps of flotsam & jetsam, bones from animals, driftwood, odd steel pieces… Debbie Korbel
Here’s ‘Silver’.IMG 3476
And a beauty cast in bronze…..IMG 3480
I knew that a visit to Debbie’s studio was in order because I absolutely needed to see and know more of her process.IMG 7596
Can you even begin to make sense of all this detritus?  Debbie scours construction sites wearing boots and heavy gloves looking for all manner of salvage, organic matter that she sees beauty in and that will be re-purposed into something amazingly wonderful.
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The only recognizable item here is the elks horns, driftwood and some lacy metal thing.IMG 7599
 My memory tells me this is going to be part of a fish….
IMG 7602And this????
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Everything you see here will be used and that beautifully!IMG 4235
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IMG 4223I was right.  This piece is going to be a large fish.  Debbie is holding driftwood and a deer antler.
DK: "Once I started with driftwood I realized I didn’t have to stop there because you’re just looking at shapes and colors."
Debbie Korbel
Debbie can’t help creating and I suspect that’s what an artist is.  She sees things that no one else sees and then brings them into being and the world says ‘why yes….of course'!IMG 4253
The horses are simply amazing.  Take a moment to see all the various materials used to bring this beauty into being...IMG 4297
 Debbie’s faces are absolutely perfect and beyond being lovely…they transport you to another dimension….
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 I have to say this is my favorite piece because of the sensitivity that goes so far beyond the sheer skill in creating it.  The idea of beauty in a wounded warrior….This piece is “DREAMING”.  I’m in awe of Debbie’s anatomical skill and again, the beauty she obtains in each face she molds.
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NR:  "What was the inspiration for this piece?"
DK:  "The impetus for the sculpture was a combination of things.  I wanted to create a figure that was “damaged” yet beautiful and passionate.  Love makes “wounded warriors” of us all.  The figure is that of a man who is separated from his beloved and yearning to hold her close to him again.  I wanted to write poetry that complemented the feeling of the piece.  I think that when we are in love we see everything in life through that lens, even the common nighttime sounds reflect and amplify the emotions we are feeling."
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On the jawbone there is the poem...
''Cicadas in the night
Calling out for love
I search the constellations for your face''
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 Again, using all manner of objects and then combining them to create this ethereal winged creature.
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 Another view…...
Debbie Korbel
 I mentioned Debbie is also an accomplished poet and how beautiful is this seen on the wing of the ‘butterfly'!
                                                                                                                       “ I see your lips moving
                                                                                                                         but I can’t hear a sound
                                                                                                                         I am lost
                                                                                                                         in the cathedral of your
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Time to sit down and ask Debbie some questions:
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NR: “How did your artistic journey begin?
DK: “Your Brush painting class was the genesis. I had no formal art training until I came to you.  Making jewelry caused me to hit my stride and that led to classes in sculpture with various teachers.  I started in clay and then into mixed media.  Deborah Butterfield’s driftwood pieces and mixed media horses were an ‘ah ha moment' for me when I thought ‘I can do this!’  From mixed media I found an electric wood drill and electric screw driver and so it went."
NR: “ Ahhhh…a woman with tools!" …..laughter….”Before you even thought of being an artist, what did you consider yourself."
DK: “I was always creative, making jewelry, writing poetry and children’s stories.  I did a lot of things to express myself. What can’t be taught is creativity, coming up with the concept and having a sense of balance and design."
NR: “Do you remember your first sculpted piece?"
DK: “It was of a great big fat woman with wire in her hair."
NR: “When was that?"
DK: “About seven or eight years ago."
NR: What you do is very complicated, coming from your core, your soul.  When you talk to the public at an exhibit, how much do you have to explain or how much do they grasp of what you do?"
DK: “The question I am most asked is ‘Where do you get your materials’ and ‘How do you come up with all these ideas?'  “For me, ideas are like a river, you just dip your cup into it.  You have to be calm.  Stress is a creativity killer."
NR: “What about the notion regarding Van Gogh, that an artist has to be tortured?"
DK: “Artists can be a little depressive or neurotic…it’s a release."
NR: “Where do you see all this going?"
DK: “I would be content with selling a few pieces and continuing doing what I’m doing."
NR: “From your heart, what would you like to say about your work?"
DK: “I don’t like pretentiousness.  I would like to communicate, be creative, in the zone….It’s like a whisper in your ear.  Of course it’s affirming when someone likes what I do. I always remember a Jeff Koon's quote, “Art is a humanitarian act.  Art should be able to effect mankind, to make the world a better place. The only thing the artist can do is be honest with themselves and make art."
NR: "Debbie I shall never forget this day, your inspiration and the thrill of watching your process."IMG 4352                                                                                       The poem embedded in this work:
                                                                                       "I want to be your mantra
                                                                                         a soft sound on your lips...
                                                                                         a murmuration of love rising
                                                                                         like a cloud of starlings
                                                                                         against a dusky red sky."
Samurai by Debbie Korbel
Reverance by Debbie Korbel
Metamorphosis by Debbie KorbelDebbie’s work may be seen at:
7277 Santa Monica Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA. 90046

7350 Beverly Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA. 90036

47900 CA-1
Big Sur, CA. 93920
May you always follow your heart!


There is no avoiding the pull of the internet, the blogs, the YouTube imaginings. It's as if we're all 'On the Road' with Jack Kerouac each in our own world of meanderings. When we tell someone to 'get a life' it might be a bit difficult when you're dragged into other people's 24/7.

I've come to realize two foundational principals, there are no accidents and everyone has a purpose. More and more I'm desiring everyone to come into a full realization of their purpose as we all find our way on this little jewel of a planet.

For me, as a professional 'Western style artist', I stumbled into Chinese Brush Painting after a trip in 1980 to Monet's home/garden. Seeing all of his collection of Japanese woodblock prints was an ahh haa moment for me and when I returned to the States I started painting in the Chinese manner and never looked back. The first year was extremely painful for me as I felt that I should be able to master the technique since I was a 'trained' artist. Not a chance ... that just gets in your way.

Now, after teaching close to 3,000 students and having my book 'The Ch'i of the Brush' published by Watson Guptill, I can say that every one of my students does better their first day than I did my first year! Why? Because I insist that they leave their critical parent outside and just enjoy the journey, respecting the work that they do. I never let anyone throw anything away because that just ingrains frustration and defeat.

We really only begin to learn when we stop and figure out how to 'save' a painting. It works every time.I am so proud of my students, their receptivity and eagerness to express themselves is a continuing blessing for me.So, back to finding your purpose. Perhaps it starts with realizing 'it's not about me'. It so easy to want our needs met and to filter everything thru this attitude. When we realize that we're here to be of benefit to every life that we touch the universe really provides the ways and means.

The best part is that it's really exciting to not have yourself on your mind all the time!I'm re-reading a wonderful book about authenticity and in my next meandering I'll tell you about it. In the meantime I'd love to hear about your journey and am here to answer any and all questions about Chinese Brush Painting.