Wednesday, March 14, 2018


The Broad Museum in downtown Los Angles has perhaps the most extensive exhibition of Jasper John's oeuvre that we will ever see.  Be prepared for an exhausting tax on your intellect as this is not something to stroll through blithely.
Be forewarned, although the museum is free, you will need to get a ticket ahead of time.  Even though this was a week day there were droves of people waiting in line to get in.  Actually there are two lines, one for those with tickets and a second for the poor souls who didn't think ahead.  And all these people happy to be here on one of the rainiest days in Southern California!
I'm going to show you some of the information about Johns but I highly recommend if you go to the show that you get a headset as it will be impossible to comprehend everything without one.
Flag 1958
While a flag is 'something the mind already knows' we have to keep in our minds the thought that this was a new, provocative artistic vocabulary in the '50's.  John's dreamt he painted a flag...and then the next day...he painted one!
Along with the 'flag paintings' the 'Target' series are among John's seminal works.
Target With Four Faces 1956

Target 1961

This work, cast in bronze, shows a Savarin coffee can containing paintbrushes.

The 'Infinity Mirrored Room' really disoriented me and I only stayed for a moment.
'OTIUM', an open kitchen, contemporary restaurant next to The Broad is one of my happy places! A 'foodie paradise'!!
Does anyone else just get high seeing things like this?
This red French Beret was so cute I had to take a photo!
I always love driving past Frank Gehry's magnificent structure, Walt Disney concert Hall!
Stretching past my understanding, walking through the door of unknowing may feel uncomfortable but always brings great joy!

Tuesday, March 6, 2018


I look forward to doing a blog solely devoted to Christopher Slatoff who is not only a brilliant sculptor but a true universal man. Nikka and I plan on going to Christopher's studio when our schedules converge but in the meantime I wanted to introduce you to him. Slatoff's formal education included a year in France at the Ecole des Beaux Arts and the Faculte d'Letres of the Universite d'Aix- Marseilles.

Sunday is my day of rest, rest that is if I can get through the New York Times!  Charles used to kid me that I told someone I didn't read the L.A. Times (just the N.Y. Times).  I guess that could sound elitist. Oh well, truth is we both read it.

Back to Sunday. There was a special presentation hosted by the California Art Club at the University Club of Pasadena.  'INSIDE THE ATELIER: CHRISTOPHER SLATOFF, a Conversation With CHUCK KOVACIE'. By the way, Chuck is a brilliant interviewer!
You can see from this slide that Christopher never does anything small!

Fuller Seminary is right across the street from the University Club so afterwards everyone walked the short block to see Christopher's moving devotional, liturgical sculpture piece.  It is way to deep and moving to go into detail here so I just suggest you see it for yourself.
Note to self:  Take time to think of 'otherworldly' things.

Cutie Patricia is third from the left.  We had originally planned one of our marathon days at Bistro Gardens for 8 hours of 'girlie' talk but this interview came up instead.
It was time for lunch and where better than The Langham for lunch poolside.

Inspired, I was seeing art in everything......

After a couple of hours it got rather cool so off we went to the bar area and a nice cozy spot by the fireplace.
Was that when I realized my ring was missing?

Note to self: When people tell you things.  PAY ATTENTION. 

Valerie had cautioned me weeks ago about not taking my rings off when I wash my hands.  Of course I didn't listen and did exactly that at the University Club.  Some people learn the hard way.  Just saying.  It was still a joyful day and we nearly beat our record of 8 hours!.

Awesome Carol Soucek King asked me to go with her to watch a Master Class with the amazing Susan Graham, featuring members of the L.A. Opera's Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.  It was fun to be in the Founder's Room seeing it filled with only chairs and not tables to relax and feast.
I was fascinated watching Susan coach the young opera 'stars' and it reminded me how they will continue receiving daily coaching during their entire lives.

Note to self: Study, study, study and learn, learn, learn.  Always expanding to make room for joy.

Of course it's always nice when there's food too!
I got this book for Maggie as she is the only person I know who would/could appreciate it.  Bingo...I was right!

Note to self:  Read things outside of your wheelhouse from time to time.  You might find new worlds opening up to you.

You're probably wondering when I'll get back to lunches & dinners.  Well, one I never want to miss is with Farnaz, my doctor/inventor friend who always inspires me.
Another source of continual inspiration is my precious friend Lisa Di Vita, A.K.A. Lisa Bowman, author of 'THE SHATTERED PEACOCK'.  (You'll remember I did a blog about the fantastic book signing in the studio not that long ago.)
Lisa was giving a talk about her book at Carol's Salon on 'The Spiritually Creative Life' and so went another Sunday.
It's always such a diverse group of 50 or more interesting people at Carol's.

Note to self:  Don't just hang out with people who share your expertise/interests.

If you want to know the secret of what brings me the most's my students who never fail to make my heart sing!
The class at the Huntington is so much fun it's a miracle we get any work done.
Here's cutie Lulu who is so creative and always knocking me out with what she does.  This jacket she painted is a good example of that.
And of course each and every student in the studio class is dearer to me than words can say.
I'll close out this blog with the reminder to myself....Don't forget to dance.  Especially to Bruno Mars
'Uptown Funk'!

Tuesday, February 27, 2018


Well maybe not stormy but freezing cold for CA and pitch black when Kita whined for me to take her out.  Trying to be joyful (ha) I bundled up in a down vest and piled on a down jacket on top of that. Armed with a flashlight, we walked out into the dark night.
All was well, a little business was done and then as we headed back home, Kita decided to go no further and as I pulled on her leash ….. you know the rest.  She managed to slip out of her collar as I had mistakenly fastened the leash to the collar and not to her halter.

Lesson #1. It’s important to ALWAYS be mindful.

In a flash that rascal had totally disappeared from sight.  I immediately went into panic mode thinking oh no, first mom, then Charles and now….

Lesson #2. Don’t project scenario's.

I walked down the hill about a block then back to the house to get a high value treat.  Also, I backed my car out of the garage leaving the motor running, the door open in the hope of her thinking she could go for a ride.  Off I went.  Car running, garage/house open, front door open...
Lesson#3. Eeee gads, don't forget your common sense.

Meantime I had phoned Nikka to drive back and help in the search and also Trudy, my wonderful neighbor who takes puppy to the park every morning.

Lesson #4.  Take a deep breath and decide if it's really necessary to call in the troops.

This time I decided to walk up the hill.

Lesson #5.  Make Sure you're headed in the right direction.

As I rounded the crest of the hill I saw a bunch of people standing in the middle of the road.  'Hey' shouted I, 'Have you seen my dog?'  'She's with us' came the reply.  Well of course, I should have known, my dog would go home with anyone and she especially loves to try and torment Tulip, my next door neighbor's rescued pit bull.

Lesson #6. The answer is usually right in front of us.

So, gushing profusely with gratitude and so relieved I approached Kita to fasten the leash onto her collar.  Well, she immediately bolted to the driveway of the other neighbors as three of them were willing victims of her charm.  Somehow, using that treat, we got her to be still long enough to fasten her and all was well just as Nikka and Trudy drove up! Neighbor Steven kindly walked me home and all was well.

Lesson #7.  Try not to get a dog that's smarter than you are.  My 200 lb. plus Saint Bernard Boswell would never even think of budging from his comfy spot on the cool floor.  He thought his only job was to drool and eat bananas!

For me, the biggest lesson came the next morning when I realized that the whole incident was one big metaphor for life.  We are loved and cared for more than we could ever imagine and everything we will ever need is waiting for us.  When we forget this we go running off to sniff every tree and blade of grass thinking to find fresh adventure unaware of the danger that could possibly lie before us.

Safe and sound, here's Kita, trying to get at Tulip yet again.

Kita's name has been changed to "No No Bad Dog'.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

LIVING JOYFULLY not always easy but as I begin a new year I like to remember the things that bring me joy.

How about throwing a great party?  Maggie, an awesome hostess, had a shabu-shabu dinner that was the most fun.  Everyone gets to cook their own meal and after  awhile, cook for others at the table.  It turns into great fun!

Always enjoy your friends...

Let your friends do things for you.  Precious Amy made me soup!

Lulu sent me beautiful flowers from Le Jardin Privé.....Thank you dear girl!
As did Rex, our 'Man About Town'.....
Clean your space. (Thank you so much Connor for your massive help)
Soooooo much stuff for 'Helping Hands for the Blind'.
See some art.
Share a meal.
Watch Sumo wrestling!
Give or listen to a talk or lecture.
Share your work. Teaching brings me great joy.
(I'm so proud of Laurie Pie)
Learn new skills. (Everyone loves Shantien 'Tom' Chow's Master Calligraphy class in the studio.)

Love deeply.

See the ocean.
Be a 'high brow' now and then.
Share fun, learning experiences.  The cooking classes at Pirch are great even if you've cooked forever!
Remember to give thanks for our bounty and the hands that worked so hard to bring it to us.
Read a good book that stretches your mind.
Remember places of love.
Eat lots of sushi!
Play with friends.
Try to eat healthy even when rushed.
Don't forget to have treats!
Collect something...anything.
Get and give lots of hugs!

Honor relationships.
Remember to give.  I love 'Heifer International.'
SEE the sky.
Don't worry.

Remember to smile.
And for Pete's sake...get a dog!

May you always live joyfully!


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.