Monday, December 29, 2008


...when we were at the home of Rose and Ken Nielsen (President of Woodbury Univ.) for a Christmas brunch for Woodbury supporters.

To digress, amazing Rose is senior director of development for the School of Architecture and she has been the driving force behind its new Julius Shulman Institute cataloging some 70,000 slides!

While in their beautiful backyard, Charles was entranced by the hummingbird's darting to the Nielsen's feeders. Well, we have hummingbirds in our yard and they flit around like mad but somehow this was different. ASAP, CLP went on line and ordered a feeder. Who knew?

By coincidence/serendipity, I sat next to a 'birder' at Hildegard Lindsay's Christmas luncheon and we got to exchanging info. I for one told how delighted I was by the book kept at the front of the 'Boathouse Restaurant' in N.Y.C.'s Central Park where visitors come to record their observations of birds and other Park wildlife in the "Bird Register". Entrancing!

For this information I was traded the fact that you have to wash out the hummingbird feeder at least once a week. When ours arrived, we had a major discussion on how much 'syrup' to make, how long to 'boil' it and my input that hanging a hummingbird feeder means assuming a certain amount of responsibility for the well being of a fragile and trusting creature.

So, here it is, up and not quite full (my suggestion). The hummingbirds are feasting on all of the flowers in our little garden so I suspect they are saving our feeder for reserve.

All this to say we wish 2009 will be filled with ABUNDANT SWEETNESS for you.

For more information: for books on Julius Shulman's oeuvre

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


...will cost you $1,400 more this year but please don't let that stop you from sending out your tokens of love. I was thinking about that this morning ... not about the swans, but about all of us, each in our own way, bustling about buying gifts. It seemed to me that it's easy at this special time to show how much we care about people in our lives and I was wishing that these same feelings could be spread about during the year. Why not greet each day with ... It's Christmas and I love you...silly but could work!

In the meantime, hope you take some time to smell the roses or the ocean for that matter. Nothing says PEACE like a day at the beach.

And, may we remember to share.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


The short of it is that yesterday I had a studio visit from a fellow artist who went to the SAME GRAMMAR SCHOOL! How amazing is that!!!

Victor Fisher is a sculptor of renown and his wife Phyllis creates some amazing silver jewelry. While they live in the Newport area, they had stopped by after a trip to Victor's foundry which is located in Burbank.

Of course, we got to the 'artist talk' and Victor said that in placing a tool into the flame to use on the wax pieces he does not go thru an analytical process but will rely on instinct. If he stops to think about it, the temperature of the tool is incorrect.

Now how amazing is that ... I had to tell the Chinese saying ... "From heart to arm to hand to brush to paper! Paint with your heart and not your head for the most splendiferous results!


Here's art patron Dr. Allan Stark, Nan, Victor and Phyllis

For more information on this talented artist go to:

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


as they say, "at the end of the day" ...

Stacey had accomplished the impossible ... assembling and decorating the Christmas tree in the downstairs entry.

Now before you say, 'bah humbug' permit me to give you a little background on this task. Just getting the tree and all the ornament boxes out is a major task.

The tree (plastic/pre-lighted) is kept in a very big, very heavy box and fitting the pieces together so all the lights work is no small task. Patience is the #1 requirement.
Now for the creative part....who better than Stacey to do a magnificent, artistic job ....flourishes that I could only dream of. She even made beautiful bows from assorted holiday ribbons to fill in the 'empty'(where?) spots.

Since this was her second tree trimming experience after major advice from hubby Joe, she could now be in the...don't try this, I'm a professional class.

All we have to do now is keep Yuki from thinking this is one big doggie toy!

Monday, November 24, 2008


It was most strange, something like burning paper, just in the living room. Did I burn some pre-Thanksgiving dish? We searched and searched ... nothing but this strong smell of burning paper. O.K., call the fire department!

The sirens were coming closer, would the massive engines make it up the hill, would they be able to park, would they discover the source of our anxiety? We were told to get everyone out of the house ... at the time the nose count was seven for lunch plus one 95 pound fluff named Yuki! Charles grabbed the dog, I grabbed the guests and out we went.

What heros our firemen are. Have you seen up close all the garb they have to wear? And the hatchets, the odds and ends they have strapped to their belts ... don't forget the handy portable fire extinguisher.
I couldn't miss anything so back into the house I went, followed by everyone including the dog and round and round we all paced, sniffing. Even Yuki was sniffing!

Nothing ... out came the strange device with which they can point to ANYTHING to see if it registers HEAT! ... NOTHING.

Up to the studio they trudged ... nothing. Downstairs ... nothing. O.K. we're all relieved but as they were exiting, one very, very smart fireman lifted a cocktail napkin off a glass table next to the window...waved it about and said, "I always carry one of these about when we can't find anything." We all laughed and sighed with relief...the napkin had been burned on one side!

How could this be? Well, for all you Boy Scouts out there, when you're in the wilderness you know how to start a campfire. Two sticks rubbed together or by pointing the sunbeam through a glass sphere into something flammable. Who knew?

Sunday, November 23, 2008


I know, I know, we grumble about seeing Christmas decorations going up BEFORE Thanksgiving but honestly, I HAD TO DO IT!

Thanks to Stacey Rosenbaum (who got her tree trimming advice from hubby Joe) the tree was up in the studio with all the toys scattered about in time for Saturday's class.
So, with Christmas CD's joyfully playing everyone was caught up in the festive atmosphere and inspired to create their holiday cards!

Charles now has his assignment...scanning the wonderful images which will delight all recipients.
Ho, Ho, Ho!


Thursday, November 13, 2008


Besides being a joyously loving, caring person, Carol O'Toole is a gifted fine artist so when the invitation to see her work at the SGFAA Gallery opening reception arrived we marked the date in red! The members of the San Gabriel Fine Arts Association were exhibiting their paintings of the San Gabriel Mission and I was thrilled to see that all of Carol's lovely paintings had red sold stickers. No surprise there.

Here I am with the 'Sold Out' artist.

Carol O'Toole, Alfred Tse her teacher and you know who. Guess who's the Chinese Brush Painter!

It was a delightful surprise to see lovely Alison Slattery, also one of the Pasadena Jr. Phil's, which brought back many wonderful memories.

For more information:


We asked Alfred Tse for a restaurant recommendation and he suggested 'Mission 261' on South Mission Drive. It's right across the street from the wonderful San Gabriel Mission.

Along with the Mission, the historic building housing the restaurant is worth a trip to San Gabriel. Besides, it's a charming little 'arty' community. Walking in, past the arcade of amazing Bouganville, probably as old as the Mission, we entered to find a wedding party in full swing. For those of you who were on our amazing trip to China, you'll appreciate hearing about the huge framed photograph of the bride and groom (on an easel) that greeted us along side the very same happy couple.
We were wisked away to an inner courtyard where we quickly discoved that amongst the 800 or so people (three wedding parties) we were THE ONLY NON CHINESE. Everyone looked at us as if we had taken the wrong turn on the road somewhere.
It's worth a trip to '261' to see the grapevine in the center of the open air patio where we were seated all by our lonely selves. Planted over a hundred years ago, it's probably 30 feet high and had clusters of beautiful purple grapes. Heavenly!!!

Ordering was again just like being in China and the menu was certainly not Panda Inn variety. I was salivating for Peking Duck and Charles being the kind hearted gentleman that he is went along. Soup is always a big winner with me and here we encountered our first problem as Charles understood it to come in two small bowls which would have been perfect. The Olympic sized bowl that arrived had us shall I say, overwhelmed? Ordering vegetables is not an easy matter. Again, no mixed veggies as at the Panda, no, you get one pick and again Charles wanted brocolli. The waiter seeing a Chinese 'Gringo' informed us that it was 'Chinese' brocolli. "Fine" says C.P. When it arrived we thought it was all the C. Broccoli in San Gabriel!
Now I have to tell you that I LOVED the Peking Duck. Poor C.P. was not so inclined even with all my encouraging to "here, you must try the's wonderful". Well, let's remember that duck's are fatty little creatures and that was just too much for Charles as he declared the whole meal to be "perfectly awful!" (Up all night to prove it.) Remember, he subsisted on rice only throughout China!
Well, we (I) did our best. Considering that there was enough food for eight people (the duck even had four that's some duck!) there was quite a bit remaining. We were given the check and NO FORTUNE COOKIES. Don't be surprised. Did you ever see one in China?
For more information:

Sunday, November 9, 2008


Scotty, do not beam me up. I have been transported and think perhaps I'll stay a while.

Where have I been for so long? Certainly not in Silver Lake for it is a magical kingdom. To quote Wikipedia, "There's a bohemian vibe and neighborhood feel with an eclectic gathering of hipsters and the creative class." Robert D. Putnam, author of "Bowling Alone," which is about the loss of community in American life, has most certainly not been to Silver Lake. This little enclave contains some of the most famous modern architecture in the United States, a Schindler house, Richard Neutra's galore and many more.

When Molly Siple invited me to lunch at her Silver Lake home I was totally unprepared for what would greet me. In this charming old neighborhood of winding streets & amazing residences you get a sense of community that perhaps is found only in Europe.

Entering Molly's front door I glimpsed 'It' floating before me. There it was, Silver Lake, dotted by a flock of white seagulls & what I was told is a Snowy Egret who now owns the place.

Stepping onto Molly's deck I thought, "Is this a Mediterranean villa I've entered?"

You can see Molly in front of her amazing vista with 'Ginger'...lucky cat. (Winston too, who is also a precious rescue.)

Allow me to rhapsodize about lunch but first I should tell you that Molly is an award winning author of too many books to list. O.K., a couple...'Eating for Recovery', 'Healing Foods for Dummies', Low Cholesterol Cookbook for Dummies', 'Recipes for Change', 'Delicious Way to Better Health' and on and on. It's like being invited over to Julia Child's (and did I mention Molly is the recipient of a J.C. award?) So, here is this best selling nutritionist and best selling author making ME lunch! Oh heavenly repast.

Here's Molly in the 'test' kitchen Victor built for her (#1 kitchen is upstairs) and here is the fantastic retro-fitted stove. Love it!

I was served 'Bouibaisse' and what better to have on a Mediterranean villa. A beautiful salad, French bread and delicious marinated olives that I'll tell you about in my next posting.

Because we both adore New York there was N.Y. cheesecake for desert with grand coffee.

Here's my gracious hostess serving our salad.

Oh, as if all this isn't enough, Molly is an accomplished artist, member of the California Art Club and a regular contributor to their newsletter as well as American Artists, Southwest Art and many more.

Driving home, past Silver Lake there were dog walkers galore...a perfect sight to end a perfect day.
For more information about Molly: and also Google Molly Siple
And, be sure to Google Silver Lake architecture


After my most excellent adventure, Molly Siple sent me to 'Mario's Italian Deli', in Glendale on Broadway, to get the most amazing marinated olives. I had devoured them at lunch and needed a fix right away!

We both love visiting the open air markets in other countries and the special 'gourmet' shops around the world. Molly promised that stepping into Mario's would do the trick...and it did. The cheeses, the meats, oh I swooned. Containing myself, I just got the yummy green marinated olives, some mild sopressata and two pints of Gelatto (chocolate of course and strawberry). All's right with the world.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Institute for Philosophy & the Arts'-Salon on the Spiritually Creative Life

Some twelve years ago, Carol Soucek King had a dream of creating an 'interdisciplinary forum to inspire by showing the interconnectedness of all life'. The salon on "The Spiritually Creative Life" was thus born and has been held monthly at the extraordinary home she shares with husband Richard King. It has been my great joy and privilege to speak at two of these sessions.

In October, Qingyun Ma, Dean of the School of Architecture at the University of Southern California, was the inspiring speaker who shared his vision for a contemporary architecture based on four principles:
1. If architecture is a form of knowledge for which ideas are the essential purpose, then architecture is more about ideas than materials.
2. Human beings are identified and unified by the ideas they have; as human beings develop and evolve, so do ideas. The quality of ideas is in the advancement of human consciousness and interaction.
3. The idea has to be beautiful because beautiful things urge people to look toward the future with optimism and romanticism.
4. Beautiful things make us want to share and therefore to give to others. Therein lies the essence of architecture, a beautiful architecture.

After Dean Ma's inspiring and inciteful talk, there was a lively question and answer period sparked most dramatically by the amazing Julius Schulman. What can I say about the most iconic architectural photographer of the 20th century...most famously the Pierre Koenig Case Study House #22. He's a visionary photographer of the work of the greatest architects including Richard Neutra and John Lautner. To make the event even more delightful, there was a delicious birthday cake for Julius' 98th birthday!!!
Our beautiful, loving hostess Carol Soucek King, Dean Ma, Richard King and Rosanne Sachson celebrate Julius Schulman's 98th birthday!

Valerie Hoffman gives a big birthday hug to Julius. When the saying, 'if you want to get something done, give it to a busy person' was thought of, I'm sure someone just like Valerie was the templet. She is awesome and I've yet to find anything she cannot do and that perfectly.

For more about the 'Salon' go to
and be sure to Google Carol's biography to learn more about her amazing books on home design. They truly are the best and cover every aspect...I have been a fan since 'Empowered Spaces' and treasure my extraordinary collection of the books that have followed. They are truly 'art' books extrordinaire!

Also, be sure to google Julius Schulman to learn more about this national treasure.

Monday, October 13, 2008


It's not often one get's the privilege of being with a true living legend. On Saturday, after class, Charles and I went to a benefit at the beautiful Villa di Fontani for 'Brushstrokes in Hollywood', a feature documentary film about Tyrus Wong. For some of you that name is certainly familiar as several class members went to Tyrus' exhibit at the Chinese American Museum (within the El Pueblo Plaza in downtown L.A.) a couple of years ago.
Tyrus did the concept art for the animated feature Bambi which earned him a 2001 Disney Legend Award and his Chinese Brush paintings take your breath away.

The cutest thing he does in fly his handmade kites...swallows, butterflies, panda bears, centipedes and more on the Santa Monica beach. At 98 Tyrus is without equal and an inspiration to everyone.

You'll be delighted to hear that Tyrus is Lisa See's uncle. If you are the one in a million who hasn't read any of her amazing books check out 'Peony in Love' as well as 'Snow Flower and the Secret Fan'. For the best history of Chinese Americans in California, 'On Gold Mountain' will totally captivate you and for a really great mystery read 'Dragon Bones'.

For more information about Tyrus Wong go to
For more information about Lisa See go to

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


I thought today that if we learned any more, we could possibly all explode with joy. We started off with Tom's presenting our three artists with their completed scrolls. Beautiful Beverly had an advance peek at my blog but it was even more exciting to actually see her scroll up close and personal. Tom explained that the material used at the top of the scroll represents Heaven and covers a larger area, while the bottom material represents earth and of course is smaller.

We then heard about Confucianism is a moral code of conduct which teaches individuals a set of proper behavior within the family in particular and society in general. Also, Taoism, being connected to nature and learning how to live in harmony. Interestingly, it also deals with fantasy and dreams. The Tao is 'the path is the Way'...the the world runs. So, the 'process' is as important as the end result.

Today's calligraphy was 'THE GREAT PATH HAS NO DOOR'. The symbols we used to create this were: 1. great or large, 2. path or way, 3. without or nothing and finally, 4. door.

It's important to remember that the void is as important as the calligraphy and the spacing should be spontaneous and done by intuition....always remembering that you can't have freedom without a framework of discipline.

On to Calligraphy and the beauty of it being that you can't control it (especially when you use a Soft brush). You're one with the brush and never do the same thing twice.

Tom explained the artistry involved in seal carving.

Showing us (Denise and Donald here) how our work can be improved and giving us a grand A+ when we nail it. It's so helpful as Tom uses Red Ink over our Black.


Our Master Calligraphy teacher, Shantien 'Tom' Chow recommended a new translation of Lao Tzu's 'Tao Te Ching'. He said, "This is one of the latest, and possibly one of the best translations, originally credited to Lao Tzu's teachings, with commentary. Interesting reading and with beautiful photographs."
Tao Te Ching a New Translation and Commentary
by Ralph Alan Dale
published by Barnes and Noble Publishing

Well, I immediately went on line to and discovered they were out of stock. What to do? Dear Judith Nelson who is as much of a bookafile as I am (if not more) sent me to Barnes and Nobles website which, if I stopped to think a bit, I would have noticed that they are the publishers. A big duh there! Eureka ... book ordered and the harmony of Heaven and earth is restored.


Yes, it's true. On Monday we took Amtrak to San Juan Capistrano to lunch with out dear friends, Maj. Gen. Ray Cole and his lovely wife Gwen. Charles had asked me how I met the Cole's and I said,

"hmmmmm, I was flying back from Paris stopping to see Mom in Chicago and the Coles just finished their adventure in Africa and were stopping in Chicago to see one of their children. "
Isn't that grand? A friendship forged in the isles of American Airlines that has just gotten more dear thru the years.

I know you're wondering, and the answer is no, we didn't see any swallows as they fly to the Mission in March.


We were delighted to hear that Charles Jr. was flying in from Houston for an 'Investment Seminar'. The bonus round was that we'd take a day off just like that!

Since Charles was staying in Santa Monica, we went to 'Anisette' a new French brasserie that is so delightful. I think you could order anything and it would be dreamy. They have a wonderful Zinc bar that has been imported from France and it was just like being in Paris. Heaven!!!

Next, after being fortified with more fat than I consume in a year, it was off to the Getty for the Bernini exhibit which my dear Charles had been wanting to see.

Do I feel hunger pangs? Well then, it's time to drive to Venice and eat at Joe's which is definitely not of the 'Six Pack Joe's' variety. If you don't mind taking out a small loan, it's one of the best places to eat in L.A.

We came home tired but very happy and terribly stuffed.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Last month, three people in the Calligraphy class gave their dynamic calligraphy to Shantien 'Tom' Chow, our Master Teacher, to have their work mounted onto Chinese scrolls. Saturday's class was priviledged to see the results which are staggering. Tom said that he would hold up any of the pieces to work done by long time students of the art and I would have to agree.
  • First we see Denise's elegant work which roughly translates to "The moon lights the path of the birds".

Next, Melanie's calligraphy which conveys the strength in the word "Roots".

Finally, Beverly Hynds work which is filled with Ch'i. Tom explained to us that you capture in a moment the essence of your being. It's akin to 'Splash Ink' Chinese Brush painting where the spirit evoked is more important than a literal likeness of an object. In other words, the depiction of a flower does not have to be botanically correct in order to have great Ch'i!
Beverly's caligraphy (last pic) can mean 'Spirit' as in religion or 'Spirit' as in a human quality.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

When Synergy happens......

It's amazing, our master teacher, Shantien 'Tom' Chow demonstrated for us that a powerful energy is created when two people combine and together they create a powerful work of calligraphy. This 'Synergy' happens when Tom holds your hand and guides you through the strokes. It's so exciting and truly powerful. I'm showing you just a couple of examples but I suspect you understand. Here's Tom adding the final touch........Melanie's personal signature seal to their combined effort.

Now Denise created this wonderful artwork all on her own....a masterful work if I've ever seen one!!!
And Beverly Hynds (at right) too!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


"Not me" says the persistent little bird, determined to peck his way thru our glass window. Every morning and afternoon this little thing comes by and peck, peck, pecks away to no avail. We began to worry that he'd peck his little bird brains out so Charles had the brilliant idea of putting a picture of Mr. Scary Cat on the window.

It worked for almost 24 hours!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Cookie Toll Bridge

Yuki, our 95 pound Japanese Akita has, after all these years, figured out how to extract 'cookies' from visitors. (She already has us nailed.)

Here's the routine; when you come to the door, she will bark at you like crazy, follow you in and actually 'lead' you to the cookie jar, barking all the way. Once you're in the proper position you'll get slightly mauled as she continues to bark until the desired end is accomplished. You can see why she's now called THE COOKIE TOLL BRIDGE.

In deference to all who enter in, we're trying to break her of this and give instructions to all ... ignore her and in no case give her a cookie.
The other day, sweet, kind and most gentle Lynne Sims came by to pick up her new best, Best Brush. At the door and in her hands was the cookie of all cookies, TWO GREENIES! Where is the camera when you desperately need it? Yuki gave Lynne her very best sit (actually what we call her best beg) and PATIENTLY, GENTLY waited for Lynne to dispense the treats. I couldn't believe it ... it was as if Yuki had just returned from The Dog Whisperer's training camp. A sense of Cesar Millan was in the Air!

What did I learn? That dogs indeed are the best judge of people and know a gentle soul when they encounter one. May we all be so sensitive.

Friday, July 25, 2008

WHEN I GROW UP............

I want to be a Lion Dancer! WOW, what a party they bring. Saturday night we had a reunion for the China adventurers and although it's not even been two months, one would think we hadn't seen each other for a year. It was marvelous, what a harmonious group and what a flow of love and good will.

Suffice it to say there was enough food to feed the Olympic team......(Chinese of course) ....perhaps we over estimated a wee bit but that's a good thing. Ellie and John Lynn provided tons of the very best Chinese beer (of course) and we were all happy as can be. I was a bit concerned that everyone be finished by 7:30 as that was when the SURPRISE was planned to arrive Right on the dot, there was a bumbulating on the driveway, with Sifu Thompson Chen, Chinese Martial Arts Master announcing the arrival of his Lion dance team on his gigantic copper drum. Wife Christene accompanied on the cymbals! Well, all I can say is that it was fantabulous and all 3o viewers were enchanted. After their enchanting performance on the driveway (good thing it's large) the troup went into the house and we had a photo op for all. If you want the show of all shows to delight one and all, contact Thompson at (626.399.4764). You will not be disappointed, I promise.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Better and Better

Well, the second Wednesday of the month Calligraphy class met for the first time and as with the Saturday class, everyone was enthralled and did wonderfully. This is opening up a whole new world and we are all thrilled. If you've never watched a Calligraphy master do his thing you are in for an amazing experience. Be prepared to have your breath taken away!

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Amazing World of Chinese Calligraphy

There is no doubt, judging by their Calligraphy, that the Chinese are brilliant! The images are so complex and really are word pictures. The simplest way to describe it is to say that the written language is created by mental pictures rather than definitions of words.

For example, the 'word' for landscape is made by combining the images for mountain and water. If you wish to write 'love' you would combine/connect the words for mother and child. The writing, even the very expressive running or grass style, all stem from ancient pictogram's or ideograms where a graphic 'symbol' would represent an object or idea. Through the years the symbols became more and more abstracted.

On Saturday, we had our first class with Master Calligrapher Shantien 'Tom' Chow and we were all enthralled. It was pure joy just to watch him as each class member would call out a word for him to write so they could practice copying it. This Wednesday a second group of students will have the privilege of learning this ancient skill.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Dynamic, Expresive Chinese Calligraphy

We love to paint, it's empowering and joyful but where did Chinese Brush painting come from? Why Calligraphy? Considered to be an art form of the highest order in the East! In fact, two of the subjects, Bamboo and the Chinese Orchid were the first painted subjects and began what we now understand as one of the most expressive art forms, Chinese Brush painting

So many students have expressed a desire to learn Calligraphy to enhance their artwork and deepen their understanding of Brush painting that I have determined to find the best possible teacher for us. He has been found ... Master Calligrapher and teacher Shantien 'Tom' Chow. We met this week and had a marvelous time discussing the various styles of calligraphy and the importance of introducing them to the Western art world.

Shantien has kindly agreed to teach two series of classes in my studio. The classes will be held once a month and there will be a 'first Saturday' series of six classes beginning on July 5th and a 'second Wednesday' series starting July 9th. To learn more about this and to register, click here Be sure to scroll on past the order box to see the wonderful examples.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

I'm in the Mood for MOOD SEALS

What is more addicting for a Chinese Brush painter than the collecting of Mood Seals. The wonderful shapes that enhance your work, the captivating sayings carved so skillfully into the stones. I've lost count on how many I now have but my lust is somewhat satiated by the joy of picking them out for others to own and enjoy. If you go to my website you'll see a myriad of new seals that Charles not only photographed splendidly but placed perfectly on the site. ENJOY!

A Caring Heart

My most precious memory of China is of our sweet Ellie Lynn ministering to my poor feet. After hobbling thru the Forbidden City and then the trudge to Tiananmen Square, they were beyond any capacity for carrying me further. Ellie did her best to talk me thru the long march saying things such as, "It's so much better to have someone to talk to as you walk" and "just take it a step at a time." March on I did but Ellie perceptively said, "you better come to our room tonight........I have MOLESKIN." The hours ticked by as I waited for Ellie and John to return from the Chinese Opera. Finally, they were back and I staggered to their room. Suffice it to say I have never experienced such an act of gentle, loving kindness which I will never forget. A line from Anne Lamott's exquisite book 'Traveling Mercies' comes to mind......."I let them work on me, and after a little while I thought of the sacredness of animals grooming each other. I felt the connection and the tenderness, the reciprocal healing offered by the laying on of hands."


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.