Thursday, May 1, 2008


Thank you one and all for your e-mails in response to the blog. They are REALLY APPRECIATED!

Firstly, to Eileen, here's a note from Judith:
Dear Eileen;Not sure if we can get back to you because servers are occasionally blocked-but, thank you for e-mailing.
Please tell Rosalind Happy Birthday.
Miss Judith

We have taken so many pictures that I overlooked the one from LAX before our departure and here it is. Next we see the weary travelers checking into our hotel upon arriving at Shanghai.
This country has thrust itself into the 21st century so rapidly that it's truly staggering. You see the juxtapositioning of the new (and so much of it) alongside old China. Vendors with poles on their shoulders, bearing mostly fruit for sale, cyclists with huge loads of whatever and bycycle's everywhere.

There are also motorized bikes galore as well as motorcycles and all fearless in traffic with nary an accident. Everwhere you look you see the bikes coming at you and you best get out of the way. No one seems to stop for anything except traffic lights. It's quite a sight to see a young man on his bike with his lady friend riding side saddle behind. Many times you see father, mother & baby (or child) on one bike! Better yet, young girls wearing high heels and biking along.

WHAT WE DID TODAY IN SUZHOU (2 hrs.away from Shanghai by coach...

Breakfast today was the best (remember I told you yesterday how great our hotel is). We even had our laundry done overnight and it came back so beautiful I told Charles we should ship all our laundry here! Fortified we were off to 'The Master of the Nets Garden'. This is a much smaller garden that belonged to a most fortunate individual. You get a true sense of the 'Literati' lifestyle here. Serene and elegant, the age of the buildings transport you back to the days of contemplation and connection with the life that surrounds us.

Even though it was MAY DAY/LABOR DAY and the garden was more crowded, you still had a sense of being in another time and place. Once outside, we passed through the gauntlet that I call one of China's 'Olivera Steets'... narrow and packed with vendors who, although willing to take you money for the stated price, would come down drastically if you bargained well and hard. It was actually quite entertaining to say 'no, no, too much' and walk away as they chased you to come back for a better price.

Lunch was the best so far and a tour through the Silk Embroidery Museum had us all totally amazed. We saw young women doing the painstaking embroidery and then shopping in the breathtaking showroom.
Dinner was the best and we were serenaded by two beautiful young women from the Suzhou Opera!


Crazy Uncle Joe said...

This post was The Best™! I am so excited to read along with the tour - and love the picture!

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful trip! Thanks so much for posting your comments and the photos. The gardens look spectacular. I think I'm jealous! Judith, looks like you're loving the painting. Stacey, don't know how you manage to look so gorgeous all the time! Nan, you look immersed! ...and very happy! I'm so glad for all of you. Please continue to keep us all posted.
Much love,
Cathy Colloff

Lisa said...

Glorious! It's sooooo cool to see the photos. I love the pink hat, Nan! Hugs to you and Charles, Michael and Elza! -Lisa

Anonymous said...

Hi Everyone... I have never Blogged so I hope you get this. It looks like you are having a wonderful time. I am with you in spirit and can't wait to hear more about this trip when you return home safely



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.