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

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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.