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?

No comments:


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.