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.

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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.