Wednesday, February 4, 2009


...everyone will be home with chips and dips."

Well, that's what I thought and told Stacey that as soon as she set up everything she could just go play and come back at 5:30.

Perhaps I should start at the beginning. I was asked to do a 'Trunk Show' for the Huntington's 'Chinese New Year Family Festival'. Since it's been at least 14 years since I've done one and knowing how hard it is, it would only have been possible with Stacey's magnificent help.
When we arrived I was shocked to see a literal sea of people stretched across the pathway to the entrance and beyond. By 10:30 the parking lot was filled to capacity.
Quickly we were set up and then, non stop, people came over and we had our hands full. Dear Jeanette Ong happened by, surprised to see me, and came into my area with her two precious children, Juliane and Ryan. Can you imagine...they started working. Jeanette noticed I didn't have prices on the paper weights and got stickies for that and even the children were inlisted. Awesome!
Later on Tomiko Varga, my precious friend came by and she went to work as well! Between all of us we wrote 92 sales slips! Stacey will probably never let me live it down that I said she could take the day off.
We got back to the house around 6:30 and after getting everything up to the studio Stacey went home, Tomiko came by, picked me up and we went to Wokano for lots of raw fish and green tea. The only answer to a long, long but wonderful day.

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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.