Monday, February 16, 2009

WHAT A LOVELY INVITATION... be the guest of awesome Valerie Foster Hoffman for a private tour of 'Masters of the American West' at the Autry led by Curator Amy Scott. Dinner followed at the California Club and was a lovely chance to discuss the art.

I hadn't been to the Autry since the opening reception of 'On Gold Mountain: a Chinese American Experience' based on the fascinating book by Lisa See. Lisa and her cousin Leslee See Leong were the guest curators. (Leslee's father, Gilbert Leong, architect and artist, was a founder of the East West bank and an encouraging patron and dear friend. I just ran across a note from him where he happily said 'I had gotten it just right!')

You'll want to know about two of the artists who exhibited in the show. Gayle Garner Roski and Peter Adams.

In the years that I've known Gayle my admiration for her dedication to her work has never wavered. Looking at the body of her work as well as the four paintings exhibited, her color, design & theme concepts are always new, exciting and original, developed within the framework of her exacting technique.

As for Peter, well, let's just call him the 'Modern Master of Light'. I first met Peter when he studied at the Lukits Academy of Fine Arts as I did for a short time in the 70's. I discovered Brush painting and Peter went on to become Mr. Lutkits Personal Apprentice & #1 student! Then as always, Peter remains the consummate gentleman and it's always a joy to see him and Elaine, his beautiful wife.

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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.