Tuesday, March 17, 2009


…because they’re no longer safe!  We’ve discovered the true meaning of ‘Action Painting’ with master calligrapher Shantien ‘Tom’ Chow.

IMG_1434Using the largest brushes we could find the adventure  started by splashing milk onto a large piece of Double Shuen paper and here is Priscilla demonstrating.

TIMG_1430he areas hit by the milk will be more resistant to the Ink and interesting textured areas then appear.

We know that form is established by an aesthetic that was set forth centuries ago expressing objective truth that is universal.  But now we’ve  taken it to hyper -drive.

IMG_1415 Tom with Stacey












Diana in action  IMG_1424 








Beverly, Tom and Diana with ‘Reality’ … what a concept!



Of course mine was ‘Ch’i’…(or ‘Life Force’) but you’re not surprised.


To assist in accomplishing all of this ‘Gone, Gone, Gone’ (Done Moved on) from the Grammy album of the year ‘Raising Sand’ with Robert Plant and Alison Krauss was turned on full blast.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


IMG_4029…it’s the deer.  Charles is taking to calling himself St. Francis and I’m calling him the ‘Indian Scout’ because he sure can spot them on the hillside in front of our home.  We’ve been dubbed the ‘best dining spot on the hill’.  

IMG_4035Imagine, living in the city and having deer, two foxes (sighted on the patio the other evening), raccoons, possums and other assorted wildlife.  It’s just too wonderful!

Of course, this is the start of the Verdugo Mountain range across the street.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

All We Have to Say is …

IMG_4024...'do you want to go to Mommie's?'

 IMG_3989 IMG_3995 The moment we step off the elevator and unleash her, Yuki's in a mad dash to Mom's door while Charles and I pray no neighbor opens theirs!

IMG_4003Why, you're just in time for lunch!

Yuki, you just crack me up!

IMG_4007 Don't just sit there...

IMG_4017 Hey, let's check out the fridge.

IMG_4012 For me?

I'm excited too!!!



...just think about it...isn't that what everyone needs? And nobody arranges one better than Vallerie Foster Hoffman.
The latest hooky (sorry, excursion) was to Palm Desert to see acclaimed watercolorist Gayle Garner Roski's amazing exhibit at the Edenhurst Gallery.

Gayle's devotion to her art thru the years is in ample evidence in the beautiful work on view. Brilliant in color and concept, each captivating piece tells a story of a visit to some far away place bringing the viewer into the mystery and excitement of the journey. Incorporated into each story and mounted in the frames, are objects that are represented in the paintings.

Don't miss it!

Gayle describes the painting 'CERAMIC HANGING BELLS FROM TURKEY'

One of my favorites (surprise!)

'CHINESE DRAGON' (sold of course)

And for lovers of China, Gayle's vivid paintings warmly portray scenes of the forgotten China City in our own Los Angeles in the charming book 'MEI LING in CHINA CITY'.

Lunch at Marrakesh

Artist's all!

And to end a perfect day, what could be more precious than a Bunny!!!

For more information:

Friday, March 6, 2009


...is what I told the 80 some members of the San Fernando Valley Art Club as I began my lecture and demonstration Tuesday evening.

Visual artists, writers, musicians et al have so much beauty and expression to bring forth that they desire to share it with the world.

What a lovely receptive audience, responding so enthusiastically as I tried to cram in all the 'secrets' of Brush painting in the alotted time.

My least favorite activity? Judging the members artwork to reward 1st, 2nd and 3rd place plus Honorable Mention. They were ALL winners to me!

For more information:

Special thanks to Vice President Sharon Weaver who did such a magnificent job of arranging the event and for all the written material placed on the organizations website. Click on Nan Rae photos and description her demonstration to learn more.
Also, click on 'The Paint Rag Newsletter'

Sunday, March 1, 2009


...is how we were identified on the waiting list at Cafe Beaujolais Saturday night. It was a long day, we were tired and wanted a relaxed delicious dinner at one of our favorite Eagle Rock spots where 'everything truly is French, even the attitude'. It's such a casual 'bistro' that we never suspected to be greeted by such a mob scene. After waiting over thirty minutes we were able to sit at the bar and when we were offered complimentary drinks were told how our 'name' was listed... as "The Woman We Know".
Besides the great food, the French waiters in their jeans and black T-shirts, it's fascinating to watch them all operate like one organism...moving with precision and such politeness with one another. Check it out!

For more information:
Cafe Beaujolais
1712 Colorado Blvd.
Eagle Rock. 90041


...must echo in my students dreams. It's so ingrained that I hear them repeating it along with "you can even use it for wrapping paper if you think it's that bad".

I feel so strongly about this principle because I know that every artist 'hits the wall' when a painting is at a certain stage. I have a video of Picasso working and saying, "Oh this is terrible, it's not going well at all." At that point you just want to crumple it up and begin anew but if you continue, thinking how to make it work, you will be learning. So, to have a sense of empowerment as opposed to defeat, we have to accept the challenge of making out painting 'work'.

Sandie Reily did even better than that ... she conceptualized taking the best parts of a painting and bringing them together creating something that became both mystical and magical...a work of art that I could get lost in ... wanting to linger for hours.

On a stretched western watercolor paper, Sandie created an abstract background of soft blended tones and interesting shapes. Then she applied her Tiger Lily blossoms from other paintings upon it having the collage extend past the borders in some areas. I wish my photograph could do the work justice...it's just so grand and glorious!!!

For more information:


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.