Sunday, April 26, 2009


…is a small but mighty group of artists.  Dulcie Adams, the groups vice president ‘signed me up’ when I did a presentation for the San Fernando Valley Art Assoc.


It was a delight demonstrating Chinese Brush painting for them and discussing many of the concerns (and there are many) of ‘emerging’ artists.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


a film that distinguished filmmaker Philip Hass was to shoot in London.  The subject was the painting of Arhat’s ‘Taming the Dragon’ an early 14th century silk painting in the museum’s permanent collection that was done in the meticulous ‘Gong-bi or Palace/Court style.  The first in the series of these five film’s, Haas’s response to Annibale Carracci’s ‘The Butcher’s Shop (early 1580), has already been shown to acclaim at the 2008 Venice and Toronto film festivals.

The director needed to know whether Arhat would be standing or sitting and the materials that would have been used.

From viewing my studio they were able to obtain a table that was somewhat based on my copy of a 17th century scholar’s table…(the chair had to be described as well).  

I suggested that they obtain the following: A standing brush holder and an assortment of brushes that I described.  A brush rest and water dish along with a slate Ink stone and Ink stick.  For all of these items I directed them to Guanghwa Company, one of the finest Chinese art stores in London’s Chinatown.  They were able to obtain everything there except a ‘Scholar’s Stone’ which I thought would be a great touch but proved to be unattainable.

Although I gave them a sketch indicating the proper way to hold the brush, the actor found it most helpful to watch my painting video’s on YouTube (how cute is that!).

To see this amazing painting go to and click on collections at the top and then in the search bar enter “Taming the Dragon”.  The Kimbell Art Museum is in Fort Worth, Texas.

For more information:

To See YouTube Videos - Click Here for more details on the scroll, materials and environment

Thursday, April 16, 2009


I couldn't wait to tell you about this 100% real live, walking, talking MIRACLE that I personally know of!

You may have seen the following incident on TV news February 8, 2005.

Daphne Cates was traveling northbound on Hwy 5 at the "Grapevine" towards Bakersfield. There is a very steep incline just before you hit the bottom of the hill and a trucker lost his breaks and hit her going over 100 miles an hour. (Daphne fortunately was knocked unconscious and doesn't remember the actual impact.) Eye witnesses said that her car flipped upside down and then landed facing the center divider. There wasn't much left of the car except where Daphne was belted into the car seat. Daphne had multiple injuries, lacerations on her face and hand, several broken ribs, and two neck fractures, C2 and C4. C2 was the most serious as it is often called the "hangman's break." This expert horsewoman was told she should never consider riding a horse again.

What a miracle...after therapy and time, Daphne is 'back in the saddle' and so grateful and appreciative of her life and many friends. She says there isn't a day that she doesn't give thanks to the angels that most certainly were looking after her!

Wow...not only is Daphne riding her magnificent horse, she was the lovely hostess for the Tuesday Reading Group's luncheon meeting which was held in her beautiful home.

You'll be interested to know that Daphne's grandfather, George Lawrence Stimson was the designer for the Italian Renaissance Wrigley Mansion on Orange Grove Blvd. in Pasadena, Ca. and for the 2009 Pasadena Showcase House of Design at 1050 Oak Grove in San Marino as well as hundreds of other magnificent homes in the area.

Our guest speaker was John Ripley who, along with his many other accomplishments, is a member of the Southern California Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians. John gave an interesting and informative power point lecture on the history of Daphne's amazing family starting with Charles E. Stimson...her great grandfather.

Here's Daphne (the miracle friend) standing alongside delightful Cathy Rose (in yellow)

Vanya Foster Rohner (remember fabulous Foster's in Westwood) sitting next to dear Carol Soucek King (You can see Valerie, Vanya's sister in the middle of the next table). World traveler, Halla Aguirre is on the far right. I bet you remember the wonderful travel programs Halla did with her husband.
… and me with sweet friends!

For more information:

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


When I told you about the yellow bird, I did say to watch for the Ladybug.  Well, when the picture was taken I did think it was just one Ladybug.


Tuesday, April 7, 2009


…has attracted the most beautiful guest…an Altamira Oriole. IMG_4093

How do we know that?  Besides taking several pictures of our new friend, Charles did an hour’s worth of computer digging to find out who we were entertaining!   The bird was first spotted by Vreanna, Lauren’s delightful granddaughter, during our Calligraphy class on Saturday.  We were all on the deck, trying to take a picture to no avail.  (Wait till I tell you about the Ladybug… next time!)

Just so you know…the Altamira Oriole is a bird of Mexico and Central America whose range reaches into southern Texas…this one evidently took a turn to become a star in L.A. The hummingbird’s don’t seem to mind at all as their numbers are increasing daily.  The feeder was FULL two days ago!

For all you ornithologist’s out there:

Friday, April 3, 2009


with one of our trees.  Over the years our ancient Japanese gardener has trimmed this tree into submission.  We’re at a point now where man and Bonsai tree have such a bonded relationship that all else pales by comparison.  Jeffrey has truly ‘become one with the tree’ and his helpers are left on their own to do whatever it is that they do (or do not do).IMG_4064

Besides his artistry with said tree, Jeffrey is a gifted poet and calligrapher as evidenced by this lovely poem he presented to us. It was an Award Winning Submittal  in the International Ancient Chinese Poetry Contest.


by Nobukai Isobe

The crescent moon floats above the desert at twilight

The lonely lights from a small faraway town glimmers in the cold air

A formation of geese disappear into picturesque white clouds

Their sad cry left behind in the grand sky.


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.