Sunday, May 24, 2009


When the amazingly talented and simply wonderful Molly Siple phoned with two tickets to the opera (thanks to Peter Adams) she said that she knew I’d be the most fun to go with.  And what opera is that pray tell?  Why five hours of fun and frivolity otherwise known as Wagner’s laugh a minute ‘Die Walkure’.

We had a grand start at the California Club which got us shuttled right to the Music Center with no parking to deal with and it was only upward from there.

Five hours passed like 2 and we were enthralled throughout.  We loved the staging by Achim Freyer because it was so symbolic and imaginative and kept us busy figuring out what everything meant as Wagner’s myth was truly represented as a myth and not meant wagnerfor traditionalists.

Did I mention Molly is brilliantly clever?  For the beyond description birthday bash given for me by Valerie Hoffman (more on that later), Molly gifted me with ‘Decoding Wagner’ by Thomas May.  All you would need to know plus two full length BMG Classics CD’s. Ride on Walkure’s, ride on!

Here’s Hildegard Lindsay, Molly, Valerie and yours truly…


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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.