Sunday, August 30, 2009


…It was a perfect day to eat outside during our Brush painting class.  Everyone agreed it was just like going on a picnic!  The Ikebana House where we paint is nestled amidst a huge Bamboo grove along with a vista of various flowering trees and the inspiring Japanese Garden just over the ridge.










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Sunday, August 23, 2009


Hey, why not! I already told you I stayed with two brainiacs, Hannah and James Dean while in Eugene. Mason Williams introduced me to the incomprable Dottie Chase who took me to lunch which just turned out to be with Jerry Williams and professor Alexandra Bonds. Both Fulbright scholars, Alexandra wrote 'the' definitive book on Beijing opera costumes. Her book, BEIJING OPERA COSTUMES: The visual Communication of Character and Culture is lavisly illustrated, "a thorough examination of costuming (including make-up) in traditional Beijing opera. With her extensive fieldwork in's a guide to the visual world of Beijing opera and the only book of it's kind in's very hard to conceive of it being surpassed any time soon." David Rolston, Univ. of Michigan.

Now let me tell you about the amazing Jerry Williams the most irrepressible and delightful person one could ever hope to meet. Jerry has the most reputable career in theatre design, costume design, and ceramics beginning with studying set design (alongside James Cromwell...the farmer from the movie 'Babe') at the Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh followed by graduate school at the Univ. of Washington. This outstanding advocate of the arts feels art nourishes life. "In stage design you have unity, color, contrast, variety...these components of set and stage design are also the components necessary in life"...Art is connected with the higher power. God and art are inextricably linked; when you embrace art, you embrace God as well." Beautifully put Jerry!

It was a great joy and honor to have Jerry visit my workshop at the Emerald Art Center and how wonderful to introduce him to everyone. I have to mention that Jerry presented me with a beautiful Tai silk scarf, his way of gifting friends. Oh, I neglected mentioning that Mason Williams also honored me by stopping by the workshop...what a thrill to introduce him and have him talk to the class.

Monday, August 17, 2009


…that besides being an amazing composer/arranger (think break out ‘Classical Gas’…the most famous instrumental guitar piece of all time), Mason Williams is quite the universal renaissance man and here’s the short list…

grayhound Comedy writer, eclectic poet and a brilliant conceptual artist, most astonishingly with ‘BUS’ a full scale reproduction of a 60’s era Greyhound bus created BEFORE digital imaging. The photograph was taken at the original MoMA show. This transference of scale captured people’s imagination earning among other things, a spread in Life Magazine. On exhibit at the L.A. Museum of Contemporary Art in 2007 where Mason gave the most interesting lecture talking among so many other things of his lifelong friendship with artist Ed Ruscha, their many collaborations and the trajectory of their careers.

One of my favorite ‘creations’ is a neat word play done by g-upcloseMason’s alter ego ‘Upclose Glimpse’ (there’s an umlaut over the U). (Stencil’s created by Sheri Hoeger)


Edition of 100

I like the blue version best but didn’t think it would show well here. Can you see that the Wild Guesses are actually a series of two question marks that combine to make the guess/geese?

g-stencilAlso love ‘X O STENCILISM’


Another thing (among soooooo many) Mason has the most incredible falsetto and when he sings THE PLATTERS …’ONLY YOU’ you’ll say it’s the best thing since sliced bread!


There’s so much more to write IMG_4479about Mason but I’d be remiss if I didn’t introduce you to Karen, his beautiful wife. Formerly a prosecutor in Canada, Karen is an amazing artist in her own right and I wanted to get her stunning painting of ‘SUNFLOWERS’ to show you …we’re standing in front of it!

IMG_4483 Mason in his studio in Eugene, Oregon…a memorable treat!

I was so honored and gratified to see that Karen and Mason framed my Brush painting ‘Moonlit Bamboo’ and in all the excitement forgot to take a photograph. Mason…please do send me one.

For More Information:

Mason Williams on Wikipedia

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


IMG_4467…that some of the most talented and wonderful Brush painters in the world are in Eugene/Springfield Oregon! 

There was a short hop from Portland to Eugene.IMG_4469

Emerald Art Center

My week long workshop at the Emerald Art Center was an unmitigated joy from beginning to end and these accomplished artists welcomed me so grandly that they now all have a firm hold on my heart.IMG_4471

Special thanks go to the two facilitators at Emerald Art, Kathy Thompson (also a Brush painting teacher) and Leigh Avery.  My every need was met from picking me up at the airport to having the pre-shipped box of paper and supplies opened and ready to go.  From the beginning of each day, making sure that I had water, tea and assorted fruit and goodies to planning the lunch adventures which of course included a Chinese restaurant one day. 

IMG_4526 My hosts for the week were precious Hannah and James Dean who I call my two ‘brainiac’s’ as they have 6 graduate degrees between them including a Doctorate apiece.  After years of the most fruitful and varied occupations (I’m encouraging a book from their adventures) they now have a comprehensive editing service for Doctoral papers and Master’s theses.  Can you believe I was so into the workshop that I didn’t realize they had given me their master bedroom until mid point in my stay!IMG_4516

I wish I had taken a picture of the entire yard but suffice it to say that we had fresh picked blueberries, green beans and marvelous chard, lettuce and tomatoes each day.  Jim is quite the gardener and to look at his handiwork was total perfection.

IMG_4510Meet Harry Potter the sweetest dog on planet earth!

And here we have Luna, seven pounds IMG_4524of bouncing rubber ball/dog!  I was terrified that I would either sit on or step on this little creature and then how could I facIMG_4522e my hosts?

Charles asked me one night if I was being a good guest and this was probably written for my defense.


IMG_4480Shown on the right in the picture of my dear and precious hosts (Hannah was a student of mine in L.A.) is Dottie Chase at Mason Williams house.  Now there’s quite another story…

Dottie is one of Oregon’s leading portrait artists, entrepreneur, advocate and  supporter of the arts  as well as the most delightful lady one is privileged to know.  To see some of her amazing work, go to and click on artists…she’s in the top row.

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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.