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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1 comment:

Hannah Dean said...

Nan is the BEST houseguest we ever had. Harry and Luna adored her, and she fit into our family routine like she was one of us. The workshop was sublime; what a glorious way to spend a week. I can hardly wait for another opportunity to repeat the experience.


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.