Thursday, October 29, 2009


…it’s a grand celebrational, simply sensational PARTY!  You can imagine my delight in being included as I actually had the day clear (O.K., so maybe I did play hooky).

Back to the party…the Athena Circle invited the foremost designers in Los Angeles to interpret ‘A Festive Holiday Table’ at the California Club.  Lunch was yummy and Valerie’s table was a joy to experience.  As usual with Valerie, you never go home empty handed so our table was treated to beautiful crystal vases by Geary’s, a special CD honoring Michael Jackson (leave it to V. to find such a thing) and the cutest Halloween stuffed bears that I tried in vain to hide from Yuki.IMG_4769 We’re ready to party!

The guest speaker was Suzanne Tucker who gave a power point lecture on her new book, ‘Rooms to Remember’.  All I could think of was Carol Soucek King’s amazing design oriented books from ‘Empowered Spaces’ in ‘93 to ‘Unique Homes’ in 2006.  Next time you’re in the studio be sure to see my treasured books.


It was a special treat to see the ‘Table Top’ designed by Tommy Farmer as he did the exquisite flowers for our wedding.  Carol remembers we had an added touch of guests releasing live butterflies!



Carol & Valerie, Yours truly, Vanessa, Valerie’s beautiful and talented daughter & Shelly Ann Marks in from Houston


Almost stealing the spotlight was Kennedy, the adorable Yellow Lab puppy with his little ‘puppy in training for Guide Dogs of America’ jacket, letting us all know a most important job awaited him.

IMG_4786  Kellie Brimberry said it’s really hard to give these amazing dogs to their intended owners. (No surprise there.)  F.Y.I. Captain Sully Sullenberger the 3rd has been fostering these doggies for years and you can read all about him and the puppies on their website. Be sure to check out the puppy cam videos.

IMG_4782 Woops, alert, alert, dog napper sighted!

For more information:

Google Tommy Farmer

Sunday, October 25, 2009


and Sunday, Oct. 25th is his 99th birthday! To celebrate, a group of IMG_4736relatives, friends and admirers gathered at the Santa Monica beach (at the north end of the pier) to watch Tyrus and his lovely hand-made kites. (This amazing experience happens the 4th Saturday of each month.)




It wasn’t windy enough for the many sectioned butterfly kite to take wind but the Panda bear was just light (and cute) enough!

Tyrus and his kites were featured in a short film ‘Flights of Fancy’ and you can see why. Some are over 100 feet and there are flocks of swallows, butterflies, centipedes and more, all lovingly hand painted.

IMG_4719Tyrus, Pam Tom & excited me

Pamela Tom is the Director/Producer of the nearly completed full length documentary “Brushstrokes in Hollywood: A Portrait of Tyrus Wong”.


How cute is this…Tyrus with daughter Kim and adoring fans




One of Tyrus’ ground breaking exquisite illustrations for the classic animated film Bambi.

You should know that although it’s nearly finished, “Brushstrokes in Hollywood” still very much welcomes and DEPENDS on our (tax deductable) contributions and support in order for it to be completed.

For more information and to support: 

Did you know that the Santa Monica pier is the end of Route 66?


Friday, October 23, 2009


IMG_4632I’ve been teaching Brush Painting workshops at the  Pasadena Convention Center since the inception of these great shows.  It’s always great fun as artists come from all over the country to learn new techniques from the various instructors and find out about all the amazing art materials the vendors have for sale…and I do mean ‘sale’!

IMG_4628Special love and thanks go out to Stacey for doing such a magnificent job of organizing and getting all my ‘stuff’ there!

Sunday, October 18, 2009


IMG_4649Rolls-Royce that is … so Paul Rusnak threw a little party for 1,000 of his closest friends to unveil one of them Saturday night.  It turned out to be a magical evening held on Spartacus Square, European Square & streets and the Court of Miracles … all on the Universal Studio’s back lot! IMG_4662

The 2010 Rolls-Royce Ghost was ‘unveiled’ by two beauties aided by Miss California.  You could actually hear the drum beat of all the palpitating hearts.


I just want  the retracting ‘Spirit of Ecstasy’ statuette. (hood ornament)

There was also an unveiling for the 2010 Jaguar XJ “experience the beauty…feel the exhilaration”…but all I was feeling at that point was pangs of hunger as we stood in one of the four lines of starving souls waiting for prime beef, et al.

  Did I mention the Porsche 2010 Panamera?  A four seater…imagine … what’s the world coming to?  we were told to “Drive into a new dimension”…well, O.K.IMG_4674

Paul Rusnak, and Us

IMG_4686To top it all of there was a glamorous runway show in Spartacus Square of the Kevan Hall ‘spring’ fashions.  Tres chic!!

When we came home it was time to relax on the patio with one of the Cruzan cigars from ‘Cigars by Chivas’.  Oh please, that was Charles!!

A Very Nice Party! Thank You

For more information:

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


I’m speechless (well almost) as it’s not easy describing IMG_4611 the ‘love feast’ dedication of the Valerie and Eugene Hoffman ‘Cafe and Waterfall’ at the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center on Sunday.

invite-fountain A clue to how marvelous it would be was when we received the invitation created by renowned artist Gayle Garner Roski.

Grateful for valet parking, we munched on delicious yummies and imbibed just a bit…what a convivial group.  Carol Soucek King (Salon on the Spiritually Creative Life) gave the introduction and left no doubt that she’s a STAR of the first order as she described the amazing, multitalented and beautiful Valerie and her dear Eugene…philanthropist’s extraordinaire!

For a perfect ending, Dr. Richard King had us all say his wonderful native American prayer:

Do all the good you can,

In all the ways you can,

With all the means you can,

To all the people you can,

As long as you can.



Shelly Ann Marks, in from Houston for the event (Charles thought I was talking with Rachael Zoe)


Valerie thought of everything …IMG_4620 including the grand entrance by Traveler!


Dr. Richard King, Carol Soucek King, Elaine Adams (Ex. Dir. of The California Art Club and wife of the brilliant plein air IMG_4623painter Peter Adams), artist Gayle Garner Roski

For more information: Trooper-at-Fountain

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


and wondering just low long it’s been since you’ve been to a real tea party with ALL the accoutrements?  Scones of course with clotted cream, lemon curd and various jams.  Fresh fruit and lovely little tea sandwiches…the favorite being cucumber but curried chicken was a close second.  All of these delightful treats were served on exquisite china, hand painted by our beautiful hostess and artist extraordinaire, Lissi Kaplan who is also the author of  ‘The Power of a Teacup’..  Lissi’s work has been commissioned far and wide  most notably here in Los Angeles where the 5 star Peninsula and Montage hotels serve their low (afternoon) teas on it.


‘Pinkies up’ everyone!


Valerie Hoffman and daughter Vanessa McLean, Lisa Bowman and Kristin visiting from Hawaii with  Lissi Kaplan

For More Information:  (Lisa Bowman’s amazing site)


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.