Thursday, February 19, 2009


I had just left the Ikebana House at the Huntington Botanical Gardens when my cell phone rang.

"Nan, it's Judy." Judy? Judy from GRADE school in Chicago? Judy now from Iowa wintering in your Newport Beach home? That Judy? Well yes it was!

"Where are you?" "At the Huntington with Marshall and friends who are visiting us." Judy answered. "Really? Where exactly?" "In the bookstore" came the answer. "Stay there, I'll be right over!"

Here's what happened. Sweet Rosanna Schmidgall went to the bookstore after class and saw someone not only looking at my book 'The Ch'i of the Brush' but discussing it with someone. Rosanna said to her, "That's my teacher, she's here now and I can give you her phone number!"

Ripley has nothing on us!!!

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Monday, February 16, 2009


...and it will benefit the West Valley Food Bank. So said Carolyn Weisz who, with artist friend Denise Hufhines came up with the plan to have a wine tasting, dinner and auction followed by more food and yummy deserts.

Carolyn and husband Dr. Jeff hosted and guests were told to bring a bottle of wine which was then encased in Renolds wrap and placed on a table. We were given sheets of paper with the numbers of the bottles and instructions to taste and rate. I could easily see that this was brilliant planning...after all that wine tasting...we raised a lot of money!

We had been told to bring a 'White Elephant' item from home that we would want to 'get 'rid of'' and also something on the 'nice' side.

Denise explains how the auction works:

The auctioneer (Dr. Jeff) was to hold up an item like the 'lovely' dancing puppet. You could either bid on it yourself or bid for someone else to receive it. That's when it got really hysterical. If you didn't want the item, you'd have to raise the bid to give it to someone else. It's hard to describe but if you want to give such a fun packed party to benefit either a food bank or some other worthy Denise!

You'll want to know more about Carolyn, Denise and
her hubby Donald. They are all wonderful students of mine and this happy picture was taken at their joint, sold out art exhibit!

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WHAT A LOVELY INVITATION... be the guest of awesome Valerie Foster Hoffman for a private tour of 'Masters of the American West' at the Autry led by Curator Amy Scott. Dinner followed at the California Club and was a lovely chance to discuss the art.

I hadn't been to the Autry since the opening reception of 'On Gold Mountain: a Chinese American Experience' based on the fascinating book by Lisa See. Lisa and her cousin Leslee See Leong were the guest curators. (Leslee's father, Gilbert Leong, architect and artist, was a founder of the East West bank and an encouraging patron and dear friend. I just ran across a note from him where he happily said 'I had gotten it just right!')

You'll want to know about two of the artists who exhibited in the show. Gayle Garner Roski and Peter Adams.

In the years that I've known Gayle my admiration for her dedication to her work has never wavered. Looking at the body of her work as well as the four paintings exhibited, her color, design & theme concepts are always new, exciting and original, developed within the framework of her exacting technique.

As for Peter, well, let's just call him the 'Modern Master of Light'. I first met Peter when he studied at the Lukits Academy of Fine Arts as I did for a short time in the 70's. I discovered Brush painting and Peter went on to become Mr. Lutkits Personal Apprentice & #1 student! Then as always, Peter remains the consummate gentleman and it's always a joy to see him and Elaine, his beautiful wife.

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for information on Peter Adams go to:

WORDS CANNOT DESCRIBE... meaningful it was for me to share a few moments with June Wayne, 'Artiste Extraordinaire' and one of our 'National Treasures'!

Judith Linde, President of UCLA Friends of English had invited me to the Royce Hall event celebrating the 50th anniversary of Miss Wayne's livre d'artiste on the love sonnets of John Donne a ground breaking collaboration with Marcel Durassier the master French printer.

Miss Wayne told how upon hearing the recorded sonnets "It was as if I was listening to Beethoven and the sounds and poetry took over my hands...they reached beneath my skin". One line from a poem would be selected for the tittle of each of the drawings.
As there was no suitable lithographer in the United States at the time, her journey took her to France and then a dangerous sojourn to the Berlin Red Zone for the typography. All this was enchantingly told to the enraptured gathering.
From this seminal work sprang the Tamarind Lithography Workshop to revitalize the art of lithography and which fostered great artistic collaborations. Sponsored by the Ford Foundation, Tamarind later moved to the University of New Mexico.
I left knowing yet again that one must follow one's dream, live with passion and only then will we fulfill our purpose.

How I do thank you Judith Linde
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Friday, February 13, 2009


to receive the following e-mail from Tony Oliver, my wonderful student and friend of whom I couldn't be more proud.

"Here are pictures of a third grade class here in Bakersfield that I did a volunteer art lesson with. They loved it. Thank you so much for encouraging me to go to the schools ..."

And now, from the classroom teacher to Tony.....

"Thank you again so much for coming to share your talent with my class. They really enjoyed it. I was impressed by the quality of the art my students were able to produce. I have attached some pictures of you working with students. Let me know which day next week will work for you to teach another class."

Now how about that! Isn't it just the most delightful thing you've ever seen? The children are so precious and seeing how beautifully Tony works with them...well, I can hardly stand it!

Tony is also receiving great responses in selling his Brush paintings so I hope you're all encouraged by seeing this to get out there, like Tony, and share your wonderful gift.

To contact Tony:

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


...all set for Charles lovely daughter Peggy and hubby John Berry. Note the Godiva chocolates on the pillows and there are even eye masks!

We are so delighted to have Peggy here each year when she attends a national conference as the Development Director of the East Texas Food Bank. Atty. hubby John flew in for the weekend when the conference was over and then it was on to the Parker B&B.

You know we cherish each precious moment but probably try to cram too much in...especially in the eating department.

This is the table to get at Anisette Brasserie if you want to watch all the action in the kitchen!

Chef/owner Alain Giraud, master of all he surveys.

Note: If you want the amazing pate you better order it when making your reservation. It totally sells out in a flash.

Let's call this one 'Meditation on Bamboo' or, Yuki Says...'Time for Walkies!'

Peggy & John at the Griffith Park Observatory

Eating again? (We gave Little Dom's another chance.)

Proud dad and lovely daughter.

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...from Gretchen Thompson who said that she and four others wished to present a dear friend with a gift to an artist's the friend had a great interest in Chinese Brush painting. So, six of them would be coming to the studio on February 8th at noon. I thought, that would be just fine as dear Peggy and John were not scheduled for that time frame. Oh silly me... but not to worry, Charles had the inflatable bed stashed away and was off to the airport with them by 11:30. Everything does work out!

When the ladies pulled up, the birthday girl still had no idea why she was here. The first thing she noticed was the large scroll I painted that is hanging in the entry. "Well" says I, "that could be a big clue". (Since it had been raining they had to use the front door instead of the elevator or take the path to the stairs.)

After a brief walk thru downstairs (especially pausing for the view which had suddenly become amazing) we went to the studio. My brief talk about the history of Brush painting leads always to information about brushes, mood seals, Ink and of course a bow to having a calligraphy scroll dedicated to our China trip 'Journey of the Imagination' and explaining all the wonders of such an extraordinary culture.

Now, are you ready to be totally amazed? Carol belongs to a book club that my student, wonderful Leslie Robin, belongs to and has been hearing about Brush painting classes that Leslie loves, (along with our trip to China), and here Carol was in the very same teachers studio! Six degrees of separation!

Does anyone have a brush?

Imagine this...

And here we have the 'bone stroke'.

Carol Greenstein, the birthday girl, paints surrounded by delighted friends!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


...everyone will be home with chips and dips."

Well, that's what I thought and told Stacey that as soon as she set up everything she could just go play and come back at 5:30.

Perhaps I should start at the beginning. I was asked to do a 'Trunk Show' for the Huntington's 'Chinese New Year Family Festival'. Since it's been at least 14 years since I've done one and knowing how hard it is, it would only have been possible with Stacey's magnificent help.
When we arrived I was shocked to see a literal sea of people stretched across the pathway to the entrance and beyond. By 10:30 the parking lot was filled to capacity.
Quickly we were set up and then, non stop, people came over and we had our hands full. Dear Jeanette Ong happened by, surprised to see me, and came into my area with her two precious children, Juliane and Ryan. Can you imagine...they started working. Jeanette noticed I didn't have prices on the paper weights and got stickies for that and even the children were inlisted. Awesome!
Later on Tomiko Varga, my precious friend came by and she went to work as well! Between all of us we wrote 92 sales slips! Stacey will probably never let me live it down that I said she could take the day off.
We got back to the house around 6:30 and after getting everything up to the studio Stacey went home, Tomiko came by, picked me up and we went to Wokano for lots of raw fish and green tea. The only answer to a long, long but wonderful day.


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.