Thursday, December 9, 2010


….in the new Nan Rae Gallery at Woodbury University.

In collaboration with Suspended Animation Gallery, Woodbury University is presenting “Animators as Artists”, an exhibition of non-Disney art by Disney Artists.  branch003

The collection was gathered by Terry Chonin, former director of Artist Development at Walt Disney Animation Studios, over the course of her 12 year career there. It was the first exhibit displayed at the new gallery in Cabrini Hall, the first being the work of conceptual artist Cate Roman titled ‘Exquisite Flaws’.


Tomiko Varga visits the current exhibition

For more information:

Nan Rae Gallery Exhibitions at

Woodbury University

7500 Glenoaks Blvd.

Burbank, CA 91510



….after a hard day’s framing selection!  Just for the record the best framer for Brush paintings in L.A. is Agnes at the Magic Dragon Co.  Not only that, she will have your  paintings mounted beautifully and the price is more than right!


Lynne Sims, Kathy Wong, Ralph Komai, Lauren Beyeler, Sandra Reilly, me and Denise and Donald Hufhines


Another day, another Dim Sum!

Will McGaul, Laurie Burton, Clara Yang and me


Clara Yang with her mounted scroll!


For more information:

Magic Dragon Co.

(on the same floor as the Empress of China  restaurant…so convenient!!!)

988 N. Hill Street #209

Los Angeles, CA. 90012-1751

Phone: 213.626.3388

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


…..with an Episcopal Chaplain who said that his definition of faith is to be present in the moment/situation.  That was an eye opening statement that got me thinking about why I was so very moved at Judith Nelson’s recent birthday bash.

There we all were, over two hundred happy campers who have all been the beneficiaries of Judith’s being ‘present in the moment’ with her friendship.  It was humbling and awe inspiring.IMG_1224

This delightful painting greeted us as we entered the grounds of college roomie Marsha Bohr’s ‘French chateau’.IMG_1226

Beginning to mingle and below is guest of honor, our Miss Judith in the middle with effervescent Marsha to the left.IMG_1232

Dr. Charles Rosenbaum is engrossed by wife Isabel who I will love forever and delightful Marsha.IMG_1233

Someday I will have to write a blog about the amazing Min Lush who thanks to Judith has become a dear and precious faith filled friend who continually gives so generously of her time and heart. 

Min is the most knowledgeable person on real estate and her lectures throughout the state are continually sold out!!!IMG_1234

This was so amazing…Judith wrote “I regard the people connected to me as treasured gifts’.  And ditto to you we say!!!  The tree had various branches showing where we all fit in.  One from being Chief Counsel at Teledyne,a cute branch for ‘The Tuscany 12’…12 friends who as the title suggest, had a memorable journey to Tuscany.  And so on….IMG_1236

See if you can find Charles and me in this (one of two) collection of friends who share in their awe of Judith.IMG_1238


The band was sooooo much fun!!!IMG_1241

Even as a confessed foodie I can’t begin to describe the food….and the impeccable service.  Wine?  The finest California has to offer, carefully selected and truly running over!!!IMG_1243

We were given free range of the house and ‘facilities’ with the exception of the ‘forbidden room’ which I may be arm twisted to divulge.IMG_1244As each guest left we were handed a beautiful long stemmed rose by “The Girls with Roses”, The Valettes, Ltd.


at the tea house in The Garden of Flowing Fragrance at the Huntington Botanical Gardens.  If you haven’t been to Suzou this exact copy of a scholar’s garden there is the next best thing.IMG_1215

Seen left to right are lovely Carol Soucek King, dear Tomiko Varga, Annie Papreck King, Ph.D., with her mother Sally Papreck from Missouri, and her sister… lawyer Susie Papreck Wine (she and her husband Matt recently moved to the Irvine area) the hostess with the mostest, Valerie Foster Hoffman and yours truly.

This was the first time I had the pleasure of meeting delightful Annie (daughter in law of Carol and Richard King) and her sister and mother.  They are all as wonderful as their photographs suggest!  Wonderful Annie was teaching English lit(concentrating on George Bernard Shaw, Gilbert and Sullivan (takes me back to my Interlochen days) and Oscar Wilde) at USC where she met Dr. Jeff King, philosophy professor and one of the world’s leading philosophers of language…(WOW) they were married four years ago and now both teach the same subjects at Rutgers University in New Jersey.  Aren’t we just in awe of brainiacks!!!



make your day!  What a dear friend she had been since our first meeting when I did a Serigraph for the Pasadena Jr. Phil’s.IMG_1223

Jim & Sandie Reilly invited me….

To be their guests at Bashan’s for Dr. Jim’s birthday.  Hey guys, shouldn’t it be the other way around?  But remember, I did say I’m a foodie so I was in heaven.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY JIM!!!!IMG_1143

I FIRST MET DIANE KARPEL in the ‘90’s…..


…..when I had three booths at The California ART EXPO and Diane and her husband Jeffrey had a company called ‘Lease Art’.  Diane had stopped by my space, we chatted and struck up a friendship.  Each year I would send a Christmas card with the notation “we have to get together”.  Well, after years of that Diane sent me an e-mail saying…”You keep saying that but we never do”.


Well, I certainly changed that…..Diane came over to the studio, we lunched, caught up on so much and I’m happy to say have stayed in close contact since.


Here’s Diane at ‘Aroma Cafe’ in Studio City with one of her amazing pieces.  She has this marvelous series based on their world travels….and I do mean travels…they have been everywhere except the moon and I suspect that’s on the list!



….they always have the most amazing thank you parties for the contributing artists.  These two pieces have been selected for the new Stroke Center which will be completed in 2011.



Monday, August 16, 2010


…for Jeffrey Isobe at Woodbury University.

If you haven’t been following this story do read the past blogs titled:

‘On The First Day of Spring’ posted March 22nd and…

‘It’s Been Almost a Year’ posted February 3rd

A grand luncheon was followed by the dedication of a plaque honoring the gifting of the beautiful Ginkgo trees that Jeffrey so lovingly planted on campus.


Dr. Nielsen discussing the historical photographs in the Woodbury Boardroom


Somehow Dr. Nielsen found elegant gold napkin rings in the shape of Ginko leaves for Mrs Isobe


With Jerry Tracy, Head of Mainterance & Grounds who is quite the knowledgeable arborist, Jeffrey Isobe, Dr. Nielsen and Mrs. Isobe


Jeffrey with Dr. Nielsen and the plaque dedicated to him.


The inspiring plaque.


Jeffrey and Jun, his amazing son who is a PhD Candidate in Biomedical Engineering at UCLA and the finest young man one could ever know!

For more information:

Sunday, July 25, 2010


“Get a life in which you are generous.  Look around at the azaleas and making fuchsia star bursts in spring; look at a full moon hanging silver in a black sky on a cold night.  And realize that life is glorious, and that you have no business taking it for granted.  Care so deeply about its goodness that you want to spread it around.  Take the money you would have spent on beers in a bar and give it to charity.  Work in a soup kitchen.  Tutor a seventh-grader.  All of us want to do well.  But if we do not do good too, then doing well will never be enough.”

Anna Quindlen, writer

Excerpt from a lovely little book…GRACE: Quotes & Passages for Heart, Mind, and Soul

Edited by B.C. Aronson

Random House Reference

Saturday, June 5, 2010


…but John Wooden certainly was one as he lived a life worthy of emulation.  Born on an Indiana farm with no electricity or indoor plumbing, he always carried a piece of paper with a message from his father that he lived by:

“Be true to yourself.  Make each day a masterpiece.  Help others.  Drink deeply from good books.  Make friendship a fine art.  Build a shelter against a rainy day.”

Further, his father always told him: “Don’t look back, don’t whine, don’t complain”.

In Wooden’s book, “Pyramid of Success: Building Blocks for a Better Life” there were 15 conceptual building blocks of traits like industriousness, alertness and poise, held together by faith and patience. As he was a religious man, his strongest exclamation was “Goodness gracious sakes alive!”  However, I’ve heard that phrase could make grown men shake.

“Failure is not fatal “ he would say, “failure to change might be”.

More Maxims:

“Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.”

“Flexibility is the key to stability.”  (Doesn’t that remind you of the Bamboo that bends and doesn’t break?)

“Be quick, but don’t hurry.”

Which brings me to a party beautiful Lisa Bowman (creator of ) gave for Kristin Rosendahl, her soon to be daughter-in-law (lucky Stephen…lucky Kristin).  I had hoped to go but at the last minute had to phone in my three ‘words/thoughts of wisdom’ that each guest was instructed to supply.

1.  Only speak words of love and encouragement as hurtful words, spoken in anger can never be called back.

2.  When you’re angry or hurt, remember who you married and always return to that loving place.

3.  (And most importantly….)


Wednesday, May 26, 2010


…things I hope you don’t miss now that summer is almost here.

The Peonies at Trader Joe’s…just in season for a couple of weeks and just glorious.  Thank you Molly Siple for bringing me such amazing flowers.  It’s really an experience not to be missed.

Did you noticed when the birds really started singing?  Almost a serenade to us but they’re probably squabbling over land rights.  No matter, I love it.

And a must hear is kd langs version of Leonard Cohens ‘HALLELUJAH’ on Be sure to watch the version with 3,362,333 + views…it’s the best!

For a must watch it’s Elizabeth Gilbert (EAT, PRAY LOVE) on nurturing creativity and Amy Tam on creativity…search on for both.

If you’ve wondered how to paint Butterflies, check out my how-to video on

Wishing you a glorious summer…….enjoy each precious day!!!

Monday, March 22, 2010


…Jeffrey began planting the first of 33 trees at Woodbury University.

I first wrote you on April 3rd about our amazing Japanese gardener Jeffrey Isobe and the Ginkgo trees in an older posting titled ‘It’s Been Almost a Year…’ asking for your help in connecting Jeffrey with a city or organization.  Since planting 200 Ginkgo trees in West Covina as a beautification gift, he’s looked for another site to carry on this labor of love.



Carol Soucek King made some wonderful suggestions with Woodbury University being at the top of the list.

Now for the amazing part……

Dr. Kenneth R. Nielsen, President of Woodbury University,  has long wanted to plant Ginkgo trees on the campus and when he heard of Jeffrey’s offer it was the perfect confluence of desires.



One down and 32 to go!!




Of course Yuki has to supervise.











Back to school for C.L.P. & Yuki




Bye for now.


Nestled in the Burbank foothills, the lovely Woodbury campus will be enhanced by this labor of love.

Woodbury will be dedicating a plaque commemorating Jeffrey’s gift which will be placed near the courtyard fountain on campus.  So…to be continued.

For More Information:

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


We just saw ‘ALICE IN WONDERLAND’ and I LOVED it!Alice-In-Wonderland

Now,  here’s the strange part….The very next day, when I was at the corner of Brand Blvd. and Kenneth Road…waiting to turn left…..a WHITE RABBIT ran in front of my car and down the street.  REALLY!  Now, ever since then, I’m coming across pictures of me with White Rabbits!  Please explain.


In any event, while it’s a bit early, I thought I’d wish you a Happy Easter!

Monday, March 15, 2010


…the amazingly talented and beautiful Laurie Burton danced with the real thing.  Here she is in the King’s embrace from ‘Tickle Me’. 

03-2010-Elvis You’ve no doubt seen Laurie in the countless TV and commercial films she’s done but this amazing woman didn’t stop at that … on the faculty of the University of Southern California’s School of Cinema/Television she taught young directors before starting her own company…Image Development where she brings her intuitive and perceptive passion to redefining corporate culture by her lectures in authentic speaking and training executives of Fortune 500 companies such as XEROX, Twentieth Century Fox and so many more.


A woman of countless talents, here’s Laurie in my studio

If you want a motivational speaker par excellence check out:

Sunday, March 14, 2010


03-2010-singing …at our wedding when the Langham Hotel was The Ritz Carlton. 

We were married in the garden courtyard and had the guests release butterflies. 



Carol Soucek King offered a prayer as she sent hers on its way.  03-2010-invite









I’m sure I saw descendants of those delightful creatures flitting about the garden when Lisa & I were celebrating her birthday at The Langham.


IMG_0317 IMG_0320 As always, the flowers in the lobby were breathtaking.

For more information:


…the amazingly talented and beautiful Laurie Burton danced with the real thing. Here she is in the King’s embrace from the film ‘Tickle Me’. 03-2010-Elvis

(Of course my lips are sealed regarding Laurie’s marriage to a talented cinematographer… being eyewitness to so many Hollywood stories…Jack Nicholson, Warren Beatty…but let’s wait for the book.)

You’ve no doubt seen Laurie in the countless TV and commercial films she’s done but this amazing woman didn’t stop at that … on the faculty of the University of Southern California’s School of Cinema/Television she taught young directors before starting her own company … Image Development where she brings her intuitive and perceptive passion to redefining corporate culture by her lectures in authentic speaking and training executives of Fortune 500 companies such as XEROX, Twentieth Century Fox and so many more.IMG_0276

A woman of innumerable talents, here’s Laurie in my studio

If you want a motivational speaker par excellence check out:


…was pressed into service yet again. IMG_0311


Charles Jr.was in town from Houston for a financial management seminar…lot’s of complicated stuff…and after a week at his Santa Monica hotel, checked in to the Parker B & B.



Calligraphy class took a break and here’s Kc Camp, Charles, Sandie Reilly and Charles Jr. (and Yuki rear)


Dinner at Cafe Beaujolais in Eagle Rock with Dr James Reilly and wife Sandie.  The halibut is incrediable and we love the French waiters.


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.