Sunday, January 3, 2010


It happened quite innocently as we drove up to Carol and Richard King's on New Year's day. Charles said, "Isn't that Duchess (the King's German Shepherd)?" The next moment Carol appeared and said that the dog had gotten loose into the Arroyo as the gate was open. I thought nothing of it and I went inside as the dog seemed close and catchable. Now for the rest of the story!


(It helps to know that the Arroyo is the same dry gutch where the Rose Bowl is located just North of the King home. Their home is down beside the Arroyo where it is wet and impassable.)

An hour later, a very breathless Joyce Motazedi, artist extraordinaire, told me what had transpired. She was out with Carol and precious 10-year-old Stella Bentley (granddaughter of interior designer Shelby Goodman)trying to corral Duchess as the dog wandered around the Arroyo failing to respond to their plaintif calls. As Joyce followed on foot, Carol got into the car with Charles and brought with her Mr. Tomonori Ishii, VP of All Nippon Airways who was enlisted for the chase! Joyce then ran as fast as one of her equine subjects back to the Kings to return with treats for The Duchess & she zoomed back over a mile to be at the head of the chase...keeping in constant cellphone contact with Charles, Carol & Mr. Ishii. Apparently there are various private roads under the bridge. Duchess kept retreating and resisting all efforts to get her into the car or be within 'dog-napping' distance! Finally, Duchess went around a gate at the end of the road and onto the public roads teaming with early Rose Bowl traffic. Now that's heart stopping!

A young couple, Joshua & Whitney, riding their bikes(on the other side of the gate) offered to try and catch the dog and were given Duchess's leash while Charles and crew drove around. Going 'Around' meant finding streets to get around the Arroyo and find a way to cross to the other side. It was a bit of a stunt in the traffic and the barricaded roads (most streets are blocked to force football game bound folks to the parking lots).

When Charles, Carol and Mr. Ishii did get to the other side of the gate, Duchess had finally exhausted herself and was willing to co-operate with the young couple who then waited for the car. Charles said later how he kept thinking how panicked he would be if Yuki played 'catch me' in traffic!
Joyce summed it up as tears welled in her beautiful blue eyes, "We came so close to losing Duchess! But here she is!!! This really IS a wonderful New Year celebration!"

All's well that ends well.

May you have a Perfect '10!

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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.