Sunday, February 28, 2010


…at the Huntington was the most fun ever!  Words cannot express how very proud I am of the wonderful Brush painting demonstrations my students did.  They interacted so beautifully with the visitors  and a grand time was had by all! 



The predicted rain storm never arrived but ‘rainy day’ precautions were made and my amazingly talented students were placed in the Botanical Center.  This turned out to be so much better than being outside as originally planned.


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Lynne Tucker and Ralph Komai were the first two demonstrators.  Ralph is in my class at the Huntington


Here’s Clara Yang, Lynne Sims and Kc Camp


In this cute picture…Lynne with Kc in perfect harmony


Charles and I stopped by and here I am with Lou Jordan who demonstrated later, Leslie, Clara, Lynne & Kc


If you look hard you can find Charles.


Some of the visitors…these two gentlemen had been to see the master calligraphers who were also demonstrating and proudly showed off their work!


Adorable visitors entranced by Leslie Robin


There was no shortage of adorable children


I’m so proud of Dorothy Shepherd…she’s been consistently winning awards… her landscapes are so powerful!


Violet Lee charmed the children

I took three videos – two of students demonstrating to a very receptive audience and finally a talk about Chinese Brush Painting with one of the visitors.

Sunday, February 21, 2010


especially when you’re in beautiful surroundings such as the Huntington Botanical Gardens in San Marino, CA.

There were over 5,000 visitors last Sunday on Valentine’s Day and I suspect as many on that Saturday.  It was a grand two day show made memorable by all the lovely people who stopped to chat.



This young man insisted on trying his hand at Brush painting and took it so seriously that I think we have our next Picasso…or should I say Ni Tsan!












Here I am with Tomiko, my precious friend who came by for moral support with an assortment of dreamy cookies.



Can you imagine how delighted I was when this woman came up wearing a T-shirt I designed for the Sierra Madre Wisteria Festival.  She told me she only wears it for very SPECIAL occasions!

Friday, February 19, 2010


…at the Dallas airport.  His flight to L.A. was cancelled so no weekend visit.

Peggy, John’s wife and Charles’ daughter was here for the annual Food Bank Conference.  Peggy is the Development director for the East Texas Food Bank and we’re sooooo proud of the great work she does!  After her stay at the conference’s hotel, Peggy checked into the Parker B & B.  I’ve already blogged about the inflatable mattress in the studio!

Peggy BerryPeggy Berry has served as the Development Director since January 2000. She has a background of over 15 years in donor development and fundraising with nonprofits. Mrs. Berry’s work at the East Texas Food Bank has increased the donor base of support from less than a 1,000 donors in 2000 to over 17,000 donors throughout 26 counties in 2007. In 2005, she led the ‘Freeze Out Hunger’ capital campaign, raising over $4 million dollars to build one of the largest cold storage facilities in the America’s Second Harvest-The Nation’s Food Bank Network. The capital campaign also led to a major gift to establish the East Texas Food Bank Foundation. In addition to her duties at the East Texas Food Bank, Mrs. Berry is a leader in numerous community and professional organizations. Mrs. Berry earned her Bachelor's Degree in Business from The University of Texas at Austin. Mrs. Berry earned the Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) designation in 2007. Individuals granted the CFRE credential have met a series of standards set by CFRE International which include tenure in the profession, education, demonstrated fundraising achievement and a commitment to service to nonprofit organizations. Initially, candidates must pass a rigorous written examination testing the knowledge, skills, and abilities required of a fundraising executive.

Contact Peggy at

Monday, February 15, 2010


…right on cue as I reached the crescendo in my talk to the amazing women of ‘The Tuesday Reading Group’!  These lovely ladies who continue the congenial tradition of the group that began in the early 1920’s. img_30084331

Thanks to Daphne Cates, my ‘miracle’ friend for this picture.

You already know the Literati or Gentlemen Scholar’s are one of my favorite subjects…and that I love to rhapsodize poetic about them.

What a privilege to be the luncheon co-hostess with awesome Kathy Rose…recent ‘Philanthropist of the Year’ who most definitely deserves accolades as she understands the true nature of giving back.  And what fun we had in planning the luncheon menu!  Rain didn’t stop the 30 or so guests…each gifted in their own right.

A truly memorable day made even more so being in the beautiful setting of Kathy’s home.

IMG_0186Vanya Foster Rohner With co-hostess Kathy Rose and Vanya’s sister Valerie Foster Hoffman

IMG_0183Valerie’s lovely guests, Virginia Braun and Linda Bowling

IMG_0178Molly Siple is seated to my left and we were delighted she could join us.  The following day was the deadline for the must have book to be published by Rizzoli commemorating the 100th year of the California Art Club…plein air painters all.  Molly is the brilliant co-author with Jean Stern of the Irvine Museum! 





I’ve already told you about amazing Carol Soucek King whose salons on ‘The Spiritually Creative Life’ are not to be missed.



IMG_0179The wonderful seating area by the fireplace was certainly enjoyed on this rainy day!

Signing-BookFran Saoud, Kumi Takagi, Virginia Braun & Carol Richards

Heartfelt thanks dear ones for your lovely notes that mean so much.  And special thanks to Valerie Hoffman who takes even more photographs than I do and HERS are always GREAT!

Here’s a link to my talk:

More on Molly Siple at: 

For information on antiques:

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


…since I first introduced you to Jeffrey, our gifted Japanese gardener of so many years who is also an award winning poet and calligrapher!  You might want to stop reading at this point and scroll back to:


Posted on Friday April 3rd, 2009.

…are you back?  Well good, because now I have a life altering conversation to describe to you.

Last Friday, after Jeffrey had planted a beautiful Cymbidium orchid near the ‘Deer Chaser’ fountain, we stood admiring it and began talking of  all the joys in watching various blossoms that spring forth this time of the year.   (I’m going to receive a special Cherry tree and a long promised Fig tree which would have been planted this season had Jeffrey’s dog not placed dibs on it first!)  Oh, by the way, Jeffrey told me that he makes his own planting soil as what we purchase at the nurseries is not any good!  He goes to a certain river (the name escapes me) and collects the sand along the riverbank for his soil! What a labor of love and attention to detail!

As we stood there, Jeffrey told me that he had tenderly raised and then planted 200 (correct) Ginkgo trees along the main section of West Covina as his gift to the city.  He then said that for each tree he planted he first wrote a short poem on a stone and would then bury it under the tree.  Jeffrey then looked at me and said that “THESE TREES WOULD REMAIN AFTER HE DEPARTED AS A TESTIMONY OF HIS LIFE”.  My eyes welled up and then I noticed Jeffrey’s did too!  May we all so lovingly create a better place in this our beautiful world!


Shall we help Jeffrey continue his labor of love?  He will happily DONATE and plant trees in San Marino, Glendale and Burbank so if you have a connection with the ‘Powers that Be’ in these areas…please do let me know.


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.