Wednesday, September 1, 2010


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!!!

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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.