Sunday, April 3, 2011


…As promised, here’s the reason I was at Lisa See’s on that eventful, stormy night.

You’re in for a real treat because Lisa has written that much anticipated sequel to ‘SHANGHAI GIRLS’ titled ‘DREAMS OF JOY’ which is also published by Random House.  Written in Lisa’s engrossing style with her remarkable scholarship, this book follows the paths of the two sisters, Pearl and May and within it’s pages is a search for the emotion of joy.

Lisa had asked me to be a member of the Empress Book Club because Random House was sponsoring a filming of Lisa which would include a segment of the book club’s discussion with her.  Of course, at the time the sun was shinning, but you know I would have said yes in any event.  The taping was so much fun and I could hardly wait until it went ‘public’ so I could tell you all about it.  Best of all I met two wonderful women…the amazing Kathy Patrick, author and founder of the ‘Beauty and the Book Salon’ and the ‘Pulpwood Queen Book Club’ the largest meeting and discussion book club in the world  with more than 400 chapters across the country and over 3,500 members!  Kathy has been featured on GMA and OPRAH besides having interviewed just about every famous author you could ever think of!  Plus, she’s just a great gal !!!

As if that wasn’t terrific enough, I met Skye Van Raalte-Herzog, the producer of the film and was able to watch her at her most exciting, creative best…a true learning experience.

If you go to and click on Episodes, it’s #8.  You’ll see Lisa at Pacific Asia Museum, Kathy doing a ‘make-over’on Lisa and the Empress Book Club section with yours truly followed by a yummy cooking segment.  It’s delightful!


Kathy holding a copy of ‘Shanghai Girls’ with author Lisa See




Getting the audio just right!




Lights, camera…action…..




Here’s the ‘camera’ part……




Skye is on the far right making sure a shot is just right….




In the kitchen ……be sure to write down the delicious recipe you’ll see on the video…

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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.