Friday, November 25, 2011


…..well actually Yuki Ko was the name given to our rescued Akita by Tomiko.  Yuki meaning ‘snow’ and Ko denoting a ‘female’.  These past few months Yuki decided she no longer could jump into the car to go to B-Elegant for her grooming and hosing her down on the driveway as I previously showed you wasn’t that much fun.  So, I got a doggie ramp and a lifting halter but you can figure out how that worked for us.

Cathy’s Critter Cleaners came to the rescue and Alfredo was WONDERFUL….Yuki had never looked so good.  I suspect he used the furminator on her.








Everything seemed to be going along splendidly until Monday morning when Yuki decided she was done.  Time to say goodbye.  She was 13 1/2 which for a doggie her size is pretty awesome.

Saying goodbye……………..


I thought it appropriate to remember Yuki by what she said for Christmas 2000.

“Dreams do come true…as I lay on the cold concrete at the Animal Shelter, I would dream of a warm bed and food beyond imagining.  Somewhere there had to be love and play and happy doggie times.  I found it with my new family and asked them to send you this message.

May you always have lots of frisbee time and squirrels to chase.  Long romps to lighten the heart and bring joy to all.

May your kibble bowl runneth over and may there be extra treats and surprises.

May you always have adventures and friends to share them with and when you sleep at night may you be blessed with a soft pillow and lovely, sweet dreams.”


Goodnight dear Yuki……………

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


…..has the fullest schedule of anyone I know.  Besides her enthralling, fact filled novels….’Dreams of Joy’ being the latest in a long list of #1 best sellers…. she is either away on a book tour or lined up to lecture locally.  I say all that to give you some idea of the difficulty in scheduling a luncheon as I often ask her ‘Do you have a personal life at all?’

The ‘ticket’ to this gathering was a history and or intense background in things Chinese.

Artist Gail Garner Roski…. (yes, as in the Gayle Garner Roski School of Fine Arts/USC)…. & Dr. Rozella Knox who had 2 or 3 times previously invited Lisa to speak to the VIP auxiliary of the Assistance League of Southern California.


  With the table limited to nine women (including Lisa) who shared this commonality the field was really narrowed and I thought this must be how the Algonquin Round Table was!

Seated from lower left:

Betty Wang who recently arranged Lisa See’s presentation/book signing at the South Pasadena Public Library.  It was a huge success!

Dottie O’Carroll, Executive Director of Advancement, USC School of Architecture who has traveled to China many times as part of her responsibilities with the American Academy in China/USC (founded by Dean Qingyun Ma).

Artist Gail Garner Roski

Lisa See with our beautiful hostess, author Carol Soucek King.  I am so proud to have all of Carol’s exquisite books on design.  My favorite being ‘Empowered Spaces’. Carol’s ‘Salon’s’ bring the most interesting people in various fields together to make this beautiful blue planet a better home for us all.


From the top right:

Yours truly…

Dr. Knox who just retired from her longtime family practice in Glendale leaving a ton of very sad patients!

Shouning Li, wife of architect Qingyun Ma, Dean of USC School of Architecture and founder of MADA s.p.a.m. architectual firm headquarted in Shanghai.  Shouning Li is a brilliant architect in her own right & is Senior Project Manager for Capital Construction Development/USC.  WOW!  The two of us had a delightful talk about Brush painting!

Author, teacher and lecturer Carolyn See.

It was especially meaningful for me to have a chance to visit with Lisa’s mom, Carolyn See, a woman I have admired for many years.

Carolyn See


In re-reading my well marked treasured copy of Carolyn’s book ‘MAKING A LITERARY LIFE’ Advice for Writers and Other Dreamers,  I noticed the inscription……

“For Nan Rae!

For Gilbert’s Sake’!


Carolyn See

You may remember Gilbert Leong was an early patron, mentor and most of all, dear friend.  I miss him greatly.  I wrote a blog about Gilbert’s chairs in my studio on August 28th of this year.

David Sutton, chef extraordinaire!010

For you foodies out there……


In the ‘It’s a small world’ department. There were so many China connections.  Lisa did a great deal of research for her latest book (she is a researcher par excellence) in Anhui Province where Richard King’s US/China Business Institute is headquartered.

What a memorable day. I’m inspired and off to paint!!!

For more information:

Sunday, November 13, 2011


…..were held here at the Pasadena Convention Center but we weren’t there for that.  Time for the ‘LEARNING AND PRODUCT EXPO’.  I’ve taught each year since it’s inception back when the name was ‘Art Methods and Materials’.  It’s been great fun over the years as people travel from all over the country to take classes.  In the ‘90’s my class sizes were at least 30 students and I taught for four days.  The economy has changed that somewhat but the show is still fun and exciting.


O.K., here’s the brush, here’s the paper…



That’s right, tear the paper…023

Now to begin…..


Time to demo painting a Moon Bamboo!




What great students!!!


I’m now a conductor!


Painting a butterfly.

The next class was the Iris.  Christine left early to head on back to Chula Vista.  What a talented, fun group.


A special shout out to Gail Fishback who along with Irene Gruen does an amazing job of running this huge undertaking.  Gail has been so kind to me over the years, making sure that I have everything that I need and that the logistics are as easy as can be.  THANK YOU GAIL!!!

Monday, November 7, 2011


…..had me laughing so hard for so long along with the rest of the audience.  I now know what ‘rolling in the aisle’s means!


What a fun night out thanks to dear Judith Nelson and Eileen Ogle, two of the most generous souls on planet earth.  If there is a good cause or person in need anywhere and I do mean anywhere…..they’re in the midst doing good.  I’ve told you before they’re my go to peeps as they know just about everyone in every field of endeavor. 

Eileen, Dr. Beau Stocking & Miss Judith


This special evening benefitted the Glendale-Crescenta Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross and the stellar event is in it’s 20th year with Fritz Coleman hosting. 

Lucky me, I got picked up in style and we went to the opening reception dinner at Phoenicia Restaurant for a yummy dinner with dessert treats by PORTO’s (and you know how I LOVE Porto’s) and then off to the Glendale Centre Theatre.  Good thing we had reserved VIP seats as the place was totally sold out and folks were scrambling for seats.


I was so happy it had stopped raining. I had given Yuki a Valium before I left because we had thunder and lightning in the hills and even HAIL!!!

For More Information:

Dr. Beau Stocking, Optometrist

2915 W Magnolia Blvd. Burbank, 91505


Friday, November 4, 2011


…..was soooooooooooo much fun!

Bonnie Schwartz testing Violet’s beautiful Steinway.  Bonnie, a concert violinist along with hubby Charlie, a brilliant writer and all around amazing fellow, went with us to China where one of our stops was to a tea farm.  Thoughtfully Bonnie brought along the brick (correct) of tea purchased there and the little knife used to shave off just a bit for brewing the perfect pot of tea.  What delightful memories that brought back!


Bonnie, Violet, me and Kc Camp


So much beautiful artwork…..



This calligraphy was written by Mao himself and is all about how wonderful he was!008

Tables set, all that’s needed are the Wontons!


Violet explains the filling……


Bonnie was a real assembly line.024 

Kc did pretty good herself!



Sweet Lynne Sims was late so it was hard for her to catch up.027

Into the pot they go…….


We laughed so hard seeing all these remotes lined up.



I love this one. So Zen.030




This work is really extraordinary….a close up is next.033



Is it soup yet?


Beautiful and soooo yummy in the tummy!



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.