Monday, February 6, 2012


…..was so exquisite and just about beyond description but I’ll do my best.

First we were greeted by Crystal Valet  service and there, at the entrance, were huge pastel balloons in the shapes of potted flowers.  Then the amazing Helga gave everyone their seating assignment.  I was to be at ‘THE INDIAN OCEAN.  (I’ll explain  the whole ocean thingie later.)


After cocktails and hor d’oeuvres poolside we went inside to be treated to a total room transformation. There were 5 tables of ten….. O.K., let me stop here…..

When Valerie has a party, it’s never about her…not even  on her birthday….it’s ALWAYS about her guests and she gives such attention to each and every detail that one is transported  to a virtual wonderland!

So, first off, here’s the menu for all you foodies out there.  I don’t know of a restaurant in L.A. that could match the dinner in deliciousness and all because of………


Josie, Valerie’s sublime chef seen on the far right with two of her assistants.  Did I tell you there was a staff of over eleven? (I lost count.)


Now pay attention to the windows in the back and see if you can tell what’s going on.  (You’ll soon find out.)



I guess I look sort of happy….Oh yes, each table had beautiful candelabra with exquisite floral arrangements (each different) and the china and crystal….well…I need way more space …..Of all nights, Valerie’s camera wasn’t working and I left mine in the car.  Guess it was the excitement of seeing those balloons!1428

We were serenaded by talented Tony Cobb who sang and played everyone’s favorites!IMG_1449

So, here’s the story on those back windows…..


Dan Goods, the Visual Strategist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab and Davis Delgado (also from JPL) created a projection onto the windows of an underwater paradise.  It absolutely took your breath away as one glorious creature after another came into view. This show lasted the entire evening and it was absolutely mesmerizing!


Don’t you just love this sea turtle?


The birthday girl hugging her stuffed birthday animal, flanked by hosts of the delightful birthday bash, son-in-law handsome Stuart and beautiful daughter Vanessa.


We wouldn’t have any picture at all if the beautiful and talented Dorcas, former Mrs. America didn’t take these.  Thank you Dorcas!


Big smiles Ginger……………..


Goodbye hugs………


It’s impossible to ever leave Valerie’s without a gift and majordomo Helga saw to it that we didn’t.


In the car…..a long stemmed rose left by Crystal Valet.



For more information:

Dan Goods


David Delgado

Tony Cobb


Crystal Valet


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very lovely! What a dear dear friend you are! You captured the evening perfectly!
and, your studio! Hopefully, one day, I'll get to experience it first hand! fondly, VANYA


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.