Tuesday, October 30, 2012


…..is a yearly event not to be missed.  Especially when you get a bag of home made caramel corn to take home.  That was my pre-requisite for going.

Empanada’s anyone?


Ready to party…..


This is so fabulous….almost life size!


O.K., now I’m really scared…..


The garden looked lovely…even the cactus had lights!


Red or white?????????????


Ken you can take off your apron now and enjoy the party……….


Carol you’re just too cute!!!!


I loved sitting next to Michael….he’s the smartest man I know bar none……and so kind!


I bet there was some great conversation here….


….and here…..


…..and here……


Sapna and Mary Beth are the cutest servers ever!


What’s left of the chilli…..


The squash soup was marvelous….that Rose….


Cream puff anyone…I didn’t call you a cream puff, I asked if you wanted one!  Home made and ever so yummy!


I bet you think this is a walking outhouse…..


You won that one!


Always glad to lend a hand…..or roll….




Thank you for the caramel corn Rose….you make the very best…had it for lunch today.  Oh my tummy…oh my hips!!!!



….pursuing a life of the mind.  Articulate and with a wide ranging frame of reference that he generously shares, Satinder has distilled his thinking on attaining lasting fulfillment in his latest book, ‘THE SEVEN HABITS of HIGHLY FULFILLED PEOPLE: Journey from Success to Significance’.* In it the need for self-knowledge is explained along with the desired gifts of purity of heart, the importance of gratitude, being generous and of service while also being harmless and accepting.  And above all, being present.


Here is the perfect antidote to combat Jacques Barzum’s notion that Western civilization is in decline.

Always wanting to showcase talent, Valerie, our hostess with the mostess, opened her lovely and inviting home so that her guests could be introduced to Satinder and treated as always to a memorable evening.

Here’s Valerie with her honored guests and acclaimed artist Gayle Garner Roski to the left.


No one in the entire universe can make an introduction better than Carol Soucek King so it was fitting that Valerie would extend than honor to her. To the far left is Satinder’s lovely wife Shally and to the far right, Christopher Slatoff, noted sculptor.


Jo Ann & John Gantus listen intently with Valerie..Can I do or write anything without a puppy or two?


I was really enjoying Satinder’s insightful talk….


With Vanya, Valerie’s lovely sister… 


Carol you are the dearest…..


The table was set magnificently and Josie once again outdid herself with the most elaborate and delicious Indian vegetarian feast.  Of course there were some dishes for the carnivores in the group.  Deserts were sublime!


I love this picture…Satinder and his lovely Shally look like a bride and groom!


Satinder signed books in the library and guests were delighted to have a personal moment to talk with him.  I was charmed by Shally as was everyone in attendance!!!


For more information:


* book available on www.amazon.com

Sunday, October 28, 2012

LINGNAN STYLE not to be confused with Gangman style….

……was the subject this month at both the Huntington and studio classes.  It was introduced in China around the turn of the last century and brought a French Impressionist’s view along with the use of opaque white to traditional Chinese Brush painting.  Lingnan is always great fun as it’s not as rigid as Classical Brush painting and we can do so many interesting things.  

Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something True 20th Century Marriage Of Old & New Tradition Of East & West.
Art and civilization are much like the people who create them.  They get tired or stale, sometimes bored and listless. Chinese Brush painting is no exception; like all art and culture, it has always needed infusions of the ‘New’, new influences, new ideas, and new inspiration.  And, as we know, it is all the better for it.   This need for renewal is good evidence that sturdy values and strong traditions, like the Chinese, survive and revivify by meeting the recurrent challenge of  new ‘vitalities’ and ideas.  In China, this challenge is met by ‘change without changing’.  This is the Chinese way.
In this sense, the Lingnan School or Lingnan ‘thought’ is a marriage of old and new, bold and bright, or pale, gorgeous color, strong or light with simple line, formal or free.  New expression, new delight, both Oriental and European, inform your impression, Lingnan style.  For Lingnan loves and preserves all that’s useful and old, using the ‘new’ to make the old yield up new  mysteries and impressions.  Lingnan seeks to renew, revitalize, reinforce, not just Chinese Brush painting but all culture, including Western.  It enriches all world culture.
And that’s ART!
That’s Lingnan, China’s 20th century response (since 1912) to the ossified ‘bones’ of Chinese and all art and literature everywhere.  Lingnan art so delights the Western eye - in Europe and the New World - that most books on Chinese Brush painting depict the bold Lingnan influences.  These are the Chinese books and paintings we love so much in America today.  We love it because it is so fresh, vital and full of energy and impression.  Like most radical reform, the ‘radicals’ of Lingnan know they must first ‘defend the faith’ in order to change it.  They know they must insist they are the true keepers of the flame.  They are true to tradition and true to the devotion, practice and intentions of the founders. 
The Lingnan School finds this useful and practical.
Lingnan began developing its early roots in the 19th century, and came  into full flower under Dr. Sun’s Western-style democratic revolution which overthrew the Ching dynasty in 1912.  Kao, the Lingnan founder, was a close friend of Dr. Sun, who was a Methodist, and so Kao enjoyed the favor of the new Chinese Republic.  Lingnan thrived until Mao’s Cultural Revolution destroyed the Chinese art and literary movements, killing thousands of intellectual leaders.   Today, there is a resurgence of Lingnan in mainland China and the arts are thriving once again.

Kc shows us her beautiful ‘Plum in the Moonlight’.


Kathy also concentrated on a Plum subject giving her paper the look of antique silk.  There’s also a moon in the upper right corner.  Can you see it? ELEGANT!!!


I guess we were on a roll here with the ‘Moonlight' Plum’…Lynne’s moon is sensational! This was accomplished by panting around the moon and letting the white of the paper show.  Good job Lynne!


Happy Lingnan artists!


The Lingnan School pays strict homage to the past in Chinese Brush Painting, assigning tribute to all the geniuses in Chinese art history. (And there are many)   But, truthfully, a good, honest look at Lingnan will tell you that it’s a rather radical break with the past.  It is still authentic Chinese Brush in the highest sense.  But, like most previous departures from the main Chinese traditions, Lingnan borrows heavily - and unabashedly - from new or outside influences, even as it gives honor to the ancient past.
Dr. Sun’s ascent to democratic power in 1912 made Kao (Kao Chien-fu, 1879-1951) the dominant force in Chinese art.  He went to Paris and Tokyo to study Japanese and European art.  He absorbed profound cultural influences which  he later fused with Chinese Brush painting when he founded the Lingnan School.
Kao regarded Lingnan as one of the greatest cultural events in the 3,000-year history of Chinese art.  He said Lingnan was the most important event in the last thousand years of Chinese Brush.  Considering Lingnan’s continuing impact for nearly a century now, Kao may have been right.  Considering the scope and sweep of the Lingnan style, and its thousands of patrons and devotees around the world, there is no doubt that Lingnan’s claims must be taken seriously.
Kao was not the first to introduce new ideas and techniques, new ways of thinking, into Chinese Brush.  With all the talk of Tradition, the great people and culture of China survive and eventually prevail and prosper precisely because the Chinese are resilient beyond belief, and able to absorb and enhance every cultural shock and change.
Volumes have been written about all this, and about Lingnan style and influence. And even more will yet be written.  The important point is that Lingnan charms us and gives us a powerful way to depict our own view of man and nature, Heaven and earth, mind and spirit, and the immutable source of it all.   It is a philosophy of art that need not necessarily be in conflict with other philosophies.  Dr. Sun of the first Chinese Republic was a devout Methodist,  and yet he was taken by the power and the impact of Lingnan, seeing no intentional nihilism or philosophical opposition to his strong faith.    Artists and patrons of all philosophies and faiths since then have been able to share Dr. Sun’s appreciation of Lingnan.  Most of us do.
What the artist needs to know most about Lingnan, however, is ‘How-To’ and “What’s It All About?”
If you like Ink-wash, Lingnan says go for it.  Use water in your brush - wet brush, to achieve a variety of Ink tones, hues or shades.  Water!
Or maybe you prefer color!  Maybe you love color.  Even gorgeous color!  If so, Lingnan beckons happily. Whatever you wish, Splish-splash, Po-Mo, Mo-ku, Flower Bird, Landscape.   Go for it!

Class at the Huntington….I’m explaining the Lingnan method.




and more demonstrating….


Working on getting the mountains reflected in the water….another Lingnan technique.


Almost finished…


Done!  Class voted on my keeping this a winter scene….


Pale tints, Blazing color or soft color, and also, the use of White.
Wet Brush and dry Brush too.
This style  validates many traditions, many cultures, many other styles, including the artists.  Lingnan School says, “We are the world!”  It says it and means it.
Lingnan means Freedom .... Innovation ... Tradition ... the art of the Orient ... the Art of Europe and America.  Synthesis in its highest form.
Wild or formal!
Wet Brush! Or wet and dry!
Ink wash or wide-ranging color!  Strong or pale!
Vivid ...
Powerful ...
Expressive ...
What a perspective of impression ...
What fun ...

Chinese Landscape is a delightful exercise of mind and spirit. It is a joyous and artistic excursion into the meadows and the valleys, the quiet lakes and streams, and the highest mountains, giving glory to the pine and the rocks which the eye employs to enjoy the mists of time and spirit.
In Chinese, such Landscape art is called Shan-Shui or Mountain Water.  It is the kind of Chinese Brush painting that gives the artist a chance to meditate, to contemplate, to think about life’s highest values. Enjoyment, the union with joy and happiness, should be part of it all.
Shan-Shui lends itself perfectly to Lingnan.   

I guess this boatman is skimming along on the ice!


Great work being done by Therese and daughter Natisse!


Hope you had a chance to see the ‘Orchid Mystique’ show at the Huntington.  It was breathtaking!


What color!


Even the white is vibrant!


….and subtle…..


A delightful Lady Slipper….


This one would be a great subject…..


Better than chocolate!


So sweet…


This precious child belongs to one of the exhibitors.  What a treasure!!!!


Here’s my work from a studio class.  Decided to concentrate on the Plum tree and keep the background subtle.


Art is everywhere….all around us!


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.