Thursday, April 26, 2012

MEET SHAUN…Kita’s new best bud…



Oh Shaun, I just love that…..


Perhaps I should begin at the beginning.  About a week ago I was driving up the hill and noticed a new hiker.  Pulling into the garage, I went for the mail and who walks by but that very same person who asked me if I wasn’t concerned to see a strange man walking the hill.  “No” says I and we began to chat.  Turns out this fellow is from Texas and has two Huskies.  Well, he immediately qualifies for the Parker household and I invite him in to meet Charles, telling him Charles left Texas for Harvard where he learned to say ‘ridiculous’ instead of b@#*!*#@t.  Turns out ‘Shaun’ is a pilot who flies private corporate jets out of Houston and  also flew some fancy special plane made by General Dynamics where Charles worked selling submarines to the Navy.  Whew…that’s a mouthful!  Anyway, they had a lot in common and I had dog walking in mind.  Since Shaun was in such a walking mood, I asked him if he’d want to take Kita out for a stroll.  Perhaps to the park? ”Sure” answers Shaun as I wonder if he has any idea what he’s getting into.  “Shaun, I’m leaving now to go to my mom’s so just bring Kita back ‘whenever’….bye bye.”  And off I go.

Now I should tell you that originally Shaun and his co-pilot were to have stayed at the airport Marriot but it was full so they were at the Burbank Holiday Inn in ‘beautiful downtown Burbank’.  I tell you that so you have some idea of how far he walked to get to the house…….after first going up and down a couple of other hills.  Keep in mind that the park is not only down the hill but over several blocks.  That all adds up to Olympian walking!

Shaun phoned the next morning before takeoff back to Houston and told me they had a great walk EXCEPT Kita just sat in the street the last 500 yards, refusing to go any further and so Shaun CARRIED all of her 63 lbs. the rest of the way!





It should be noted that Shaun’s been back in town and game to not only walk but RUN with Kita on this hill!

Monday, April 23, 2012


…….in Monterey Park was the location for a panel discussion on “Round the Clock: Chinese American Artists Working in Los Angeles” which was part of ‘Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945-1980’ celebrating the birth of the L.A. art scene and sponsored by the Getty Museum.


The catalog, ‘Round the Clock’,  for this extraordinary exhibit was written by Sonia Mak, the curator of the show and moderator of the panel discussion.


We loved seeing Tyrus Wong’s fanciful ‘Caterpillar’ kite sailing way over our heads when we entered the museum. See and read about it below.


About the kites…………….If you haven’t already been….go to the Santa Monica beach on the fourth Saturday of every month for the thrill of a lifetime!


In my blog ‘I’ve Been Flying’ posted on January 27th 2012, I showed you Erik Friedl’s lovely short film, ‘Flights of Fancy’ where you could watch Tyrus making the kites and discussing his delightful adventures with them.


Here it is!!!  You can also see part of the ‘Panda’ kite ….another one that I watched ‘sailing about’ at the beach!  Same for the butterfly!!!  On October 25th 2009 in my blog, ‘Tyrus Wong is a National Treasure’ I told you about that adventure.


Sandie and Kc at the entrance to the show…




‘The Philosopher’ by Tyrus Wong


Here’s Pam Tom and her charming daughter Asia in front of these powerful horses by Tyrus… WOW!  I first wrote about Pam on October 13th 2008 when Charles and I went to the benefit party for Pamela’s documentary film on Tyrus, ‘Brushstrokes in Hollywood’. 


Here’s part of Pam’s film…….

Hey Kc turn around……


That’s better.




Next to the horses, this elegant little piece is my favorite!


Sonia Mak…(see Sandie back there?)


The panel from the left: Ron Miller, former pres. & historian of the National Watercolor Society; artist Milton Quon; Sonia; Charles Solomon, animation historian and critic; and Sullen Cheng, former exec. dir. & founding chief curator of the Chinese American Museum.


Hi Sandie R………………you make me smile!!!


Tyrus was a concept artist at the Disney studio’s and beginning with his legendary, ground breaking work on ‘Bambi’, continues to influence each generation of animation artists.

Both Disney and Pixar acknowledge the importance of Tyrus Wong to animation and his use of color to help represent the story has remains the standard.  In fact, when Tyrus was in his 80’s, Disney tried in vain to have this winner of the ‘Disney Legends’ Award’ return to the studio.

Those of you who have attended one of my Landscape classes know I stress the importance of all figures and man made objects needing to be represented on a very small scale with the mountains and nature maintaining their dominance. I was delighted to hear artist Milton Quon telling how this was evident in Tyrus’ work but it wasn’t until he went to China and saw the mountains of Guilin that he realized that is exactly the way it looks!!!

One last look before we go…..


Love to all you butterflies out there…..


Next we headed for ‘The Palace’ also in Monterey Park, meeting Dr. Jim, Sandie’s great hubby for a DELICIOUS Chinese feast!!!Thank you Sandie Girl and thank you Kc for driving all over the place.  What a day………

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


… the most amazing Brush painter and master calligrapher.  I’m delighted to be able to have ‘Tom’ teach a calligraphy class in my studio on the first Saturday of each month.

This past Saturday was the opening reception for Tom’s most recent exhibition at the Huntington Beach Central Library.


Just walking up to the entrance of the library I could tell something pretty spectacular (besides Tom’s work) was inside.  It’s the most extraordinary library I have ever seen, nestled in a beautiful 60-acre park.  There are indoor fountains surrounded by a spiral ramp, a gift shop, a large area with hundreds (thousands) of used books for sale, a theater for Broadway plays, jazz concerts and more, a computer lab and on & on.


Here’s Tom describing some of his calligraphic pieces.  All of a sudden he sees me….

I wish I could have photographed the upper two paintings without a reflection.  They are both of magnificent dragons!  Tom said the bottom right is him when he’s angry.  (I can’t imagine Tom ever angry.)


A little chit chat with Tom and a hi to Kc who was my partner in crime for the day.  I can’t remember when the sky looked so glorious all day long and we even got a great view of the snow capped mountains.  It was wonderful and I so thank Kc for driving…she’s really good at it and sooooo much fun!!!

Tom’s describing how he used ‘blobs’ (my term) of color to create the flowers.

Taken from inside the Art Gallery area


Kc & I decided this was our very favorite.  Again, I couldn’t get away from the reflection.  The use of space, the contrasts between the fully opened Wisteria and the new growth areas & the perfect vines and tendrils all combine to make this a perfect painting!


This is extraordinary and only looks easy….it’s just masterful.


Can you see the little sparrows at the base of the bamboo?  So delightful!


Tom ‘midst his fan club!


To be continued....we’re off to Monterey Park!

For more Information:

To contact Tom:

Sunday, April 15, 2012


Matt’s my best bud and the coolest Heavy Metal rocker I know….can I join the band…can I…. can I Matt? PPLLEEASSSEEEEE!!!!!!


Matthew, as you know, I’m a working dog and currently unemployed.  ‘Contractor’ would look great on my resume and I could carry your T-square.  How about it?



Lisa don’t you think I should be included in your blog ‘ ‘?


It’s time for me to go to school.  Woodbury would be a good place to enroll…lot’s of grass and those beautiful Ginkgo trees Jeffery planted…..  What about it Rose & Ken?


Francisco you’re my pal….I love to help you garden!!!


Carol, I do wish you wouldn’t leave Duchess in the car….we could be such goooood friends!


Ann, I share your love of all things horticulturally speaking that is.  Anything green is good in my puppy book so why am I always being told ‘LEAVE IT’?!  Pardon my while I pee….it’s just that I’m glad to see you….


Tom I’m not a Japanese Akita so I can’t relate to the Calligraphy…but I’d visit class just to see Lynne!


O.K. where are the girls?


Kc I’ll go home with you and be a really GOOD girl…promise!!!


It’s Laurie, Lynne and Kc…..

These girls get me sooooooooooo excited!


Monique, architecturally speaking I could sniff out some good spaces for you.  Maybe you could list me as your assistant on


Tuesday, April 3, 2012


…there just aren’t enough adjectives for me to begin to describe Mason Williams, composer and performer of the mega hit ‘CLASSICAL GAS’, winner of 3 Grammy Awards, the most played, most loved instrumental hit of all time.

Add to that so many other accomplishments in art, comedy, poetry, books and script writing.  Did you know Mason is a brilliant conceptual artist with many collaborations with long time friend artist Ed Ruscha?  His irrepressible sense of humor has inspired countless works of art with possibly the most famous  ‘BUS’ the huge installation in the permanent collection of New York’s Museum of Modern Art.…..perhaps you saw it when it was on loan to the Los Angeles Museum of Modern Art in 2007.  There’s a great picture of it on my blog ‘DID you KNOW’ posted August 17, 2009 along with a few of Mason’s limited edition word plays. I could go on but suffice it to say you won’t meet a more talented or greater guy.  I’m honored to call him friend, collector and supreme booster.

Mason and Karen, his lovely and talented wife live most of the year in Oregon so when I was sent an invitation to attend the opening of ‘THE EAGLE ROCK ROCK and EAGLE SHOP’  I was delighted beyond description.  Let me explain….

In ‘64 long time friend Ed Ruscha had a studio in Eagle Rock and Mason,with his usual sense of humor, joked about the play between the words ‘Eagle’ and ‘Rock’ conceiving of a store that would literally sell eagles and rocks.

Another friend of both artists, designer/artist Bettina Hubby became enamored by the concept and conceived the store as an interactive community-enlivening project.

Mason wrote the following poem for Hubby:

Back in 1964, in the days before either Ed or I got famous

Our plays on words, when they occurred, served to entertain us.

For example, as a sample:the town of Eagle Rock

Brought to mind, the two combined, a shop

with both in stock

Pieces of eye-ther and both to-guy-ther-

whatever shrieks to you

‘Palindromically’ clever, words of a feather….

doozies of art derring do!

Thanks to Hubby, who's uber exuberant

artworks of collab co-op

For the eagle collector and rockhound prospector,

After 48 years...there’s a shop!

~ Mason Williams

3rd week of January 2012


I’m just about besides myself with joy!


With lovely wife Karen, a talented artist in her own right and brilliant besides.  She was a prosecutor in Canada.


Here we are with Pat Rude…the greatest raconteur I’ve ever known.




Wait Pat, do you believe this?


The necklace is made of rocks and we couldn’t figure who would be strong enough to wear it.


Meet Arlyn…how cute is she?  Everything was working from the bag to the shoes…so fun!


It was sooooo crowded….the vibe was ‘60’s all the way….


Thank you for the CD Mason…I cherish each and every one.  Brings back fond memories of listening to you play in your home/studio.  What a privilege.


Fun projections outside….


I guess sheer glee is the only word for this one!


Time to say goodnight….


For more information:


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.