Thursday, June 27, 2013


……..Valerie was so dear to invite me to a luncheon at the California Club on Wednesday.  It was the perfect respite from the past two weeks of concern about mom after her fall.  Heartfelt thanks to all for the love you sent her way.  After our 2nd  doctors visit Monday we had to stop at Habit. (mom’s idea.) Doesn’t it look like Nikka is guarding her burger???? Do we have enough fries???


Mom was delighted but still in a lot of pain.055

I think I’ll sneak some of her meds…don’t tell anyone please.  Nikka is staying with mom 24/7 and helping me in the office for a couple of hours each day so we don’t get too far behind.

So, back to yesterday…..Valerie was so kind to pick me up at mom’s.  Most of you know that’s the MO for convenience sake.


Help with the centerpiece and table favors when we arrived.


Beautiful hostess Valerie with Michael Larsen, jewelry specialist at Bonhams who lectured on the history of fine jewels. Michael was so funny as he kept saying “Don’t I know you?”  By the end of the event he had a synapse….he had worked at Altobelli Jewelers where I probably spent too much time and moolah. Deja vu all over again!!!


We learned all about Georgian pieces (mid-late 18th century), Victorian, Art Nouveau, Edwardian, Art Deco & Retro & were even given an interesting outline to take home.  Here’s one of Bonham’s catalogs with such treasures inside….oh my!

088 Stunning artist and jewelry designer/ owner of ‘Designer Sterling’ Conchita Kane….she’s a delight to ‘art talk’ with!


Lunch was sooooooooooo yummy…Miso Marinated Sablefish, with Soy Mustard Sauce, Jasmine Rice & Bok Choy.


This was really trouble…….Orange & Praline frozen soufflé with Grand Marnier marinated mandarins……DELICIOUS!!!!


Did I mention the champagne????


Beautiful Vanessa (Valerie’s daughter) who is a fantabulous designer/contractor.  You know how I love construction….wish there was a square inch left here.


Lovely Diane Jenkins invented ‘Charm Alarm’ after having her purse & all it’s valuable contents stolen.  Charm Alarm keeps you aware of your wallet or purse by letting you know if it’s moving away from you.


I must say we were quite a creative table….. Tara Kuhnert  will have her program on ‘all things art’ on the Ovation Network this summer.  The show will combine art history with contemporary art and culture. So don’t miss ‘THE KUHNERT CHRONICLES’!!! For a link to the 2min trailer "sneak peek" of the show:

In case the above link doesn't work, it is on under the videos section on the menu bar. I was so delighted that  Tara sat next to me because we had the most wonderful conversation…..she’s awesome! You can reach Tara at


It should be clear by now after so many blogs that Valerie is a primo facilitator, bringing people of like minds together.  Along the same vain, don’t miss the two critically important books at the end of this blog.

And here’s a picture of charming Carey Hotchkis, floral designer par excellence who designs for very special occasions.  You can reach Carey at         !


Thank you Valerie for a perfectly delightful time and for the charming table favors. I took the lovely note pad to mom along with the beautiful floral centerpiece….but….


…..kept the heart shaped Amethyst for myself.  What’s going on this year??? This is the 3rd Amethyst I’ve received….I’ve got the start of a collection now.


Just in case you’re worried I’m not eating enough….lunch Tuesday at Gennaro’s with my buddy in all things giddy, grand & glorious….Lisa B.!


O.K., now for those books I mentioned. The first & most recent is ‘Rosamond Bernier….Some of my Lives’ published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.  In writing of one of her visits to Matisse….. he had shown her many working sketches saying that he makes a great number of them in preparation for his painting.  He said that he ‘drew a subject over and over again until he really FELT IT IN HIS HANDS’!  Noticing a sketch on the living room door, Matisse told Bernier ‘‘I did that blindfolded.  After working from the model all morning, I wanted to see if I really had it.  I was blindfolded and led to the door”.  Bernier said “It looked almost as free and sure as the other sketches”.  Note: Artists must observe, observe, observe!!!


Now the next book, is one of those ‘coffee table’ jewels!  Based on Bernier’s celebrated lectures at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and at the Louvre, you’ll be enthralled by her insights and anecdotes such as Matisse discussing the negative balance between line & form (soooo Asian).  Picasso would often show this art impresario his work in progress and all the personal asides are thrilling.  Not only was Rosamond entrancing to listen to but it was fascinating to see her stunning gowns!!!


Enough….I must get back to the studio as we have another good two weeks of cataloging my work.


Note:  Lest you think I’m getting too high brow I’ve been listening to Blondie’s ‘Parallel Lines’ while writing this!

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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.