Thursday, October 31, 2013


…….at Rose and Ken’s…..especially at Halloween! Be afraid, be very afraid.  Rosie the Riveter cut these steel figures herself.  Is there anything she can’t do?


Scarier to the left…..


And it doesn’t get any easier once you’re inside! I took lots of pictures for evidence!


No comment.


I thought I got a better picture of Britta but she was so busy tending bar it was hard to catch her.


Ken, who’s your short friend?


Everyone asked….”Who’s that?”  Why Hildegard answered I…..not fooled one bit!


Michael was easy to spot. That hat didn’t fool anyone!


Carol always looks elegant, even in costume.


Rose suggested I go with Joan and we met at mom’s but I decided at the last minute to drive myself as I turn into a pumpkin at 9:00.


You can always count on Sue and Marty to have clever, fun get-ups….they’re the cutest and Dracula even had bloodied teeth! Dig his nail polish….word has it he does it all himself! Expect a call from Central Casting!


O.K. Foodies……I know you’re waiting for it….

Outside on the patio where the bar was, we had a delicious chicken dip, little quiche squares and some little shells with a sweet/savory yummy inside. 023  Dinner was set up in four areas….

The salad was wonderful with bits of oranges and pomegranates and a lovely dressing.


Then to the kitchen where there were two huge pots that started out full to the top…..Here’s the chili….(what’s that in the way?….Oh, it’s my bowl!  I was soooo eager.) I added shredded cheese and sour cream to mine.soooo yummy!


Of course you know I had to go back for a bowl of the squash soup before it was all gone!


I know, you’re waiting for the dessert.

Home made cream puffs with the most delicious fudge sauce.  I took some home for Charles, mom, Vicki & Nikka & was very popular!


I had this DELICIOUS Apple Crumble….oh my it was good and the vanilla ice cream didn’t hurt one bit!


Rose makes absolutely the best carmel corn in the world and I’m the happy recipient of my ‘take home’ treat! Thank you Rosie Girl!!!

042 I tried all evening to get a picture of Blondie….she continually evaded me until Ken had her contained.  Happy first year on planet earth Blondie!




Monday, October 28, 2013


…..not an easy question to answer when you’re re-entering the world.  After two solid weeks in bed one has to decide whether to play catch up or just start new.  It’s a good time to look at priorities, figure out what’s really important and make the decision to not be distracted by what doesn’t matter.

The first decision was what to do with Kita when we all have to leave the house.


The new security system we had installed will not protect us from the main destructor force… little Miss Kita…. who will be in her puppy terror mode for another full year!


Then it hit me…..eureka…..take Kita to the groomers or the vets for a bath.  At the vet’s we wouldn’t have to pick her up until 7:00.

She’s been voted’ Miss Congeniality’ there so it was an easy decision.


Then it was off to Charles yearly (correct) doctor’s appointment.  Vicki then treated for a belated birthday dinner for Charles at Gourmet 88.


Yummy stuff…..


We then got take out to continue the celebrating at mom’s!


All together now….say cheese!019

Made it back to VCA Animal Hospital just in time to get ‘Her Highness’.  Yes, Charles, Vicki and I with dog in the new car.  Just use your imagination!

Next day, because I’m under fed, Susi & I ate lunch at Bar Verde.  Note the yummy squash soup topped with crème fraiche!


I had my new favorite salad, Panko crusted chicken….so crispy and light! With fresh berries, figs, point reyes blue and a fig balsamic vinaigrette.

050 !

Then, because Susi had seen every movie (including Gravity) we saw RUSH, directed by Ron Howard.  Based on the true story of the rivalry between two Formula 1 racers it will have you on the edge of your seat.  Loved it!!!


When Nikka came to work on Friday she brought major sustenance….fries from KFC.  They’re the best!  Large yummy potatoes with a secret ingredient sprinkled on them.


Kita was looking for treats everywhere….


Class on Saturday was wonderful…..we continued the theme worked on at the Huntington and the previous Saturday’s class.

Kathy did two wonderful birds nestled in Japanese Maple and started a strong Landscape that I can’t wait to see finished.


Kc’s wonderful little bird will be transformed into a card!


Pam is our certified ‘bird watcher’ so we knew she’d do something fantastic!


Laurie really concentrated on this great red bird!


After class, Jim came over and he and Sandie selected the Wisteria painting they had commissioned as a special Christmas gift for daughter Melissa! This is 48 inches wide so Saturday we will meet Agnes at Magic Dragon to have it mounted!


I’m thrilled that Sandie and Jim are pleased….so much so that I got treated to dinner at Bar Verde! They’re so cute!!!


Foodie alert:

The cheese plate was sensational….served with a  delicious tomato basil jam, honeycomb and toasted crostini! Get’s me salivating just to see it!


This is definitely the place for chicken…no matter how they prepare it! This was roasted with prosciutto & sage, mascarpone polenta, baby vegetables & fig balsamic essence.


Jim had the Sake Marinated Black Cod with shrimp dumplings, organic spinach in a shiitake mushroom soy broth.


Jim’s Manhattan…just look at that magnificent ice cube!


I meant to save the wrapper for my tea…..the ingredients were so beautiful! (It was served with honey.)


For desert, all we could manage was gelato with cookies….just warm out of the oven!

Thank you Sandie and Jim for the most wonderful evening!!!


Walking to the valet for my car…….a 1937 restored Jaguar!


O.K., you don’t have to be a dog person to love this book by Mary Oliver.  Just be warned, have lots of Kleenex!


Sunday, October 20, 2013


…….began with class at the Huntington Botanical Gardens on Wednesday.  It seemed like a year ago when the last class was held, followed by that eventful day at Rusnak and then getting that nasty bug that really laid me low.  Moral of the story……all is well and nothing is worth getting so upset one’s resistance is completely shot.  Hope I learned that one.

Here’s a picture of the Japanese Maple in front of the house.  I took this before setting forth for class as this was to be the days subject….


…..along with little birds on a Maple Branch.


After class I popped in to see all the amazing Orchid growers getting ready for their yearly exhibit which ran from noon Friday thru today (Sunday).


One of the exhibitors….


Several exquisite Lady Slipper Orchids……


Hope you had a chance to see these beautiful creations!!!


I remembered this Japanese table from last year……so elegant and how I love the screen!!!


Trudy and Geoff are back after their month long adventure….Kita went absolutely wild with joy and I was delighted with my chocolate as well.


Since the class on Wednesday was so successful I decided to repeat the subject for Saturday’s class in the Studio. This had started out as a full tree on Wednesday but I turned it sideways, removed the trunk and hid a little bird.



It’s always so interesting to see each individual art work…..all based on the same subject but completely different, one from the other.


I could tell Cynthia was really enjoying the subject.


Sweet Diana is always so full of love and joie de vivre!


Kathryn decided to tackle the Japanese Maple Landscape.  It was coming along beautifully …..there are a lot of little strokes to be done but patience rules the day.


After the main subject, Violet painted an exquisite figure (also in the lesson).


Great job Po Chu!


Let’s see that up close!037

What a great week…..filled with creativity and inspiration.

Kita’s calling it all good.



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.