Monday, November 11, 2013


……to write the blog is to look at my calendar for the past week.  Now how long did that take to figure out????  Be kind & don’t answer.

So I see that Monique Schenk, my awesome architect and I met for lunch at Le Pain Quotidien to catch up.  Monique is working on some amazing projects for heavy duty celebs whose names I cannot mention.  Bummer……

We split/ shared two yummy dishes.


Afterwards, I thought I’d pop in to see the last half of ‘Captain Phillips’ and on the way saw the Americana’s gynormous Christmas tree which goes up right next to Pacific Theatre.  Now here’s something I bet you don’t know……..They cut off most of the branches, which are delivered on a huge flatbed.  Then, they individually re-place them onto the tree.  Does that make sense to you???? They’ve just about emptied the truck and the branches are stacked in piles, numbered and all ready to be attached.


You can see where the branches are missing.


Some of the stacks of branches.


‘Captain Phillips’ was wonderful….just give Tom Hanks the Oscar and get it over with.


Wednesday Lisa, my very talented and prolific artist friend came over.  We like to catch up at least once a month…….


……’cause we always have so much fun!


Have I mentioned the amazing Marsha Ramos before?  We first met when she was mayor of Burbank and we co-judged the Burbank students entries for the State Wide ‘Water is Life’ poster contest.  The winner has a good shot at being in the year’s calendar published by the utilities company. Back to Marsha….her company, will give you a clue.  Marsha is bent on saving the planet, one cause at a time.  She is an addicted volunteer and my template for doing good.  Thursday evening Marsha hosted a meet and greet for the community to get to know Mark Scott, our new City Manager.  After I posted his picture on Facebook I got a call from designer Rosanne Sachson in Portland.  She used to work & live in Beverly Hills & she & Mark were best buds.  He even closed Wilshire Blvd. for one of her ‘charity walks’. The world is definitely getting smaller. Here’s Mark.


The event was also to introduce the community to Scott La Chasse, Burbank’s new Chief of Police.


Awesome Marsha…..always in the middle of things!


Here’s Randall Williams, Art Rock Star!!!  We spent a few moments arguing about who was the most amazing…..


Friday, lunch with Brenda Cooper was the best, best time! Now there’s a REAL rock star!


Last year Michael & Laurie came to the studio to create their Christmas cards.  They stay in Palos Verdes (from RI) for a couple of weeks and this year the trip was repeated.  They are so cute!


Here’s Michael’s painting….This is the view from his front yard.  Working from a photo, I darkened the dock so he could see it better and added a Pine tree with snow to make it more Christmassy. Imagine waking up to that every morning!!!


Fortunately Nikka was working here that day so she scanned the paintings and printed 50 cards of each for them.  Boy were they ever happy!


Sunday was the best day ever with Sandie Reilly coming over to work on a Christmas card but since that’s the start of a new week I’ll just say… be continued.

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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.