Sunday, December 29, 2013

HO, HO, HO……..

…..I always say, start the week off right with Sandie Girl and what better way to do it than a Christmas party!  I couldn’t wait to see the tree that Jim got…..Oh my….any taller & they’d have to cut an opening in the vaulted ceiling!  Way to go Jim!!!


Sandie and Jim have the nicest friends and I’m so blessed to be included in the feasting, fun and frivolity! The table was soooo beautiful…


But I know you, you want to hear about the food.  We all had our assignment.  Mine was the salad and I brought my standby fruit and spring lettuce.  Oranges, grapefruit, cranberries, pecans and avocado go into it and the dressing is a honey/lemon with mint & EVOO. Has anyone else noticed the garden mint has dwindled down to just bits here & there?  I never noticed it was seasonal until I went out to cut some.  (The dressing absolutely MUST have fresh mint!)


I’m getting ahead of myself.  Linda was in charge of the appetizers which we had in the living room (dwarfed by that tree!)



Hi Sandie!


O.K., back to dinner…..Sandie was in charge of the entree a lovely fish (halibut?) with shrimp and oh that yummy sauce.


Isn’t there a nursery rhyme for peas?


Jim was in charge of the entertainment during dinner and gave us a Christmas test… sort of gulp when it’s your turn to answer but I didn’t do too badly.  Good job Jim….tough ones!

Anna brought desert…..fresh fruit with delicious lemon bars ( no photo of those).


Show time……extraordinary photo’s from Sandie & Jim’s African safari….lions and tigers and bears…oh my.  (Woops, that’s something else….)



Anna & Don with Linda & Vick…………020

Afterwards we opened presents and played charades in the living room and I will tell you, you don’t know the meaning of fun until you’ve participated in charades at Sandie & Jim’s! Now here’s a stumper for you…..Among other gifts, Sandie & I gave each other a kitchen towel.  Now tell me what are the odds of that????  I’ll let you ponder while I continue on to Vanya’s annual bash on Monday.

Good thing George, Valerie’s driver was in charge (picking me up at mom’s) as we had to travel the 405…ho, ho, ho….Special thanks Valerie for the ride….always wonderful catching up!


Here’s Valerie’s sister Vanya, our beautiful hostess….gosh, their parents must have been stunners….what a gene pool!


Yours truly with Wm. Pennell Rock( who came with Suzanne Taylor of ‘What on Earth? Inside the Crop Circle Mystery’ fame) and Virginia Kazanjian who always wears the coolest hats!


There was champagne and so much delicious food along with a huge pot of chili with all the trimmings so I’ll just show you one beautiful plate.  I didn’t get around to sampling this….any guesses my foodie friends?


In Christmas red, Francophile Michele…


But you know me….it’s food and PUPS and they don’t get much cuter than this one! (I would be terrified of crushing this little bundle of fluff as they’re always underfoot.)


Moving on….is it Christmas yet? Well, it was for Kita as Santa left her this.


Honey Baked to the rescue….


We needed sugar….


Vicki loved her bag……


Charles, get off the phone and open your presents!


Mom loves the tree upstairs.  One more year of puppyhood for Kita & we’ll be able to get the ‘grown up’ tree downstairs.


Are you ready for this one???  I don’t think so….here goes.

Just as mom and Nikka left I hear Vicki shouting….of course I grabbed my phone/camera!  There in the entry was an escapee from a block down the hill (right next to the house under construction).  He immediately had to run in and examine my closet….(must be metro-sexual)….at which time I swooped him up.


Here’s grateful neighbor Dan who was actually dog sitting for his sister!  He had been driving up and down the hill looking for this little rascal.


Kita went absolutely nuts, sniffing like mad where ever the little pup had been!


Po Chu  requested LOTUS for Saturday’s class and Nikka put it on YouTube….just enter Nan Rae to find it. If you find it helpful, we’ll try to do more.




005 Then I demonstrated how to do a shadowy background.

136 Next time you need coffee…..


I’m so delighted that Dane Pascoe’s book ‘The Zen of Teaching’ has been re-published.  It’s a great gift idea at $9.95 & you can order it through my website (There’s also a Facebook click thru on the Nan Rae Fine Art page.)


Thank you Mireya for these scrumptious treats!!


Wishing you sweetness throughout the coming year!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013


……Our annual Christmas party is always so joyful and somehow Christmas would not be the same without it!

This blog is mostly for you foodies out there because after all, it’s all about the food….isn’t it???  Food prepared with LOVE of course!

Let’s start with desert.  This heavenly creation was made by Colleen and is a tower of whipped cream with delicious chocolate wafers……mmmmmmm good!


Colleen also made this delicious poppy seed creation, one of her mother’s famous recipes!


Candy and cookies galore and it was tempting to go straight to the sweets until Kathy’s ham was unwrapped.  Oh my, you’ll just have to get the recipe from her as she’s a master class at this and then with the sweet buns for the ham….deliriously good!


Spring rolls of course. (After all, this is a Chinese Brush painting class!)


Violet made the most delicious ribs but I don’t think I got a photo of them.  Say, what is Laurie going for? (she brought a salad but who brought the cream puffs and Panettone????)


What I know for sure is that Sandie brought the most delicious crab terrine from Julienne’s ….on Mission in San Marino, with a bag of their awesome Black Olive Parmesan toast….and another super cheese.  Oh boy!

I think this delectable spread was from sweet Diana.


And delightful Kaley, Kathy’s 13 year old daughter (going on 21) made a special treat just for me.  Panna Cotta…my favorite! Ohhh it’s sooooo good!


Among Kaley’s many talents, she is also designing a line of charming greeting cards…here’s just one.  Contact me or Kathy to see the others…..they’re just what you need to write a little note on.

118 112

And so, from yours truly and the most wonderful students any teacher could ever hope for, MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL with wishes for a beautiful year to come!

Sunday, December 22, 2013


…..and the wonderful thing about blogging is being able to look back and see all the extraordinary events that would otherwise just be a blur like those speeded up traffic video’s. It helps to be fully present but having a photo and some notes makes sure nothing gets tossed into the ‘sea of forgetfulness’! Then too, there are events worthy of being shared and I had more than my share this week.

The yearly brunch at Rose & Ken’s is always meaningful as it’s a time to ‘catch up’ with people I rarely see. It’s good to have a reminder to keep in touch with people we care for and making sure they know it! Driving there with Joan is a bonus in the ‘catch-up’ department.


What struck me the most?????  Blondie, their two year old Golden who started the day like this…


….and ended it like this….


…..No kidding, she didn’t move at all and I suspect it’s because she had too much of this…Perhaps I should get one for Kita.


…..After stopping at mom’s I dashed off to Pirch for some last minute gifts and discovered the chef’s in the back who gladly ply you with food….which was just what I needed after that BIG brunch!


Tuesday Clara and I were to be at ‘Eliot Project’s’ first collection hosted by Gratus, a Beverly Hills boutique on Canon.  Clara decided to have dinner at Mastro’s which is right down the block.  Well, I thought I had entered a man cave…’s a toss back to the fifties (shrimp cocktails?) when real men ate real meat!!!!  Women were outnumbered about 10 to 1.

O.K. Clara, go ahead…. let’s see who can finish this carnivore's delight after you just had a crab cake and I polished off two marrow bones.  Help!!! (The mashed potatoes were Clara’s idea….I’m innocent!)


I wasn’t kidding about the marrow bones but forgot to mention the Caesar salad.  Gosh you’d think we were going to dig ditches somewhere! Kita was delirious with the bones and with the extras the server placed in my ‘doggie bag’. 


Back to what really matter’s.  Eliot Project’s is the brilliant creation of Elizabeth’s son John-David along with his partner, designed to create chemo port accessible FASHION clothing with the purchases used  to fund art classes for cancer patients and survivors.  This is done through developed to empower through the creative process.  Do yourself a favor and check it out…I promise you you’ll be inspired.

Here’s Lizzie with son John-David who I must add is a Harvard University Fellow and not the movie star you’re thinking he might be.


And here’s yours truly with Lizzie….gosh I love her!


Meanwhile, Clara’s checking out the boutique…



048 And here’s some of the amazing fashions….



Crowd scene….


The big disappointment was to have missed Miss Judith and Eileen who left early to bring care and comfort to a needy friend.  They are truly my templates for being a friend. Next day ….class at the Huntington where I was barely able to demonstrate these Koi (Carp in China) as I was feeling like a hibernating bear after Mastro’s!.


And of course Thursday evening it was time to bring a yummy dinner to mom and Nikka.  I always try for something different but as it was pouring the only choice was giving the car to the valet on Brand and then walking thru the Americana condo lobby to Nordstrom for Bar Verde.  (The still don’t have the plaque at my booth so I sat at the bar.) Can you see the TWO hamburgers the fellow next to me devoured? WOW, talk about carnivores.


Hiro Christoph, the manager was there…’s always fun to see him…..


…..and he brought me a complimentary Ahi Tuna Poke while I was waiting……I was stunned but quite happy about it!


Friday I went to Chinatown to pick up Tony’s amazing work (why didn’t I take pictures of it?????? Bummer…… and also deliver Lynne’s beautiful work to be framed and mounted.  It was the very last day Agnes would accept any art work and how we will all miss her.  I told her the class would love to take her to lunch when she settles into her ‘retirement’.

I think Saturday’s annual class Christmas party was so special it should have a separate blog…..sooooo…to be continued.


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.