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!

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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.