Tuesday, January 28, 2014


……Not so easy when you take a time out but somehow do-able and I’m trying to play catch-up. Where was I? Oh yes, ages ago, perhaps around the middle of the month I saw ‘August: Osage County’.

002  Somehow the movie made dysfunctional and family said together seem redundant.  Mark Twain said that when you write you should throw out all your ‘pearls’, those things that come so easily and that you think are soooo very clever.  Perhaps if these brilliant actors had pulled back and done that it would have become a more important, meaningful movie….But then again, it was a stage play and perhaps acted as such in the movie. What do you think?

004    I think Nebraska was a better portrayal of characters that have some similarities to ‘A:OC’.  For one, Bruce Dern held back all his ‘Brucies’ or ‘Dernsies’ as some fellow actors call his ‘tricks’.  A very laid back, subtle performance.


Dinner at Bar Verde afterwards helped somewhat.


I’d never been to ‘Romancing the Bean’ in Burbank and Lynne T. has been raving about it so I suggested Lisa PHC and I meet there.  I love it! Farm fresh and oh so cute!


This is the back of a chair….SOOOOO COOL!


More cuteness……Hi Lisa!


That Wednesday I had seven new students at the Huntington and we had a grand time.  (Not everyone got into the picture. Shy?)


The next day I had a repeat performance of that nasty bug that laid me low a couple of months ago.  Got a Z-Pak (is that correct?) from my doctor and tried to behave myself.  Sweet Amy came by with all manner of ‘treatments’ from Whole Foods. Orange juice, soup, raspberries, a special tea ………….


……..and most importantly, ‘Bio-K’ which is some kind of a wonder working product that one should take when on anti-biotics.  Thank you so much precious Amy, I’ll never forget your going out at night to do that for me!


So, class on the 18th was cancelled and I tried to stay in bed.  Nikka and Kim somehow got all the detritus in the studio closets tossed and now we’re so organized I can hardly cope!


Sandie came over Monday to pick up her catalog and cards and that was almost as good as ‘Sunday’s With Sandie’!  Special thanks for the beautiful tulips Sandie which lasted a week!


I had an appointment in Beverly Hills and hunger got the best of me so a stop upstairs at Barney’s for a Ruben at Greengrass’s was called for. Caution, caution….something has changed and they’re just not the same. Even the cole slaw was flat. Boo hoo! I guess Canter’s and dumpy Billy’s in Glendale are still the best.


Meet Mr. Peeper’s, Adrianna’s one & only!


Chocolate decadence was my desert after an elegant dinner at caviar heaven… Petrossian’s on North Robertson in West Hollywood. 


Sweet Diana in class on Saturday.  I love reading her daily ‘Gratitude’ postings on Facebook!


And here’s the class….(Kathy brought yummy Panna Cotta from Kaley….oh my gosh I’m sooo spoiled!)


Thank you Diane for the beautiful Ranunculus.


  I see a new ‘subject’ coming on.009 Now Pooh is trying to give you a clue about my next blog albeit not a very good one.  Hint:  It’s all about food.  Another hint?  Think Japan.


Tuesday, January 14, 2014


Oh yes, New Year’s…..my resolution and all.  Still can’t tell but I’ve come close to non compliance several times. (Confession is good for the soul.)

Thank you Mason Williams for always remembering me at Christmas.  You truly are a ‘Classical Gas!’ Next time you’re in L.A. I shall shadow you to meet Ed Ruscha.


Neighbors took me to dinner at ‘The Smokehouse’, a Burbank ‘classic’ for a trillion years.  A woman standing  in front our table had her pen & pad at the ready so I asked her to tell me about the salmon.  She replied, “I don’t know anything about the salmon.”  Well, I thought I’d try another approach and asked how the salmon was prepared….you know, what came with it.  Again I got the same answer only to be told by my hosts that she was there to take our picture.  Thanks, but no thanks.  You’d think one faux pas would be enough for the evening but oh no……The next gal who came by carried the longest stemmed roses ever and kept trying to hand them to me.  ‘No thank you’ says I, ‘I have them in my garden’.  (It reminded me of the little kids in China.) She persisted and finally my hosts told me they had been purchased and to PLEASE TAKE THE ROSES!  Woops!

What about the salmon you asked as I digressed…..don’t bother ordering it.


Calligraphy class on Saturday was wonderful with two new students for Tom.  Delightful Diana and Bridget both Kung Fu Black Belts so don’t mess with them.  They’re mighty powerful.


Thank you Miss Judith for this delightful surprise!  Looks too pretty to sample!

090 And a special thanks to Tom for this awesome calligraphy via Miss Judith.   It says  ‘Blessings!’ Perfect!!!


Stylish Violet was just back from Hong Kong.


Time for dumplings at Din Tai Fung in Americana.


Tomiko serves up the beef soup.  Delicious but the beef is not the easiest to eat.


What we came for….Dumplings!  The pork filled ones are the best!019

I hadn’t planned it  but this may have been my personal best for number of movies seen in one week starting with ‘Frozen’.


I loved this guy!032

Ron Burgundy (Anchorman)


Fantastic ensemble acting in ‘American Hustle’


Bring lots of Kleenex for ‘Saving Mr. Banks’


‘Nebraska’, Bruce Dern’s tour de force role of a lifetime.


‘The Great Beauty’, an Italian film, shades of Ingmar Bergman.  Will someone please explain this movie to me?


Did you count?  That’s right…..seven movies.  I still don’t know how it happened.  I  managed to get some work done with the highlight of the week being…. lunch with precious Lisa.


We met at Tender Greens in Pasadena and the gal to my right was reading what looked like a very interesting book.  (I’m going to try and control myself in the book buying department as I’ve finally admitted I’m addicted.)


Of course a week isn’t complete without more foodie photos so here’s one from Le Pain Quotidien.


And a stop at Katsuya….


Time to have a party!  It’s Vicki’s birthday!


Gourmet 88 of course!


Let’s hear it for the cake….Red Velvet from Cheesecake!


Emma & BF Joseph are in charge of the cleanup.


Later I watched the raising & training of the Lipizzaner stallions on PBS (second time.)


If you have a re-sale number, this is the best place to go for framing supplies.



Time to put away Christmas in the studio!


I thought as long as we have a lot of ‘stuff’ out of the closets, why not take everything out and get organized for the new year.  I had no idea……

There was so much stuff….




Kim & Nikka worked two days well into the evening….placing things in either the trash, re-cycle, or Goodwill piles. My job as chief supervisor was to look at everything and decide which stack it should go into. We’re down to the fine tuning now and that could very well be the most difficult.

Time for a break.  Tomiko & I went to see ‘Peter and the Star Catcher’ at the Ahmanson.


We had decided ahead of time that instead of Kendall’s we’d try the ‘Taco truck’ that always had so many people lining up.


We went back for seconds….


It’s a long story but suffice it to say we wound up in one of the boxes……right close to the stage. Here’s our view of the audience.


The play was wonderful…..the best we’ve seen in a long time and the audience caught every funny line as they went rolling by lickety split. Just in case you’re not familiar with the plot, it’s the story of how Peter Pan and Captain Hook came into their personas.  Hysterical throughout. Can you see the piano player to the left?


Here he is….


Time to say goodbye for now….



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.