Saturday, March 22, 2014


We had a 2.5 hour drive to Nikko National Park with the first stop being Toshogu Shrine with the Yomeimon Gate. Yomeimon Gate is also called Higurashino-mon or 'The Gate Where People Stop to Look'. It was evident why this is designated as a national treasure.
Miss Judith uses the golden bowl for the purification ceremony before entering.
Amazing details......

Bonnie is feeling the energy from the trees while Pam sees a great photo opp....
Hear no evil, speak no evil and see no evil.....good plan!
We then took Irohazaka Road, as it zigzagged along with it's....hold your breath....scary, sharp curves, to Lake Chuzenji. And yes, that's snow!
We arrived just as the fire crew was holding a drill (almost 8,000 feet above sea level.)  They were the cutest.
Time for lunch.....fresh trout caught just this morning.
This was my view for lunch........
On to Kegon Waterfall, one of the 3 greatest in Japan, near Lake Chuzenji.....this water falls powerfully straight down and takes your breath away!

Inspiration for a painting!
The 'plan' was to get back in time to change for our dinner at one of the most famous sushi restaurants in Japan and possibly the world!  However.....there was an accident ahead on the road back and we had to take an alternative route and go directly to Kyubey in  the elegant Ginza district. It's not unusual for VIP's to use their private jets to bring this sushi master for a private dinner anywhere in the world!  In this tony district and restaurant, we arrived looking like bedragled farmers but somehow it didn't matter.  This was a sublime meal of a lifetime!

Boyd was deep in conversation with Charlie and Bonnie while Wilbur and Pam are engaging our sushi master.  Meanwhile, Miss Judith presented our sushi master with a sketch she did of him along with an invitation to come visit when in California.  It was all so charming!
The adventure continues....wait 'till you hear about the next day!!!

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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.