Wednesday, March 19, 2014


‘Ernest & Celestine’ is quite possibly the most precious movie ever about the friendship between  plucky Celestine, a little mouse, and Ernest, a grumpy bear.


The story is charming and the animation is sublime! Handcrafted watercolour backgrounds and hand sketched characters…delicately and lovingly drawn.


Of course the fact that it’s about a little mouse who draws makes it even dearer to my heart! And you will love Celestine’s voice!


It’s always about the brush isn’t it?


‘The Wind Rises’ is about Jiro who dreams of flying (and not just sushi). This masterpiece is by Hayo Miyazaki and well may be his last.  It’s a powerfully animated historical drama, touching in spite of the sad undertone.


So sweet but brace yourself…..


This is definitely not a Walt Disney movie.032

Not as charming as Ernest & Celestine but important nevertheless.  And of course I’m interested now in all matters Japanese.


O.K., from the sublime to the outrageous. I’ve always been a huge fan of Elaine Stritch, the irascible New York institution.  She’s profane,  funny, and totally relentless.


This film follows her at 87 and you see the good, the bad and the ugly.  There’s so much that’s thought provoking that I’d say it’s a must see.


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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.