Sunday, April 27, 2014


…..or am I?  It was startling to feel the pressure of living in L.A. as soon as I was back at LAX from Japan.  Besides the city looking dreary during the drive back, I could physically feel the pressure of the city after over two weeks of total stress free living in Japan.  Was that just me?  Then Colleen phoned and we had a long talk about it.  As many of you know, Colleen in an amazing set designer and she has worked many, many times in Japan…….Colleen said she always felt the same when returning.  I was discussing this during class at the Huntington and Nancy had the most amazing observation…..she said it’s because everyone in Japan is secure, no matter what they do they know where they fit into the society and are at peace with that.  Here,  no one feels secure and everyone is striving to be more, have more, be up on the latest. Thank you Nancy for that insight!


Funny, even in the wealthiest homes in Japan, I didn’t see any ‘new stuff’.  Where was the new stuff?  Part of it could be even if they did go shopping at the rate we do….there’d be no place to put it!

Jet lag really did me in for over a week I was a zombie but gradually got my ‘clock’ back on schedule and felt so much better.  The classes always help because there is so much creativity and joy all around one has to feel great!

Kita was her usual joyful puppy self and wasted no time in demolishing this ‘Level 9’ indestructible toy Nikka got her.


She also had a new boyfriend for a week as Trudy was dog sitting Benny….the sweetest rescued puppy ever!

006e Come back soon Benny! Kita’s moping around waiting for you!!!


No wonder, look how precious he is!


A great consolation was a trip to the park.


And meeting new friends.


It was so good to see Tomiko and be back at Bar Verde where they actually missed me but still no plaque on my booth! Tomiko tries so hard to put up with my constant picture taking!


We both agreed that the scallops with the most incredible risotto was one of the best dishes we’ve had anywhere.


And what is in this jar of utter yummyness?


Of course, no words needed.


Precious Amy brought this exquisite,  floral creation for Easter.  Heartfelt thanks Amy!

Call Amy at: 818.625.5243

Everything she does is filled with love!


Easter was different I must say.  Catered by Chef Sevan at Recess on upper Brand, we could have fed an army!


So cute……


It went with this for the ‘more is more’ theory….


And so it goes…..two classes in the studio with amazing work being produced…..Here’s the first one.


Amy and Kathy painted exquisite Cherry blossoms.


Here’s Kathy’s….love it!


I’m so glad awesome Lynne T. stopped by after class.


Oh joy!


During the week Kathy and sweet Lynne came over for a ‘mounting’ tutorial!


Thank you dear Lynne for this exquisite hand blown hummingbird feeder!


It’s up and in the garden right next to ‘The Fred’.


What’s ‘The Fred’?  A birdhouse designed by architect Ralph Rapson and gifted to me by Monique, my awesome architect.


It even made the newspaper recently.


On to the sublime and a gift hand carried by my dear Clara from Paris.  She knows I’m crazy for Foie Gras and I’m embarrassed to say I did not share this delectable treat!


But wait….there’s more….If you’ve never tasted fresh Laduree Macaron’s in or from Paris then I can’t even begin to describe their heavenly taste sensation.  Two macaron’s filled with an ambrosia of a ganache filling that literally melt in your mouth as your eyes roll back in your head.  That’s right, no sharing of these and besides they had to be eaten right away! Thank you dear Clara for this sublime treat and especially for your thoughtfulness!


Friday Kita went to the vet because of an ear infection.  Waiting for her I watched the fashion parade….I asked this gal to pose so I could photograph her shoes!


We love Dr. Aberman, Kita’s vet at VCA in Burbank.


Everything was made all better by these super treats from new student Laura’s company.


Class yesterday in the studio was delightful.  It was so gratifying to see and hear my beautiful students loving the scroll I recently completed.


And even taking pictures of it!


Oh Laurie you’re so cute!


Even more gratifying was seeing K.C.’s beautiful Cherry blossoms…..


And Amy’s beautiful roses!


After class dear Lisa came by and we had a wonderful ‘catch-up’ time!


Can’t end this blog without pictures of some of the pups I’ve seen since back.








Wishing you grand adventures!

Thursday, April 10, 2014


Courtesy Eileen Ogle.

Dateline: Nagano, Japan - Friday March 28th, 2014

Lead by our intrepid guide, Eva-san, shortly after 12 Noon, eight of us arrived at the trail head in the mountains of Nagano to begin hiking through the forest to see the Japanese Macaque Snow Monkeys.  The challenging walking trail was covered with a thick slab of slippery ice that as it melted, made for sloshy, muddy footprints.  While each step had to be carefully selected along the path to avoid falling, we all knew we were headed to a remarkable site at the hot springs used by the monkeys.  Along the uphill one mile trail, there were eleven signs alerting hikers to their progress (1/11, 2/11, 3/11.....) toward reaching the Snow Monkeys which were especially helpful to Judith and myself (Eileen) who slowly were negotiating the trail with hiking poles.

Pam, Wilbur, Charlie, Bonnie & Boyd were the trailblazers as they attempted to reach the Snow Monkeys in time for the "Live Camera' website photo taken at 1:00 P.M.  They were successful!  Pam's L.A. friend, Alita Rabe, captured the Live Cam photo of the five of them with the monkeys and e-mailed it to Pam for all of us to enjoy.

Each day the Live Camera is taking hourly photos which can be accessed at :
Among the 180 Snow Monkeys ranging in age from babies to adults, there is "The Boss" monkey who we learned may not be the largest male but the strongest.  The Snow Monkeys had no problem moving around the dozen or so human visitors during our stay at the hot springs so you felt you were able to quietly take photos without provoking any aggressive behavior from the monkeys.

After spending an hour or so admiring these amazing creatures in their open environment, we bid them goodbye and started back down the snow laden path with lighter spirits for having had such a special opportunity to share time with the Japanese Macaque Snow Monkeys.

(Thank  you Eileen for writing this and special thanks to Bonnie & Charlie for suggesting such a fine and memorable adventure!)


Just overnight in Osaka.  It's hard to believe that my artwork had traveled to Osaka 20 years prior to my being here. (It was in an exhibit sponsored by Sony that later traveled to Paris.)

With special thanks to Amy for being such a wonderful guide during the second half of our journey.  Kind, thoughtful and so considerate of our needs down to making sure we all got to each designated flight on time. Thank you Amy!

The 'taxi's' in Japan are all like 'limos'!  The drivers wear white gloves and escort you into a spotless black sedan. A beautiful, new white covering is over the drivers seat.

It's hard to imagine but these lovely, petite girls do all the heavy lifting onto the weight scale.  They are so efficient and courteous....I'm loving it!

Because I was flying 'Business Class'  from Tokyo, I was invited to wait in their special lounge area.

And oh the food and service there.......

They made sure to tell me when it was time to head toward my gate.  Honestly, I hated to leave! Oh well....

The cutest part.....before the flight is announced, the girl bows to the waiting, seated passengers.  And the stewardesses all bow and march onto the plane in a neat, lovely line.

They are soooo cute!

I love JAL....I love this plane!!!  I had a Sky Suite with it's own 23" TV and a seat that you could convert into a bed!  WOW!!!

And the food....

I decided to go for the Japanese menu to extend the adventure as long as possible!

Second course....

And throughout the flight you could have all the fruit, ice cream & drinks you desired.  I also opted for the 'Japanese' breakfast.  While indulging in all this beautiful & most delicious food I was able to watch current movies on my 23" personal TV.  I stumbled across the most delightful Japanese movie based on a true story of two people who lived during the time of the Samuri.  It's a sweet love story revolving around how they developed the most amazing recipes that are still used today.  I highly recommend this movie!  "A TRUE LOVE STORY" (A Tale of Samuri Cooking').  Sure hope Netficks has it!

Back home the house appeared surprisingly large to me and it was so lovely to see the roses blooming

Hopefully I brought back enough of my favorite 'snacks' to see me through 're-entry'!


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.