Sunday, April 6, 2014


We got excited when we saw a few deer as the bus entered the city of Nara.  It's here that the world's largest bronze casting, the GIANT Daibutsu sits in the Todai-ji Temple.  The Buddha sits in the 'Daibutsuden' (the largest wooden structure on earth!)

What about the deer you ask????
Considered sacred, the deer roam about freely as messengers of the gods in Shinto tradition. For 1,500 yen you can buy cookies to feed them as they're quite tame and will eat right out of your hand.  Be careful 'cause they'll 'butt' you if you run out of cookies!

this guys going to run out of cookies!

Where's my cookie?

Cute kids making the 'V' sign.....everone does it when having their picture taken.

My attempt at a 'selfie'! Yes 'dear', I love you too! Kissy,kissy!

Time for a nap after eating all those cookies!

Sooooooo beautiful.......

Right nearby is the Kasuga Shrine dating back to 768 and deemed a National Heritage Site. The surrounding area is a 'natural' forest as compared to so many others (including in the mountains) that have been planted!

Home of over 1,600 stone lanters and about the same number in bronze (along with two 'Art Institute' lions!

We saw this little family bringing their baby boy for 'batism' to the Shinto Shrine.  It's customary to do this and boys have a red mark on their forhead so they will grow tall and girls have another indicating 'delicate'.  The boys are wrapped in black kimono's. This is a very happy and proud moment! Grandma holds baby!

Eileen & Miss Judith....

With over 3,000 lanterns behind me....

Miss Judith, not what did I tell you about not feeding the deer?

They don't mind their manners and will not 'sit' when told Miss Judith!


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.