Tuesday, July 29, 2014


…..is becoming a tradition with ME being taken out.  Shouldn’t it be the other way around??? ……..Just saying….. Anyway, I’ll drink to that!


It was so good to see Lauren…..we’ve missed her…..


Foodie Sandie picked ‘Alta Eats’ tucked away on the Altadena/Pasadena borders.  This place is so cool they don’t have any signage or address in front. It’s such great fun to discover new places that have young and inventive chefs!


I have a theory that you can always tell a good/great restaurant by the quality of their bread and theirs is terrific!


Pate anyone?


The ‘table’ also got Bacon Wrapped Dates…..sooooo good! Lauren & I got the Scallops & Sandie got the pan seared Duck breast  which was amazing.  Dr. Jim chose to order half a cow…..it’s his B-day!  I was taking bets on his ability to finish it.  I should know better.

I forget what this was but lets just call it scrumptious!


And for lovers of all things chocolate…..


After dinner we headed back to Reilly Manor.  Sandie showed me the amazing Christmas stocking she is needle pointing for grandson Jakey.  He’ll be three by Christmas and this will be completed.


This is so intricate & exquisite…..I wish you could see the details….




A world of thanks Sandie Girl for such a treat & memorable evening!

Backtracking to last Sunday when Tomiko and I saw ‘The Third Person’ at the Laemmle in Pasadena. This was absolutely the strangest movie, hard to follow but with great acting and wonderful scenes of New York, Paris & Italy.  Weird but I loved it.


Afterwards we went to Roy’s…..


…..and had ‘ringside’ seats…..gosh I love this!


Maui Wowie Shrimp Salad


If you want lots of different, wonderful tastes, the ‘Canoe Appetizer for Two’ is the thing to get.  Tai Peanut Chicken Satay, Vegetable Spring Roll, Szechuan Ribs, Spicy Tuna Roll and Kim Chee & Shrimp


The following day…..I was hungry……..

Lunch with awesome Laura Shannon and lovely Christina, her BFF from grade school……


Can you guess where????


We couldn’t decide which dessert was the most scrumptious……


O.K., did you guess Bar Verde?  Not a tough quiz now was it????  I had to try on Christina’s movie star glasses….


Came home to Trudy walking Willie….In addition to her duties with Kita, she’s baby sitting this little fluff…..


Trudy always has doggie treats in her pocket and Kita has her begging routine down…..


Lizzie came over the next day and we worked on two Landscape paintings.


The first was a Landscape begun in Henry Li’s workshop.  It was quite a complicated scene but Lizzie had such beautiful areas in it we had fun bringing it all together and later I mounted it.


The second painting was the first Landscape subject that I have everyone start with and Lizzie finished it up.  Also mounted.


Had to show you this beauty.  A Thunderbird classic at Tony’s Automotive when I went to get gas.



Saturday’s class in the studio was so much fun and everyone did beautifully!



Thank you sweet Diana for the lovely orchid….I have just the place for it!


Monday, July 21, 2014


…..bon vi-vant, mom’s favorite peep and general ‘man about town’!

We began at ‘The Fig and Olive’ at 8490 Melrose Place in North Hollywood.  (Tomiko & I would get glammed up at Frederic Fekkai just down the block. Or is it ‘up the block’?).  Anyway, back to ‘The Fig and Olive’…oh my gosh I love this place….Here’s Rex with the delicious gazpacho that we had…..


Since it’s the Fig and  ‘OLIVE’, you get an olive oil tasting!


Rex’s favorite water…….hard to find….


I think this was the Truffle Mushroom Croquette with Cremini mushrooms, parmesan béchamel & Truffle Olive Oil aioli…for the table!


Also for the table, Melone & Burrata (a new craving of mine) with Cavaillon melon, Kumato tomato radicchio, micro-arugula, basil olive oil emulsion….Arbosana Olive Oil.  Did I say I love this place???


I had Poached Eggs with Prosciutto & Mushroom on toasted crostone bread, mushroom, gruyere béchamel, sautéed cremini mushroom with onions and prosciutto served with a side of mixed salad. Koroneiki Olive Oil. Have you got all that?


Did I mention they have a lot of Olive Oil here?

017 However, Miss Judith is the expert on E.V.O.O. so I’m sticking with her and this amazing Toscano E.V.O.O. ‘Alberto’. Thank you Miss Judith!!!


Totally stuffed and totally happy!


Did I say stuffed? What about dessert???

On to Lady M on 3rd. Now this place has the market on cuteness and the peeps who go there are just way too cute. Here’s ‘Exhibit A’.  It was like being back in Japan!!


More cuteness….love the hat!!!


Don’t even ask!


That’s right, two people, three desserts.  Sounds right to me. ……..I need a nap!


So now I know about two new amazing places thanks to Rex but I had to come up with anything, just something that he didn’t know about. Remembering the awesome meal Clara & I just had at Joss Cuisine in Beverly Hill…… I mentioned it.  Big mistake.  Of course Rex knew all about it…. including the factoid that they used to be ‘Joss/Chinese Haute Cuisine’ on Sunset Boulevard.  Why do I even go there?  It’s impossible, as he really is THE ‘man about town’!

I gave Rex a ‘Hermes assignment.  Do you think he’ll remember?

O.K., back to my little week, most of it spent in recovery from the weekend’s eating orgy.

Let’s chill out for a moment.


Ahhhhhh………………….all better.  We painted Begonia’s in class Wednesday at the Huntington.  Class was rather large and I kept meaning to take a photo of everyone’s work but they kept me too busy….so here’s mine.


After class I delivered a card order to the gift shop and went shopping.  Even though they’re in temporary quarters because of the renovation it’s still the best gift shop in town.


Sweet Amy came over later that evening with incredible figs from her trees.


Thank you Amy, these were truly figalicious.


Amy, you are sooooo thoughtful! THANK YOU!Don’t forget to call Amy for your special floral needs. 818.625.5243


Dr. Moradian, Charles Podiatrist, came over the next day.  He & his wife just had a baby girl and he is so over the moon happy.

Martin Moradian, 1500 S. Central, Glendale 818.243.0400


I don’t know, does this look like a service dog to you?  The rottie is checking him out.


Saturday’s class in the studio was so much fun but Amy’s not quite sure at this moment.

We laughed quite a bit at Facebook ‘stuff’ during lunch, especially Nikka’s creation of ‘Get Happy’ starring Charles, mom, Kita and me!  And, the hysterical (posted on my home page) two cats….titled ‘Being Latino’.  The funniest ever!


Beautiful Violet!

045 Thank you Dr. Eileen for my favorite ‘goop’.  See, the doctor recommended it!


The subject was the Chinese Magnolia and I posted this on Facebook asking people to pick their favorite.


Boo hoo….my CD player broke.  Laurie suggested I go to Costco so off I went but first…..a hot dog!  (I have my priorities!!!)


Fortified, I sauntered into Costco and asked….where are your CD players?  Well, I wish I took a picture of the fellow.  Suffice it to say he informed me I was living in the dark ages.  CD players are sooooo ’yesterday’! Off to Fry’s….ug!


They only had one that plays 5 CD’s.  All the rest had Bluetooth and just played a single CD. Is this too much information?

Kim helped me install the ‘thing’  it looks like a gynormous boom box but does the job.  And I can play my old cassettes on it….so happy!


All’s well that ends well!


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.