Thursday, October 30, 2014


Sunday we were treated to a lecture by Priscilla Gibbs, noted authority on the Japanese Tea Ceremony and ceramics in the LACMA collection. Priscilla had us all enthralled as she explained all the accouterments used in the ceremony.

I was delighted that Heidi and Sam could join us.  Heidi is a new student in the studio and she and Sam are world class travelers.

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First an overview of the tour…...

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Beautiful Monica shows us one type of tea used.

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Lizzie is delighted with another…..

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The phrase ‘something up their sleeve’ is certainly true in this case as Pricilla kept pulling things out of hers!

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This horse didn’t have anything to do with the tea ceremony but we all loved it!

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One of the items Priscilla did not have up her sleeve….

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However, this whisk was!  It’s made from a solid piece of bamboo!

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These ‘Plates of the 12 Lunar Months’ by Ogata Kenzan 1663-1743 were so lovely and fascinating….They are earthenware with underglaze enamels and Brush painters may see them at by searching in the Japanese Pavilion section of their website and also hear the poem inscribed on the back of the ‘Plum Blossoms’ plate and the ‘Mandarin Duck’ plate. Even today ceramics are made in the Kenzan style.

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This tea bowl was exquisite and we hope to go see the ‘Raku family potters’ in Kyoto in the fall of 2015

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I love Monica.  She’s in my class at the Huntington and I call her my ‘Cy Twombly’!

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Miss Judith was my ‘uber driver’ and her friend Diane and Lizzie Girl were also in the car.  We were famished after all that learning and where better to head to than Joan’s on 3rd!

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So much yumminess in one place…...

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Lizzie, Diane and Miss Judith….

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I was so excited I forgot to photograph the lobster roll.  Oh my….such goodness!  At 11:00 P.M. I wished I had gotten one to go….would have made a perfect midnight snack!

Oh well…. Lizzie and I settled on ice-cream cones to go…..

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Wishing you a week of yumminess!

Monday, October 27, 2014


…..and who better to enjoy this great musical with than Sandie Girl and Dr. Jim.  I am getting so spoiled having everyone pick me up at mom’s but it really is so convenient for all…..On the way to the Pantages, Sandie showed me the Christmas Stocking she had finished for Jacob…AKA Jakey.  It is so utterly amazing I immediately wanted to open up a needlepoint shop with Sandie as the chief creator.  The variety, complexity and sheer brilliance of the stitchery knocked me out.  Here…. see for yourself!


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Up close…...

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They’re used to my taking a photo of every moment and gladly (I hope) comply.

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Just before the show, Sandie & I were chatting away & I said…”Did I tell you I saw Gone Girl last week”……Well….by the way Sandie looked at me …..oh dear…..”Did I see it with you?”  says I.  This is definitely not good but I’m trying to get over it.  Hope I remember seeing Jersey Boys with them.

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The Pantages lets out around 4:00 and many places are closed on Sundays or don’t open until 5:30 - 6:00.  I suggested Little Dom’s on Hillhurst as we could always sit in the bar until 5:30 and snack away.  

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As it turned out, a table in the bar opened up and we decided to just stay there, snack and have dinner which you can order from the bar as well.  For starters….Little Dom’s does have the best pizza….nice thin crust and great toppings which Jim selected.

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Then we had this fig thingie….good but not terribly ‘figgie’….

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Our server was terrific and went along with all our carrying on…….

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I thought this was yummy but no surprise as I’m such a carnivore.

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Unfortunately dessert was a hot mess so I won’t show you.

Sandie Girl came over the next day and we had great fun working on Christmas cards.  

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For the bonus round Sandie brought dinner from Julienne’s on Mission in San Marino.  Always a yummy treat….thank you Sandie!

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Next day cute Cris came to the studio…..

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Now here’s the thing….you know how Kita loves to jump up and dance with everyone….well, with Connor she decided to show off how well she can shake hands…or is that paws...

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I digress…..why is this stuff from the Trader’s so yummy!  It has just too many calories if you eat the whole thing as I am prone to do….oh dear...

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Errands at Americana brought me back to Bar Verde but somehow it’s not the same without Chef Lauren.  The skirt steak was very tasty but missing the secret ingredient...

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It was Aliced in Wonderland day at Sephora and the White Rabbit was there….

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….another White Rabbit? Or is it the Red Queen with ears???

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I’m not quite sure why Trudy thought this football would be a good toy for Kita.  It lasted about 30 minutes.  Oh well, it is the thought that counts….isn’t it?

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Cheesecake Factory was the dinner of choice at mom’s Thursday and I’ve figured out if I phone them about 20 minutes ahead my order will await pickup when I walk in. I always get the Skinnylicious Salmon so I can devour the bread and butter.  I guess I’m kidding myself aren’t I? 

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Friday I had the most delightful time at Diane’s.  You can see why I’m smiling so because right behind me….

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….are these wonderful horses….

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After a delicious lunch….

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I was given the grand tour and it was like being in an English Mannor House!

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For those of you who do not know, Diane’s husband Peter was the only actor licensed by the Trustees of the A.A. Milne estate to read the ‘Pooh’ stories on stage and in live performances.  He was every single voice!!!….yes, the one and only, delightful Pooh Bear!

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And Diane’s home is truly a treasure trove of memorabilia….

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Yes, that’s the one and only Christopher Robin!

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A.A. Milne

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Soooooo Cute….

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Actual road sign from their home in England...


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Being an actress Diane payed homage to the great theatrical stars of times past.  This is so very clever as she made copies of photo’s of the greats that she had and pasted them throughout the ‘loo’.

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There are so many hummingbirds around the feeders but they got too shy when I wanted to take a photo…You can barely see one perched on a branch….

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This magnificent fellow was spotted on the way to Shadow Hills and he thoughtfully remained in the same place in order for me to take his picture as I returned home.

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Class Saturday was great fun as I tortured everyone with the Mum leaf!

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But after lunch….

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Clara painted a beautiful Peony…….

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Kathy, thank you for these….I din’t think I was supposed to eat so many at once but it was like popcorn and besides, they’re small!

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Nikka and I spent the rest of the day/evening working on a new website….more on that later.

Have a wonderful week!


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.