Friday, January 2, 2015


Perhaps we should move New Year’s to mid-January or maybe even February.  Does it come too soon for you?  How has your year started…..any resolutions?  I resolve to keep on truckin’ and not make any new resolutions.  

Thirteen fruits are essential in China and the Philippines.  We comply with all regulations around here.  One year, when Charles & I were in Spain for the New Year we happened to be in the tailor shop where Picasso had his capes made (a must stop for me of course)….the owner  tried (language problem) to tell us to eat a grape with each bong of the New Year’s bell.  What was funny was that it took about thirty minutes to figure out the instructions.  We complied. And yes, I still have the cape!

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I am faithfully taking a spoonful of this Manuka honey from New Zealand …..thanks to Miss Judith.  It’s warding off any and all of the bugs that are floating around here.IMG 2121

This was a welcome gift to begin the festivities.IMG 2142

Sir Charles was very delighted with his Platinum Egoiste after shave by Chanel….sooooo nice!

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The most comforting thing I could think of was my famous (well, at least around here) grilled cheese sandwiches made with lots of bacon, heirloom tomatoes and a ton of butter.  Always a requested hit!

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Usually I make the cole slaw to go with but KFC's is real goooood!

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The musical Crackers were so much fun at Christmas we went for the charades ones for New Year's.

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How cute is this?  Emma has it going on!!!

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Martin is home from Boston where he interns at Reebok.  He’s so grown up now….no longer the wide eyed 12 year old that helped fold cards.  Charles always said I was breaking the child labor laws but Martin loved his job and we loved him!

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Did you stay up ‘till midnight?  We did….including mom who found herself totally attacked with puppy love.  We had cordoned off Kita but she managed to nearly jump over the sofa.

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Hi, my name is No No Bad Dog!

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Emma did get a ‘Shake Hands’ out of puppy!

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We shook off the old year with Taylor Swift….

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……..and started the countdown.IMG 2316

For sure, this is one place I would NOT want to be.IMG 2313

Mom, as usual, was ready to party.IMG 2301

We’re a rather noisy bunch….IMG 2320

I thought it only fitting to do my first selfie of 2015.IMG 2296

2:00 A.M. and Kita had had it!IMG 2330

However, she’s was ready to go go go with Trudy first thing in the A.M. to start the New Year off right!

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May this New Year bring you all that your heart desires along with everything that you need!

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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.