Sunday, April 19, 2015


Thanks to dear Carol Soucek King and the kind help from Docent Priscilla Gibbs, I was fortunate once again to not only have a magnificent guided tour of the Raku exhibit that I’ve blogged about but the bonus round was a front row seat for a lovely tea ceremony.  Ah reminiscent of our April visit to Kyoto last year.  Now I can hardly wait to return in November to see the magnificent fall colors!  Priscilla has been so incredibly helpful as I plan this next group visit to Japan.

Have you ever noticed how striking the architecture is for the Pavilion for Japanese Art at LACMA? 

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 We were greeted by lovely kimono clad ladies…...

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 …and there’s my front row seat right next to Carol….

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 But first a short tutorial about the tea ceremony….

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The stage is set…….IMG 7455

 Hot water has been heated in the large bronze container…….

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 The tea, which is different from tea leaves in that it is crushed into a powder, is then whisked into each individual bowl…..

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 But first sweets are handed out with the customary bow…..

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 Could not wait…….love these!

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 Carol is handed her bowl with instructions on the proper positioning. When you are handed the bowl, the design faces you and you are to turn the bowl so the design faces outward.

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 Notice how large the hand crafted bowls are and although sometimes it’s difficult, you really can see that one side has more pattern to it.  Also, can you tell how much thicker and richer the tea is?

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 All of this calls for a lot of discussion…..What great fun to see Marilyn Wulliger (on the right)!

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After all the guests have been served, the implements are set aside.  The little container was for the powdered tea.IMG 7491

 I was delighted to see awesome Robert Hori the Huntington Botanical Garden Cultural Curator and Program Director.  Just wish I got a better photo!

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 After that delightful experience Carol & I went across the way to the LACMA Cafe.  Does anyone else think this is as funny as I do???

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 We ordered a Ruben sandwich…. to split…..

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 ….and had great fun at the salad bar…..

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 I said great fun didn’t I?  My plate could not be piled up any higher!   This was all sooooo yummy!!!

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 And the Ruben was delicious.  Carol went for the mustard…..

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 Now you know what I had to get…..

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 Time to go back to the Japanese Pavilion and meet Priscilla…...

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 Some helpful info on Raku ware…..

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 This low-fire, hand formed  ceramic tea bowl,  was made by the very first Raku in the 16th century Raku l (Chojiro).  After him, the technique was passed down to each successive generation and only one member of each was allowed to continue the tradition.  Fascinatingly, each generation would make clay to be used by their great grand-son.

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 Priscilla is so knowledgeable and we were fascinated by all of the information she shared.  Please check LACMA’s scheduled list of docent tours.

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 You knew I’d love the hanging scrolls….

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 This pair for ‘Dragon’ and ‘Tiger’ are magnificent.  It just looks easy!  Shantien ‘Tom’ Chow continues to teach this beautiful art form in my studio the first Saturday of each month.

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 Carol & I want this Goose and have agreed to share custody!

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 Carol is talking with delightful Eugenia Aladro, the most charming young woman from Argentina that we met and who was so kind to help me with my iPhone.  Eugenia is in film production & working on a shoot for Chanel this week. Again, wish I had a better photo….she’s so lovely!

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 Time to go….hey, there’s a bride……always a delightful sight!

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 I think the new elevators are soooo cool!!!

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Have an adventure filled week!

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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.