Wednesday, April 1, 2015


If you’re with Carol Soucek King you know the event is going to be memorable and Friday evening was no exception.  The Los Angeles County Museum was hosting a reception for an extraordinary new exhibit in the  Pavilion for Japanese Art. 

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 We checked in and were on our way…..

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Carol was delighted to see architect Miller Yee Fong and Jetty, his wife, a longtime arts supporter and philanthropist. IMG 6793

 Raku, The Cosmos in a Tea Bowl

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But first….champagne…..IMG 6808


Lots of it…..IMG 6809

So many lovely kimono clad ladies…..IMG 6794

 Here’s Carol with Gil Garcetti, Former Los Angeles District Attorney and now the Cultural Ambassador for Water for UNESCO and photographer extraordinaire.  Gil’s latest book showcasing his photography with thought-provoking essays by specialists in Japanese art and culture is ‘JAPAN: Reverence for Beauty’ published by

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 Jetty Fong, Gil Garcetti, Carol and yours truly.

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More kimonos…..IMG 6811

 The curator for this amazing, once in a lifetime exhibit was Robert Singer, Founding Chief Curator, Pavilion for Japanese Art, LACMA  who has dreamed of putting it together for over 30 years!

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 A photo op for all the lovely tea ceremony ladies….

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Carol you should have worn your Kimono….

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  Beef Short Ribs on polenta…oh my…..

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 My favorite…Ahi Tuna!  Must I count how many  I had?

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 Michael Govan, CEO and Director of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.  One of our cities movers and shakers with Harry H. Horinouchi, Consul General of Japan.  Didn’t I tell you an evening with Carol is memorable?

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 Why didn’t I learn Japanese?…..In any event I was in rapt attention as well.

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 Master ceramicist Raku Kichizaemon XV, Robert Singer, Chief Curator, Pavilion for Japanese Art, LACMA, Michael Govan, CEO & Director LACMA and Harry H. Horinouchi, Consul General of Japan

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What’s important to know is that the tradition of Raku, a low-fired pottery technique, has been handed down in a single line of transmission from father to son for over 400 years and now rests with Raku Kichizaemon XV who addressed the enraptured gathering in Japanese. Mike McNamara interpreted.IMG 6847

 We were thrilled beyond description seeing all these priceless treasures gathered together in one place.  A rare viewing.

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 These photos were taken from a wonderful video describing the process of creating each piece. Originally developed in Japan for the Zen Buddhist monks, this ceremonial tea ware aids in contemplation as the subtle forms allow us to see in them our own spirit and meaning.  The unique and daring process of creating each bowl reflects the rhythm of an enlightened life which is to be greatly desired.

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How profound!IMG 6865

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 As if this exhibit were not treasure enough, we were all given this scholarly book…..

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 And within it’s covers a signature by Raku Kichizaemon XV.

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There will be several docent tours and I highly recommend you attend one along with purchasing the book published by the Raku Museum in Kyoto.  We’ll be sure to make that museum a ‘must see’ on our trip to Kyoto in the fall.


Wishing you beauty in all that you see.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Why can't women learn and carry on the tradition of Raku?


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.