Monday, June 22, 2015




…..well, almost!  I probably attempted too much last week but each and every moment was WONDERFUL!  The price for all that fun & frivolity?  A nasty cold!  Things brightened up last Sunday when Brett and Krista brought Steffanie, Bretts darling sister (from Wisconsin) with friend Kyle …object…wait for it...

Switzer Falls and Mt. Wilson with KITA!  Oh joy, oh ecstasy! For starters, Kita absolutely adores Brett and mopes around all the time wondering where he is.  The frosting was to be with him & crew on such a grand adventure!

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 Kita can hardly contain herself!

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And there she was….King of the Mountain!!!  Thank you for bringing such happiness to Kita!
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 Much, much later that day we five had a wonderful talk as I showed them the sights from the studio deck.

IMG 0672So this is goodbye?  Well, for now puppy...

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 I did say cold didn’t I?  Sweet Amy heard it in my voice and brought over delicious spinach soup and a yummy sandwich from Recess Eatery. Thank you dear Amy….you are always so kind and thoughtful! 

Soooo good and I could feel the love in every morsel!

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 I rested on Tuesday to get myself somewhat together for class Wednesday at the Huntington…...

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 We were privileged to have Jim Folsom, Director of the Huntington Botanical Gardens, come to class and escort us to a private tour of their awesome exhibit “Weird, Wild & Wonderful”. The Second New York Botanical Garden Triennial Exhibition ‘Botanical Illustrations of Remarkable Plants'

Information at:

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This is a juried show and the following amazing work was submitted from Japan.IMG 0696


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Another from Japan…..IMG 0710


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Class was so much fun.  We went back to basics…painting Bamboo and everyone loved it!

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 Now one would think that someone getting over a cold would head on home and hide under the covers.  Oh no….too sensible.  Off I went to the Langham Hotel in Pasadena.  Charles & I were married in this courtyard when the hotel was the Ritz Carlton but then I probably have told you that before.

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 I had hoped I could hang out in the restaurant facing the pool area but they were closed until 5:00 so I trudged off to the bar.  I found a comfy spot to wile away a couple of hours.

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Time to order hot tea and Ragu Sliders.IMG 0727

 Perhaps I should have mentioned that I was to be at The University Club at 6:30 for a lecture and wine tasting.  Crazy I know but I did learn a lot and the food was amazing.  You probably already know that most red wines are blends of several varieties and that all of them contain up to 85% water.  Of course you knew that!

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 Once everyone sat down, the wine pouring began!

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 Each course was prepared using a complimentary wine to the one we tasted….

IMG 0734All those glasses…..

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 At this point I can’t even begin to tell you the food placed before me...

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I do remember this one had Foie Gras under it.  They could just have brought me a side of that & I would have been content!IMG 0739

Can’t remember….IMG 0740Really can’t remember...

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Ahhhhh……I don’t have to describe this.

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 The evenings presentation was put on by Old Oak Cellars and did you know they are a Pasadena winery?

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 Back to planet earth and the plumber.  Or rather a series of plumbers.  You really don’t want to know the details as they become gruesome.  Suffice it to say this started with a little leak.  I was told it’s not enough to have the new faucet & disposal….the plumbers have to go outside, cut into the wall and do something crazy for an even crazier reason.  I’m waiting for that to happen and will blog the details.  Mostly I think our plumber wants to go to Hawaii.

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 The shoes are a clue…2nd day, 2nd guy…This is the one who discovered the ‘problem’.

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Nikka & I couldn’t take much more so off we went to the Habit….serious comfort food.

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I will say that class Saturday was wonderful and I had such joy and ease in painting….I wish you the same!

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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.