Friday, June 5, 2015


…is something I just can’t pass up!  But first, Danny Chen’s second workshop here in the studio ‘Painting Mandarin Ducks'  that I already told you about in my last blog.

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On my way to Pasadena that evening I had to stop the car to take a picture of these two beautiful Samoyed pups!IMG 9738

Now this is what I’m talking about!  The joy of holding baby Noah! The Reilly’s second grandson!IMG 9822

 Jacob, A.K.A. Jakey, Noah’s older brother was my dinner partner and you can see from the expression on his face that he’s an exceptional conversationalist!

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 Yummy salmon and beautiful salads that Sandie had gotten at Porta Via Italian Foods.  It’s on California Blvd. & you’re in for a treat if you’re in Pasadena.  Best gelato ever!

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 Getting the munchkins ready for bedtime gave me a chance to visit ‘Dancing in the Moonlight’, ‘Nan Rae Art’ at the Reilly’s!

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Monday, for Memorial Day, I had requests for my famous grilled cheese sandwiches.  The secret is the bacon, heirloom tomatoes, rough mustard and more butter than you can even begin to imagine!  The cole slaw is from KFC! I can’t wait ‘till the 4th to do this all over again!

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 This is mom’s favorite!

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 And yet again, puppy is cordoned off so we can enjoy our meal.

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 Afterwards, mom & I binge watched Anthony Bourdain.


 Tuesday Armin was in the studio for a private class and did very well.

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 Update: The kitchen floor at mom’s is a pale gray…hard to tell here.  The caesarstone is black.  Rex helped me tremendously with this.

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 Then off to The Embassy Suites for Fiesta Night. I told mom she’s going to miss all this when she goes back home.

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 Lizzie Girl & I like to meet in NoHo for lunch at Daphnes Greek Cafe and then see a movie at Laemmle’s NoHo 7.

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 I really love their food but then again…it’s not about the food is it!

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 Lizzie thought I might need a box of See’s chocolate and as it turned out we both needed it to watch ‘Far From the Madding Crowd’! It was a 'two pieces' movie as it sure gave us a lot to ponder. At one point I do believe I was shouting at the screen.

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 On the way home I stopped at a framers on Magnolia that was conveniently across from Monte Carlo’s Italian Deli.  Just the aroma when you walk in will drive you mad.  I used enormous self control and just purchased a few item even though I wanted to wrap up the entire store.  People drive in from as far away as San Diego and Palm Springs to get the ‘real stuff’ here! They also have a restaurant, Pinocchio's which is old fashioned, oil cloth style. Fantastic gelato!

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Too many decisions….

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 Next day, Precious Lisa B. met me at mom’s to check on the progress….

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 Here’s the sink I got a Pirch…There used to be a raised ‘divider’ between the sink and the kitchens dining area but Rex suggested having one solid piece of stone and it looks soooo much better!  Thank you Rex!

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 The unit has electric only for the stove and I loved having the flat surface…..Sure hope mom does!

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 Here it is up close.  Somehow I got the wrong range hood so back to Pirch.  Awww….too bad.  Whoops…secrets out…It’s a favorite happy place!

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 I have no idea where they put the rest of mom’s clothes and boxes & boxes of shoes.  The floor here should be finished & I’ll check on it today.

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 Let’s have a little puppy diversion with this adorable Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.  Sky's only 10 weeks old!

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 That night Tai Ling (Tyrus Wong’s daughter) came by to pick up the cards she had ordered for USC Pacific Asia’s bookstore.  We got to talking and three hours later called it a night.  I was really tired!

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 Next day was a lot of fun painting Fuchsia, a Bamboo review and a Landscape.  Here Laurie Pie looks at two of the archival prints Nikka made from her art work.

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 She loved them!  Hugs!!!

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 Meanwhile Diane and Dr. Eileen look for ‘The Mustard Seed Garden Manual of Painting' complied during the early Qing Dynasty that I was recommending. They were looking on which is a great site for hard to find books.

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After class, Nikka and I finished up our work and then went to the Embassy Suites to join mom and Vicki for dinner.

It was a good week and I wish the same to come for you.

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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.