Sunday, August 30, 2015


…Where does inspiration come from?  Does it land full force like a space ship from Mars or settle gently like a cool breeze?  I don’t know but what I do know is that in doing the painting for Robinson Gardens an avalanche of ‘inspiration’ tumbled down upon me in the form of ROSES!  This was the first painting in a large format for the series and you can see I was trying to decide if I wanted to be in Peony or Rose heaven….

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It didn’t stop there….

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This then was the final painting in the series on Monday…..along with several others in a smaller size format.

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I’m thinking of these three as a triptych.

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I was amazed to see we had enough new cards created to fill an entire page in our catalog.

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Thursday evening I delivered the original artwork to Diane Jenkins when we met at Valerie’s, along with a small ‘book’ Nikka and I created describing the inspiration and process of the painting.

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On the lighter side I’m pleased to report that I’ve now seen ‘Inside Out’ for the third time!  It happened last Sunday with Sandie Girl and Dr. Jim.  Take away lesson….joy needs sadness to be complete.

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O.K. foodies, you know you want it….Lobster Pot Pie at Bourbon Steak House

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I had the usual suspects, Tuna Tartare and Foie Gras.

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I’m quite impressed with the effort mom makes when I go over. Full makeup and pearls!  WOW!IMG 3261

You’ve seen this one before.  Cheesecake Factory take out.  I always get the Skinnylicious Salmon which would work well on my ‘diet’ if I wouldn’t consume massive quantities of their bread and butter!

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I don’t know if you have ‘Classical Arts Showcase ‘ on your cable system….We get it on Charter #96.  With a beautiful selection of all the arts you’re bound to catch something that will ‘inspire’ you.  I thought Pavarotti had the definitive Nessun Dorma but watching this segment of  ‘La Boheme’ got me to YouTube for Bjoerlings version.

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How’s this for inspiration…..I still can’t believe I was up at 3:00 A.M. to get this moon shot from the studio. 

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I’ll be blogging about Valerie’s soiree to celebrate Satinder Dhiman's latest book ‘Gandhi and Leadership’.  Can you imagine what an ‘inspiration’ it was to see my name in the acknowledgments?

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Could we have more fun in the studio?….I doubt it!

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We set up two tables in the reception area of the studio to properly display this amazing silk scroll copy of arguably one of the most famous paintings in China….’Dwelling in Fuchun Mountain’ by Huang Gongwang 1269-1354.  Brought to us by new student John who said that this was what inspired him to begin studying Chinese Brush painting with me.IMG 3394

Inspiration seems to take many forms…..

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We’re so proud of Dr. Eileen who was inspired to become a docent at the Huntington Botanical Gardens.  This entails a lot of study and a love of the gardens.

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Find some puppy joy this week and it may come wrapped up in inspiration!

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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.