Tuesday, October 27, 2015


at the Ahmanson started the week and it was wonderful!

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Tomiko wouldn’t do this but I like it because I look thin!  Oh, so you don’t think this is me…..hmmmmm...

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 There were so many little girls in the audience…..This one kept singing along with all the songs.  Tomiko thought it was cute, I on the other hand….

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 When was the last time you saw a little girl with curls like this?

IMG 5610Too cute! 😄

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 To make it an early evening we decided to just go to Kendall’s Brasserie at The Music Center…….We didn’t have a reservation so the long table in the front with the high bar stools had to do.  I could not believe that my favorite tomato and cucumber soup with shrimp was back….So excited!

IMG 5617Just give me raw meat…….Steak Tartare is a carnivore’s delight!

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 O.K., so we were bad but this Baked Apple Tart is sooooo good! Love the Caramel Sauce. And we shared…..

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 A couple next to us, Shirley and Harold, were so adorable I had to talk to them.  They’re both 90 and….wait for it….


Wait for it……..


They’re DATING!!!IMG 5623

 Years ago, Melanie, her brother Spero and their parents would come over for Thanksgiving from about when she was 8 years old.  She’s now an accomplished botanist and water conservation expert living in San Diego after years in Australia.  Melanie still remembers my ‘Stuffing for People Who Don’t Like Stuffing’ and 'Cranberries for People who Don’t Like Cranberries’!  (Charles liked cranberry sauce straight out of the can but I couldn’t even wrap my mind around that.)  We met at Bloomies for lunch and to catch up.

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 This doesn’t look good does it?  I think the leak was fixed and cleaning out underneath should make it more efficient. The repairman was here for hours and so funny because every hour or so he’d report that he was so sorry but something else needed to be fixed.  I had no idea what he was talking about but kept nodding yes.  I’m looking at Pirch for a replacement should it go out again.

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 The Green Chef meals are consistently delicious and Vicki does a great job preparing and plating.

IMG 5652Here’s another…..

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 Everyone knows I just have protein bars during class but sweet Iris at the Huntington’s class got a gynormous sandwich at Ralphs and asked if anyone wanted half.  I even offered to share the half but no takers.  It turned out that I really needed it because I was at the framers after class until past 7:00.  Amazing how things work out!

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 The class was unusually large with a lot of new students so I did a Bamboo review and then to loosen up….Gourds.

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Then it was off to Chiang’s Frames on Telstar in El Monte. www.frames4art.com  I told Nikka to pick out whatever artwork she wanted for her new apartment…….We’re going to have to get a van to pick up this one.

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This fellow came in from Panda's corporate office and I thought he had a ‘little’ project so I let him interrupt us.  These were the medals given to Panda for their ‘incredible support' for the 2015 Special Olympics.IMG 5667

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 O.K., back to me.  I decided to give this painting to Nikka as well.  It’s one of my favorites and will be perfect in her kitchen nook which you look into when sitting on the sofa.  It also continues her very girlie ‘pink’ theme!

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 This goes in the living room with the oh so pink Cattleya.

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 And this for her bedroom…… It was a surprising pick.  May was terrific….patient and so helpful.

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 Well Sandie Girl, it looks like Vicki is a member of the Needlepoint Club…...

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 This is also Vicki’s handiwork.

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Carol kindly mailed this to me.  Good thing because I have no memory of this photo being taken!IMG 5704

 Next door….don’t even ask…..

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The blog is getting long….time to stretch….

This was a delightful lunch at Simmzy’s with Amy and Marine and her darling sister Eliza, a writer  who just moved back to L.A. from NYC.

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 You can see how adorable they both are!

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O.K. Foodies….. This is a special thing Simmzy’s does with Cauliflower.  You have to ask for it as it’s not on the menu.

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Chicken with Apples and Walnuts...IMG 5714

Soy Marinated Tuna Chopped with Asian Slaw & Peanuts….IMG 5715

 The Fish Tacos were really good!

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Shrimp and Rock Cod Ceviche….

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 We each had a little bit of everything including this Apple Filled Donut with Cinnamon Apples, Salted Caramel, Vanilla Ice Cream, Donut Glaze and Pistachios.  I’m near passing out just looking at it again!

IMG 5720Cute place…...

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I recovered by class Saturday and this is a work in progress.  We also painted the Amaryllis.

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 Mary and Keith took me out to dinner after class but first some fun with Sir Charles!

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 Oh and puppy.  They have a wolf….that’s correct, a wolf so Kita was thinking Keith was a nice big wolf and she wouldn’t let him go!

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 We finished off a delicious dinner at ‘Commonwealth’ my new favorite place and had ‘Drunken Mama Cake’ for dessert….

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 …along with this yummy Butterscotch Pudding with Housemade Whip/Caramel and Crisp Prosciutto on top! It’s all about the bacon!

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 Turns out Keith is crazy for Foster’s Old Fashioned Freeze which is right across the street from Commonwealth.  He made us promise we’d go there after dinner.

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 It’s good to mingle with the hoi polloi…….

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 We were hysterical seeing the ‘We Deliver’ notice and pictured a ‘freeze’ arriving in a soup bowl!

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I wish you a week of yumminess!IMG 5790




Tuesday, October 20, 2015


…..this one at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills for birthday girl beautiful Tina Marie!

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I know, you’re not supposed to pick up the plates but I’m so very proud of Lissi Kaplan who paints all of the serviceware for teatime at the Peninsula.

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Starting off…..

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You know you want it…..

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Well maybe just a touch to toast!

IMG 5346Sooooo cute!

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I had to have some caviar….

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Time to sing…..

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Make a wish!

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I don’t know.  Does this dress make me look fat???

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Checking in as we left….

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Vicki came back from her week away with Romeo.  They got bored in San Francisco and headed to Las Vegas.  I’m shocked!  Kita was overjoyed to have her back.IMG 5371

Some of you may remember Awesome Melanie Campbell.  She was a neo-natal nurse at Cedars and has left for Austin, Texas.  If she has a single sighting of Willie Nelson I’m dropping in on her!

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Melanie brought these terrific books and I’ve already given most of them away.  Miss Judith LOVED the ‘Anatomy for the Artist’!

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My time with Lisa Bowman is always so precious and I suspect we could talk forever.  Meeting at Wokano worked out great (for me!!!)

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Now these two are something else.  When I posted this photo on Facebook it got about a jillion likes and comments.  Krista is the other half of Brett & Krista, the couple I roped into walking Kita.  And my dear friend Lisa…well…Say, what is it with that name???IMG 5388

Anyone see the video I posted of this?  It was mayhem as puppy adores Krista and was probably asking her to take her to Brett!

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The next day was spent with Jose, my State Farm insurance agent.  We went over everything with a fine tooth comb & I managed to save quite a bit.  It’s a good idea to review policies every now and again but of course you already knew that.

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Awwww a baby!  This is Molly and Victor’s new ‘renter’.  She’s a reader at the Huntington in some obscure field and along with her hubby, a brainiack!

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Another awwwww…..Molly and Victor.  Molly is currently editing a book for the California Art Club to be published by Rizzoli and Victor is an engineer with a resume as long as my arm having worked on zillion dollar projects in the Middle East and elsewhere. (No exaggeration.)

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They live in Silverlake and as Molly has written several books on cooking it’s always a treat to sit on the ‘veranda’ and watch the birds frolic in the lake.

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Somehow I talked Amy into signing up for a Dior makeup class at Nordstrom's.  We logged in and then went upstairs to a curtained off area.

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This setup was at every table and there were 4-5 ladies at each.

IMG 5463Amy don’t blink!

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Here’s the ‘instructor’ who was at our table.  Amy was a good sport and let him have his way with her clean face.  I on the other hand was an observer claiming that I was the ‘official’ photographer.

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They fed us first and had champagne which I imagine was to get everyone relaxed and in the ‘buying’ mood. I was almost hymotized into buying $500. worth of product but something snapped me out of it just in time!!!

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Adorable Nikka showed me her new apartment.  How wonderful, her first real grownup home!  She’s having more fun decorating and getting ‘stuff’ and I suspect it will be totally PINK.  Real girlie, girlie!

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The brand new fridge…..(New stove too). Notice the booties?  New floors, take off your shoes!

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The well stocked cleaning cabinet. Eeeee gads, is Nikka turning into a domestic Goddess? 

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After seeing Nikka’s apartment I knew we had to celebrate and where better than at COMMONWEALTH my new favorite place!  They serve small plates and quite possibly the best meal you have ever had.

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Ahi Tuna Sashimi with Sweet Onion Marmalade, Avocado & Micro Greens is always a must have….

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This was Nueske Bacon & Burrata with an Onion Compote, Grapefruit & Crispy Leeks on Grilled Bread.  It’s all about the bacon…isn’t it?

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The steak specialty of the evening that melted in your mouth.

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Truffle Mushroom Risotto with Mascapone & Truffle Butter. The most delicious I have ever had.  They must have marinated the assorted mushrooms as they were the yummiest!

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Of course I’m going to smile if you put Foie Gras in front of me!

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Apparently they don’t flambĂ© the dishes in front of you anymore.  Is that so ’70’s?

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Soooooo happy!

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Saturday Tomiko & I saw ‘The Martian’ and loved it!  Be sure you see it in 3D!

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We ate at Trattoria Amici right across from Pacific Theatre but they must have a new chef or owners as it’s just not as good as it used to be.  Tomiko had to send this salad back.

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Every young girl at Americana was carrying a dolll from 'American Girl'!

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They even have a ‘Hair Salon’ where you can also get your dolls ears pierced.IMG 5555

Wishing you a week of cuteness overload!

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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.