Tuesday, December 22, 2015


   I saw The Bridges of Madison County at the Ahmanson and driving back had quite a discussion on what love is…..

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  I ‘loved’ their tree…...

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Amazing Marsha Ramos had an open house.  She’s my template for doing good but as she’s set the bar so high it’s rather tough.  I first met Marsha when she was Mayor of Burbank and we were both judges for the DWP's school art contest.

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 I was able to finish up my Christmas shopping with wonderful hand made with love items created by Sister Regina Palamara to benefit the Cabrini Mission of Ethiopia.

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 Time for dinner at my new favorite place.  Commonwealth.  It’s in Burbank but honestly, you won’t get more amazing food anywhere in L.A.

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 Hudson Valley Duck Confit, Sauce Charcutiere, Pickled Papaya, Toasted Bread

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 Must have this every time….Truffle Mushroom Risotto, Mascarpone, Truffle Butter

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 You know I gotta have Pan Seared Duck Foie Gras!

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 Back in the studio.  Nikka used a ladder to create this scene at the top of some cabinets.

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 The ‘blinged out bunny’ is my mom and the blue bear got stuck in the bag and can’t climb out!

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 Sweet Amy checks out the tree…..

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 ….As does The Pie…..

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 Everyone loves ‘Painting White Birds’ and the Huntington class was no exception.

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 That’s correct Santa, you heard right….I’ve been NICE…got it???? Don’t look so surprised.

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 Festivities at the University Club in Pasadena….

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 I asked for a RARE Ribeye…...

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 It’s no secret that Kita is in love with Brett.  Krista is tolerated along with the rest of us…...

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 Studio tree approval.  Can’t wait ‘till next year to put up the one downstairs.  Puppy should be behaving by then.

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This is probably how she will feel about it.

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 Michael Powers comes from MA to paint his annual Christmas card. This year’s theme was an ‘Adirondack Dream’ showing the Seventh Lake Road Bridge and a typical Adirondack chair painted red for Santa!

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Of course Nikka did a fabulous job converting the image to greeting cards.

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It was so much fun!

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Get out the Christmas Crackers!  These musical ones are the best.  I’m the conductor….everyone has a numbered ‘horn’ and when I point at them they have to toot as directed.  Oh the power of it all.  Anyway, they’re so much fun and you’ll wind up laughing so much it will be hard to get any semblance of a tune out of your guests.

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I think I’ve finished the Christmas cards so if you haven’t received one from us PLEASE let me know.  All shopping is done, menu planned…check, check, check!  WHEW!

IMG 8116Wishing you the loveliest Christmas ever!


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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.