Saturday, March 28, 2015


…..make that cymbals and assorted delightful instruments……and lovely little girls dressed in festive Iranian costumes.

IMG 6584It’s all about Nowruz, the Iranian celebration welcoming spring and the New Year.  Our dear friend Reza Kahn is the Executive Director of Farhang Foundation a non-religious, non-political, not-for-profit foundation that celebrates Iranian art & culture in Southern California.  

Amy had done the Haft Sin table for the celebration in Mission Viejo in Orange County.  It was an 8’ X 8’table overflowing with a  heavenly profusion of spring flowers!  The Haft-Sin includes seven items that begin with the letter ’S’. In english they are: wheat symbolizing rebirth, wheat germ sweet pudding symbolizing affluence, dried fruit from the oleaster tree to symbolize love, cloves of garlic for medicine, red apples meaning beauty/health, sumac berries for the color of sunrise and vinegar to represent age/patience.

Other items are sweets, lit candles for enlightenment/happiness, a mirror for cleanness/honesty, decorated eggs for fertility, a bowl of water with an orange representing the earth in space, rose water with magical cleansing powers and most fun of all….. a bowl of goldfish for life/the transition of Pices to Aries.

Here’s Amy’s amazing creation!

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On Sunday Amy & I went to LACMA to enjoy the festivities there.  We were missing Lisa Bowman terribly as originally she was going to join us but the best made plans…..


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Amy had done 23 of these arrangements for an event at LACMA the previous day.  So happy to see they were still being used!

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We had tickets for the Official Nowruz Program in the Bing Theatre that featured the world premier of ‘The Sounds of a Persian Spring’ by Zohreh Jooya.  Amy did a bouquet for Reza to present to this brilliant singer which we left backstage before watching the performance.

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The Djanbazian Dance Academy dancers.

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 Presentation of the bouquet to Zohreh Jooya by Reza Kahn.

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Along the way we met delightful Patricial Ruiz, a childhood friend of Reza’s who came to the event with her dear mom. We love this sweet girl!

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I have to show you this cute girl…Reminds me of all the darling young people we saw in Japan…..can’t wait to go back!

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You know I can’t resist a cute puppy!

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Here’s the Haft-Sin table at LACMA

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Time to raffle off some prizes….

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O.K., I’m hungry….Off to Joan’s on Third.

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Everything is soooo yummy but we settled on splitting the Chinese Chicken Salad which is always a winner and the Short Rib Sandwich.

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 This is really trouble……very, very rich.

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Beautiful Georgia was there with her mom and dad and we immediately fell in love with her...

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Thank you Amy for the Lobster Roll I took home….what a great late night snack…me bad!

Wishing you fun times!


Wednesday, March 25, 2015


Well, here I am, teaching Brush painting to adults…..over 3,000 at this point and most everyone that I’ve taught toils all week in left brain activity.  Don’t we desperately need some way of escape, some glimmer of respite from the slavery many of us find ourselves in?  However, learning a right brain activity can bring a lot of detritus to the surface.  Feelings of inadequacy and dread, the general state of fear that overtakes us like one of the horses of the apocalypse. 

Eureka, it suddenly occurred to me why Asian art seems to draw so many people (including myself) when in actuality, many times it isn’t beautiful in the western sense.  Rather, it can be disturbing until we understand what we’re looking at.  In the East there’s no perspective, no light source and everything is a metaphor - but of what?

Of retreat or rather withdrawal from society and all the elements in the paintings serve to take one on a journey irrespective of time and space.  A journey of the imagination if you will where all the cares and daily struggles are set aside if even for a few moments.  In a spiritual sense, it can serve to re-connect us with our Creator.  So that is what I wish for you.  A day, perhaps just a few hours of quiet….no cell phones, no laptop…just quiet…listening to the sounds of life….smelling the fragrance of creation…..observing the minute details in a flower.  Perhaps a butterfly will alight upon you.

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This I promise, if you can truly surrender and trust that you have been created for a great and glorious purpose that only you can fulfill, you’ll find that all the answers you’ll ever need are already waiting for you at each step along the way. This huge Loquat tree was planted from one seed…...

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And now the birds not only find shelter in it but nourishment as well.

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You are wondrously made and your assignment is to go out and find your joy!

Monday, March 23, 2015

TANKA POETS on SITE and other fun stuff......

When I saw Kathabela last Saturday evening at the mixed media performance….. ‘Champagne Haiku Pour Deux’…..she invited me to a gathering of Tanka Poets on Site the following Monday.  If you thought Haiku was difficult, try writing Tanka.  Anyway, it was delightful being amongst the gifted poets, seeing Maria and Grandmaster Don Baird again and seeing all the treasures collected by Kathabela and Rick  through years of amazing travel.

Maria and Don to the right ….

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Rick Wilson is a brilliant physicist at Caltech and his lectures are in demand world wide.  This is a poster from a conference  held in his honor at Caltech. Note:  Rick is as kind as he is brilliant!

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Here’s a wonderful mixed media piece created by Kathabela; Tanka poet, creative artist and gentle, loving human.

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Kathabela with guest speaker Richard Gilbert, Tanka scholar  visiting from Japan.

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When I got home I saw there was an order for this print from a woman in Kansas… fun!IMG 6360

 Amy designed and created the most amazing table for Farhang Foundations Nowruz celebration in Orange County.  The table was 8’ X 8’ and fully covered with beautiful blossoms.  These Hydrangeas are from that display but Amy didn’t want me to post this on Facebook as she doesn’t think it’s beautiful enough.  I disagree.  What say you???

If you go to Menuah Flower Boutique on Facebook you can see Amy’s extraordinary creations.  Also, go to whenever you need to send exquisite flowers.IMG 6364

 Have you noticed the birds are beginning to sing again?  It’s nesting time!!!  This one loves the Loquat tree!

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 I hope the Wisteria is still blossoming next time you come by……it’s heavenly and oh that fragrance!

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 Wednesday Amy & I went to the Bella Voce Society’s luncheon.  We checked in at the private elevator entrance right next to Kendall’s Brasserie.  

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 There’s this amazing view of the Music Center’s courtyard from the 5th floor.

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 What fun to see Elizabeth, long time Brush painting student at the Huntington with friend Charlotte.

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 Oh my, this chilled spring pea soup was soooooo good!

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Foodie alert…..

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 Best cheesecake ever! So light and creamy!

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Time for the opera.  Amy loves this tapestry right outside the Founder’s Circle at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.

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 We got to enjoy the final dress rehearsal for The Marriage of Figaro.  I do believe this was the first opera Charles & I went to.

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Wonderful sets……But please, no pictures!  ( I have a secret way of getting them!)IMG 6444


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Dinner afterwards at Kendall’s Brasserie with sweet Amy and Charlotte.

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 Yes, that’s raw meat…..must have!  Yummy Steak Tartare!  So sorry vegans…...

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 So good let’s do the salmon the same way…..

IMG 6458It’s always joyful to catch up with dear Alice!  My new favorite place is Olive and Thyme in Toluca Lake….a real foodie heaven that’s almost as good as Joan’s on Third.

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Yummy Panini…..

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Not sure quite what I think about this pup…he was right outside our table.  All two pounds of him!

IMG 6474Wishing you a colorful week!


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.