Wednesday, February 3, 2016


……I was delighted when Linda Cantwell asked me to speak and do a Brush painting demonstration for the San Marino League Sustainers.  This was amazing to me on so many levels as over twenty years ago I  gave a lecture to the San Marino League on the history of Brush painting. Dr. James Folsom, Director of the Huntington Botanical Gardens, was in attendance and asked me if I would like to teach at the Huntington.  When I first started there, the classroom we used was in a small space behind what is now the Boone Gallery and the Botanical Staff was in trailers!  Can you even imagine?

Here’s Dr. Jim and Linda….

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There were over 50 women in attendance this time at the Huntington and I just got a photo of half of the room.  It was a joy to see so many people who had became students and friends through the years.

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You learn to be flexible doing these events and I immediately changed the direction I had planned to go in.  A ‘light box’ of sorts was set up to project the image of what I was painting onto a large screen.  The only difficulty was that the area was so small and I had to figure out where to place water, colors and brushes.

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Originally I had thought to have everyone come up and do a few Bamboo leaves on stems that I would paint.  This worked very well previously for the setup at the Pasadena Historical Society but I quickly realized there were too many people to make it feasible so I just did a Bamboo demo instead.

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I guess it was O.K. because I was invited to join the ladies for lunch!

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The next day Amy & I had an appointment in Beverly Hills and afterwards I suggested we go play at the Peninsula, one of my happy places! There’s always a visiting dog or two there.

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Perhaps I love it so much there because it’s such a joy to see dear Lissi Kaplans hand painted china!

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Doing my very first photobomb.  So proud!

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Just chillin’, deciding on our next move…..

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Checking out the pool at the Peninsula…..

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Here’s our new neighbor.  He’s quite sweet but very timid and quite possibly may have an injured leg.  I say ‘he’ because of the blue collar but the next day ‘she’ wore a pink scarf.  I’m confused…..

Just found out…puppy’s name is Tulip!  The leg was injured some time back but there’s nothing surgically that can be done.  She and Kita have yet to meet but I met her dad Stephen and we had a delightful chat thru the fence.IMG 9872

Speaking of dogs, Kita really got lucky  with Krista and Brett coming over for walkies…...

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….and then Mary Beth!

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I’m so very proud of Dr. Eileen.  She’s now officially a docent at the Huntington and let me tell you that involves a whole lot of studying…..months!IMG 9920

As always, class was great fun….especially painting Monkeys but first we did Camellias.

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Wonderful to have Diana Ming Jeong back.  Months ago I told her to put the amazing photos of her cat Athena ‘assisting’ with her Brush painting  into a book and….she did it!  For all you cat lovers out there go to published or Diana’s ‘Healing Moon Garden’ on Etsy It’s a little treasure of a book!

Use coupon code "LOVE2016" for 14% off until Feb 15.

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Don’t forget to love everyone you hold dear until their buttons fall off!

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…..and it’s always good to re-visit ‘The Little Prince'

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Here’s a little something for the loves in your life!

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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.