Monday, April 4, 2016


 I’ll catch up with everything later but I wanted to write about yesterday while it’s still fresh in my minds eye. (I had to take a picture of this Art Center College directional sign as that’s where Charles and I met.  Awwwwww……)

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It began with meeting Carol at her house so she could drive to the ‘Neutra Institute Museum and Gallery' in Silverlake. I parked my car there and off we went.

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Architectural designer and artist Seda Saar’s exhibit was opening and also Carol had suggested I talk to Dion Neutra, son of famed architect Richard Neutra and legendary in his own right, about possibly holding an exhibit of my work there.  I felt the space was too industrial for myself or for an exhibit of students work but it was interesting none the less.

Seda Saar, Roy Oldenkamp, Curator with myself and Carol Soucek KingIMG 1225

Dion Neutra and Seda Saar discussing the uses of sustainable materials in architecture.

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Awesome Marsha Ramos had given me two tickets to the Theodore Payne Foundation’s 2016 Native Plant Garden Tour.  

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We had such a short amount of time left so I suggested to Carol that we go to one of the locations of the some 9 in her area.  We selected the 'Pasadena Casting Club' on the South Arroyo in Pasadena. I can’t begin to describe what a hidden gem this is.  There’s a wildflower meadow that completely dazzles this time of year with perennials year-round. I noted several people with bows and arrows so Carol told me there’s also an archery range as well as stables where you can ride English or Western.

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With two Engelmann oaks and a wonderful casting pool it’s a little bit of heaven in Pasadena.  I’m embarrassed to say I had no clue what a casting pool was.  Do you?

People take their fishing poles and practice their casting!  Should I add duh??? ( I thought it had something to do with ‘Casting for Hollywood’.  Sooooo embarrassing!

This ‘rescue’ Italian Mastiff was having the time of his life playing ‘retrieve the stick’ and I was so charmed by it I wanted to talk to his owners.

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Here’s his ‘parents’ Paula and Ben with their three month old little one.  They had just recently moved to the area and it was absolutely delightful talking with them.

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I have to say this quiet time in the park did something wonderful deep inside me and so I’m going to suggest you go adventuring to beautiful places in nature where you will be able to reflect and have that quiet moment we all so need.

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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.