Tuesday, May 31, 2016


I wasn’t the only one with a birthday and it was wonderful to see so many friends at Carol’s birthday party for Richard. First off, the amazing sculptor Christopher Slatoff, creator of magnificent life-sizepublic pieces.  You can see his work at slatoffsculpture.com

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 Rose Nielsen wore her ‘Children’s Hospital L.A. Dog Therapy Program’ t-shirt.  She & pup Blondie are active members going about cheering up all the patients.

IMG 2921You know I’m in awe of plein air artist extraordinaire  Peter Adams! 

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 And here’s Dr. Ken Neilsen, former President of Woodbury University with our hostess, Carol Soucek King.

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Whoops….almost forgot Duchess……..

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 Of course it’s all about the cake!

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 Just in case you can’t read this, it’s ‘Chinese wishful thinking’: Good blessings, prosperity, long life, full happiness.  A special gift written by a master calligrapher in China.

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Back to me…...IMG 2954

 Awwwww, thank you Olga….

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I see Kita’s tail!  Nikka picked the best, best gift and gave my tootsies a good massaging soak.  IMG 2961

 Nikka, Amy and I went to a Society of Fellows lecture at the Huntington Botanical Gardens.  I’m so happy I could bring two guests.  Donald C. Jackson lectured on his latest book,’HEAVY GROUND:  William Mulholland and the St. Francis Dam Disaster'

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 What do you want when the evenings not quite finished but it’s time to go home?  Why BOBA take out at Din Tai Fung’s at Americana.  These two absolutely hate to have the photo taken!

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 Class next day and Lizzie Girl stopped by to sign her masterpiece! Interestingly, there’s the figure of a man in the work and her name chop has the identical figure!

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We worked on Goldfish & I forgot what else………..IMG 3001

 More cake for me!

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 That evening Nikka & I went to Dr. Eileen’s and watched pup Molly do her cute doggie tricks!

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 Meet Honey,the bird with nine lives.  Escaped from the talons of a bird of prey, was snatched away from a feral cat and nearly got flushed down a swirling commode!

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 Casey mainly stays out of trouble so I gave him a walnut half.

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 Ending the evening by picking lemons in the moonlight.

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 Well, not quite ended as Nikka & I were hungry and stopped at Wokano for a late night snack. See, no photo allowed!

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 Andrew from The Healing Pack came by to evaluate Kita.  He had total control over her and she maintained eye contact throughout.

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 First time she hasn’t tried to bolt out the door.  Andrew made sure she knew it was his space.

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 Mary and Keith drove all the way from the Palisades to take me out for my birthday.  We went to ‘Parkway Grill’ in Pasadena, which is where Charles and I had our first date!

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 More cake!

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Need more cake?  Mi Piace……….IMG 3156


Lunch with Gigi at Mi Piace.IMG 3159


O.K., now how cute is this?  Found while attempting to pick up things.  Ah, remember when stamps were .32 cents.IMG 3198

 Another birthday dinner.  This time with Trudy and Geoff at Bistro 45 in Pasadena.

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 We had already finished our dessert when this was brought over.  Well, gotta have another birthday wish and then polish this off!

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 Back to the somewhat real world.  Kita needed her rabies shot. She was so good…didn’t flinch or make a fuss about it at all.

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 We covered a lot in class.  Thanks Laurie Pie for the Roses and Kc, I’m enjoying watching the Peonies open.  Soooo beautiful! Thank you!!!

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 A fairly large Ink study….

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 All the while there’s a flood downstairs.  Good thing the bathrooms are tiled.

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The amazing Marsha Bohr brought over a ton of children’s books.  About half are in Chinese and the rest Chinese with English subtitles.Please come over and take whatever you’d like. Can you believe slight Marsha has climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania three times!  Eeeeee gads!!!IMG 3386

That’s right Alexis, hold on to that pup or he’s lunch!IMG 3397

Dave holds Lambert and all’s right with the world.  Lovely evening at the neighbors.

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Yippee!  Kita’s first day walking with a pack.  So excited!IMG 3422

Memorial Day means my famous grilled cheese sandwiches.  Probably famous because I use soooo much butter and never forget the bacon!

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Mom’s certainly happy with them…..

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As is Sir Charles…..

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The month ended beautifully with Ada Lee and John Young visiting the Nan Rae Studio!!!

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I wish you great joy!

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Friday, May 27, 2016


…and the day started out so fun with balloons, flowers, cake and presents!  Thank you dear Charles, Nikka and Vicki!IMG 2840

The post-it on the door was to remind me to take mounting paste to class. (It was stored in the fridge.)

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Nikka is just tooooo cute!  Note ‘THE’ Nan Rae!IMG 2846

Kita thought 'never mind who it’s for…I’m getting in on this'!IMG 2904

….. the best way to celebrate the day was teaching 26 students at the Huntington Botanical Gardens!

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At lunch Lulu had a surprise B-day cake for me and everyone sang ‘the song’!

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Iris thoughtfully brought my lunch. (Probably tired of seeing me eating a protein bar.)

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I was  so delighted to see Danielle, Jim Folsom’s #1 Assistant, Robert Hori, the Gardens Cultural Curator, along with Sweet Cris Lutz surprise me with a birthday visit!

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…and a beautiful Phalaenopsis born and bred at the Huntington!

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When I arrived home there was a golden envelope with a secret destination on it!  Dinner at the Langham Hotel in Pasadena where Charles and I were married! (It was the Ritz Carlton at the time.) In case you’re wondering….those are giant shrimp, not carrots!

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Yes, that’s a 32oz hunk of meat.  Carnivore that I am I reluctantly shared it with Nikka.  (There was soooooo much left over.  What was I thinking???)

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Love this!

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Heartfelt thanks to everyone for making this the best, best birthday ever!  May all your days be sweet!!!IMG 2894


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.