Monday, May 23, 2016

I'M the QUEEN of ENGLAND....

….Or at least that’s how very special Maggie made me feel from the moment I entered her magical courtyard!

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Maggie began our afternoon by opening a bottle of lovely Elderberry juice/soda…..Aren’t the glasses lovely?

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But permit me to backtrack just a bit.  Maggie was the wife of Dr. Om P. Sharma, a true renaissance man, USC Professor of Medicine, teacher, model and source of inspiration to countless people.  A pioneer on the field of sarcoidosis, Dr. Sharma published over 500 articles along with a dozen books and dear Maggie was the editor of all.  I tell you that so you can grasp that together they were truly a renaissance couple in every sense of the term.  You are surrounded by that, it envelopes you when you’re in their home….their many travels and awards, their vast interests and love of life. Every inch of their home was filled with beautiful paintings and interesting objet’s d’art….. 

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…..along with so many  books in every room,  ranging from The Illiad, Shakespeare and beyond.IMG 2509

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My favorite book of all?  Maggie’s exquisite poetry!

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With all of this scholarship one does not feel intimidated but rather brought into a world of loving attention. A feast for the soul enhanced by flowers EVERYWHERE!

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Now for the ‘food’ feast!IMG 2542

Maggie had made a lovely salad, individual Yorkshire pudding and beef cups, assorted Finger Sandwishes, Petit Fours, Scones with the trimmings, my choice of tea and homemade Gelato! Oooooo sooooo good!

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Is it no wonder that I felt like royalty?

But wait….I haven’t come to the best part…..

Maggie was so inspired by my class at the Huntington that she had a studio built and is now happily creating beautiful Brush paintings!

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Thank you dear Maggie for a day that will linger long in my heart!

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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.