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

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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.