Thursday, June 23, 2016



…Laurie Pie planned an amazing day at the original Farmers Market on 3rd & Fairfax for a birthday celebration for me.  If you haven’t been there for a while it’s time for a real treat.  We had so much fun walking about looking at everything and finally settling on Monsieur Marcel for lunch….By the way, she’s Laurie Pie because she prefers PIE to birthday cake!

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 They have the most incredible handmade Macaroons made by Les Macarons Duverger (also sold at Whole Foods).  Light as air meringue discs with a perfect ganache filling. Ahhhh Paris! This was way better than cake!

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 Afterwards we stopped in at the  Monsieur Marcel French Gourmet Shop which is my new favorite place and anyone who wants to go visit….I’m sooooo ready!

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Yes, this ‘Grande Vecchio' 100 year old Balsamic reduction is only $450.00 a bottle. Notice they keep it under wraps or should I say ‘glass’.  I’d put it on my perfume shelf! 

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 I dragged poor Laurie about looking for a certain type of pot scrubbing brush and half way thru the new area of the Grove discovered I had left my American Express card back at Sur la Table.  Of course, after that hike back we needed See’s chocolates!

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 This five month old Akita was already a handful for his owners so of course I gave them my card I told them to phone anytime…..They have nooooooo idea!

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 Dan, Lauries Prince, gave me this cartoon knowing we were going to Farmer’s market.  So cute!

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 Meanwhile, back on the hill, I spied Tulip going to work…….Sorry puppy, no treat in my pocket!

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 Thought you’d like to see the last Peonies of the season courtesy of dear Amy!

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 Love construction, love big trucks that move and do things and fortunately really loved this one as it completed the road the day before class at the Huntington!

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Bye, bye and thank you!IMG 3696

 We painted the Chinese Orchid and Lavender in class at the Huntington Botanical Gardens and it was great fun!  I was so grateful to have Nikka able to help me for the day.

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 After class Nikka and I went to Chang’s in El Monte to have Lizzie’s artwork framed.

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After that it was off to the Reilly’s for an alfresco dinner and playtime with grand baby (growing up fast) Noah!  Nikka was so adorable with Noah…..he’s amazing!

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O.K., more birthday stuff.  This time, with beautiful Tina Marie at Crustacean in Beverly Hills.  I really appreciated thoughtful Tina picking out such a perfect spot.  I love seeing the Koi/Carp under the glass walkway.

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What’s really funny is that while I posted this event on Facebook a month after my birthday, I got a ton of Happy B-day wishes.  This one from our dear Lynne Tucker!IMG 3781

 Peter and Jim flew in from Dallas just for class.  Peter had been a student years ago before moving to Texas.  He asked to study Bamboo and boy, did we ever!

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After class Nikka and I went to Home Depot for a new doorbell and got one ‘As Seen On TV’.

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It’s sooooo cool!

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The ‘Ring Video Doorbell’ allows you to see who’s at your front door from absolutely anywhere on your iPhone.  I’ve had more fun calling the house when I’m out and about with people and telling Vicki to go out and ring the doorbell and talk to us. 


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 After that shopping expedition we stopped at Habit for yummy burgers and fries.  I always get a lettuce wrap as I like to kid myself about calories.

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 See what I mean?

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Wishing you lovely marshmallow skies each and every day!

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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.