Tuesday, August 23, 2016


….and that’s exactly what beautiful Maggie’s sacred environment is!

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In case you’re wondering, Manjil is a Hindi word and nothing expresses the all encompassing, loving environment better.  I so wanted Nikka to see this enchanting home and what a universal, literary spirit creates.

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As soon as you enter there are art pieces, books, tiles…..so much to see and everything has a deep, meaningful history. Nikka was enthralled as I knew she would be.

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Sooooo cute!

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Did I mention books everywhere?

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Serious books…..IMG 5857

Books to make you think…..

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Non-fiction histories…..IMG 5874

….and charming books that may have a tiger clinging to them!

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I’ve told you before about Maggie’s knife skills and culinary expertise…..

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This was really interesting.  All I remember is that is was a crab something….in a perfect avocado shell!

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Maggie knows I’m crazy for her home made ice cream….This one, lemon with poppy seeds!  Thank you Maggie! 

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Charm in every corner including this in the kitchen…..

IMG 5877The next day Nikka was still dreaming about our afternoon at Maggie’s while we waited for beautiful Tina Marie at the Beverly Hills Hotel.IMG 5882


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At this point we’ve sat in every single booth in the pool area and usually for five hours at a stretch…...

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Getting ready for some Gazpacho….IMG 5896

It tasted great but looked way different from what I was expecting…..

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I thought I’d close this blog with something rather domestic….Basil waiting to be planted in the garden.

IMG 5939May all your days be verdant!

Monday, August 15, 2016


If you want to relax, toss aside all cares and take a one day vacation then I suggest a day at the Bel-Air Hotel. Just seeing the swans as you approach the hotel will place you in another world….a world of serenity and great beauty……a reminder to live joyfully!

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 Even the powder room is delightful….

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….where you’re sure to encounter at least one pooch like Elvis!

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 Darling Patricia treated me to the most wonderful lunch in Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant which turned out to take way over five hours.  We even had a shift change in servers.

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 The crab cakes were cold but the truth is….the plate was hot when we were served.  I suppose anything would get cold in an hour!  They were still delicious and I loved the little hummingbird on the plate.

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 This halibut was the most tender and moist ever and how I love mangoes!

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 We were offered some cake from the birthday celebrants at the next table.  They even had ice cream bars.  Note to self:  Order ahead!

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 This is why we passed up the birthday cake!!!

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 Could I resist?  Maltese Cindy was lounging in the bar area….

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 The grounds are so tranquil and beautiful and we stopped everywhere to take it all in…..Thank you dear Patricia for such a memorable day!

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 Even doing some tree hugging…..

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 Of course I got a Rubber Swan.  You certainly don’t think they’d have Rubber Ducky’s do you???

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 This is the $100. book for the exhibit ‘ALTERED DREAMS’: 17th Century Chinese Paintings' currently at LACMA. I almost bought it but the thought of lugging it back to the car was just too much.  I’ll check out Amazon. The exhibit features hundreds of 17th century scrolls collected by the Tsao family.

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 Kc wanted to make sure she captured everything….

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 As did Lulu….

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 This was one of my favorites as it is very similar to the work we study in Landscape class at the Nan Rae Studio on the 2nd Wednesday of each month..

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There were also many fine ‘Flower/Bird paintings…This is a section of a very long scroll.IMG 5732

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 Here we are.  Lulu, Kathryn, Kc, Violet and Lynne taking a time out!

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 There was so much to see in this vast collection that we glazed over when about half through.  Time to restore at Ray’s.

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 Lovely Heirloom Tomatoes for the table….

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 Amazing Ahi Tuna...

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 Actually we got two wood fired pizzas, this Italian Pepperone and a Margherita.

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 Later in the week we were delighted when Nikka stopped by the Landscape class in the studio…..

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 Lulu brought her skill and grand imagination to bear on this scene….creating a pirates cove….

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 Kathryn was more traditional….

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 I suspect I’ll be working on mine for the rest of the month!

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 I finally saw 'Gray Gardens the Musical' with Betty Buckley….she’s always a treat!

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 In my next blog we enter ‘MANJIL'  a Hindi word meaning destination of the heart and that’s just where we’re going!

IMG 5852May your heart find it’s destination.



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.