Thursday, August 4, 2016


…..was held this year at the Hotel Casa Del Mar in Santa Monica.

IMG 4987The ever lovely Natalie with CTG Producing Director Doug Baker.

IMG 4988Before we heard Doug Baker and Artistic Director Michael Ritchie discuss the upcoming season, there was an incredible buffet.

IMG 4978There were croissants with chocolate inside…Oh soooo French!

IMG 4979I hunted down the cream cheese to go with this wonderful lox and bagels...

IMG 4980Frittatas…..IMG 4983French toast….IMG 4984You were waiting for this one.  Bacon, Bacon, Bacon!!!  Soooo good!IMG 4985Nikka and I were at table 11 where I piled on as much as I could onto my plate.  Nikka got the coffee and sweets for me.IMG 4990Nikka really paid attention as we learned a lot about the upcoming season and the journey of putting on a show. In the past, CTG has put on 200 shows which includes 40 new productions. Coming up, ’A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE’ the Arthur Miller play which will have stage seating of 110 as the play takes place in a boxing ring.  I think that would be great fun to do!  After its run at the Ahmanson the play will travel to the Kennedy Center.  

‘FUN HOME’ is a new, smartly woven theatrical production that won the Tony Award for best musical.  We were told it will make our soul sing!  ‘CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG in the NIGHT-TIME’ is another Tony winner and wallopped Broadway. ‘INTO THE WOODS’, 'JERSEY BOYS' and’AMELIE, A NEW MUSICAL’ will round out the season.IMG 5002

I was busy taking videos of Doug Baker and Michael Ritchie’s interesting talk  so I didn’t get a good still.IMG 4999Here’s some more cuteness….. IMG 5035We stayed in the hotel and went to the Terrazza Room to wait for Mary and Keith.IMG 5013

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Clara took time out from her busy day to stop by and say hi!

IMG 5029Just a little more to eat please…...IMG 5024O.K., time for our third event of the day…..Off to the Starky’s where Grandmaster Don Baird was being celebrated that evening for 40 years heading the 'AMERICAN SCHOOL OF MARTIAL ARTS’! There were so many touching testimonials about the life changing affect Grandmaster Baird had on countless lives.

IMG 5425Maureen gave a beautiful presentation of the award….

IMG 5438Here’s awesome Grandmaster Maria Baird who we love so much!

IMG 5067Even the doggies were wonderful…This one wanted in one the treats...IMG 5073

IMG 5079There was so much food, all of it yummy but I’m just going to show you the cakes because, after all, after bacon, isn’t it all about the CAKE!!!

IMG 5427We decided we had not eaten enough all day so off we went to Din Tai Fung for Boba’s!  However, there was a two hour wait so we wound up getting them to go!

IMG 5432Whoops….nearly missed this doggie.  All pups must be photographed!

IMG 5434Oh, I almost forgot to tell you….Nikka spotted a bride as we left the Hotel Casa Del Mar and that’s always a wonderful sight!

IMG 5043Wishing you moments of joy 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.