Tuesday, October 25, 2016


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I first met Ha on October 19th when I was teaching a Brush Painting class at the Huntington Botanical Gardens  and that happened to be the day when all the exhibitors for the major orchid show, ‘ELEGANT ORCHIDS’ the coming weekend were setting up.

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Ha happened to be setting up his exhibit right outside our class room and his attention to detail completely and totally captivated me so I would sneak out from time to time to watch his progress.

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Having begun early in the morning, Ha would pay special attention to each detail, noting the placement of the exquisite driftwood he brought and making sure each orchid specimen showed itself off to best advantage.  At one point Ha modestly said he didn’t know what he was doing and I looked him straight in the eye and said, ‘You know exactly what you are doing’! and we both laughed…..Well, I was proven right by all the ribbons awarded Ha’s display and…..wait for it…..Ha won a beautiful crystal vase inscribed for the ‘BEST OVERALL DISPLAY of SHOW!’ YES!!!

From Ha:

Here are all of the trophies and most ribbons the NHOS team received at the Huntington International Orchid Show over the weekend.

On behalf of the NHOS team, I would like to extend my thank you and appreciation for all your help and contribution. 

Also we would like to thank you the Huntington Library staffs (Brandon TamGayle Brodie, ...), the AOS (George Hatfield, Arthur Pinkers, ...), the CSA, and all of our orchid's vendors and friends for making this event possible.


- Best Display in Show (by AOS judges)
- AOS Orchid Trophy (by AOS judges)
- 2nd place exhibit over 40 sqft. (by ribbon judges)
- 7 first place ribbons
- 2 second place ribbons
- 3 third place ribbons

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Ha’s amazing team!14731395 10206134956892244 2252995734811337403 n

Feast your eyes on some of Ha’s orchids….

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There are so many, many more so I would suggest you go to Ha Bui on Facebook and scroll on down to the show.

The day continued to be amazing when during class lunch break I met Daniel L. Geiger, Ph.D.,Curator of Malacology at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History who also has a Fellowship at the Huntington. Daniel was so very interesting but he might as well of been speaking Martian as it was all way, way over my head.  At one point I said, “This is so amazing there must be only 5 or 6 people doing what you’re doing.”  The reply?  "No.  I’m the only one!"

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Class as always was wonderful and I’m way beyond proud of everyone!

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After class I met another exhibitor, Doris, who is so delightful I’m counting her as a new bestie!  Doris also won 15 awards!

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Doris told me she likes to tell a story in her display and asked me to concentrate on the little black dot in the center of this small orchid.  Well, stare as I might….nothing and then…..amazingly I actually saw it….a baby bird and it’s beak!  WOW!

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May you always see the wonder in everything!


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for such a generous write up Nan.


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.