Thursday, December 29, 2016


…began joyfully with Clara and Penny treating me to lunch at the Peninsula's Roof Garden.

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One of my favorite things there is this adaptation of a Root Beer Float made with Ginger Beer!  Delicious!!!IMG 9371

Thank you dear Clara and Penny for the delightful time and the very special gifts!IMG 9373

Well I was right there at the Spa wasn’t I?  And I needed to relax, didn’t I? A massage was called for….right?  Right on all the above.IMG 9375

 Now I ask you, what’s the point of getting all relaxed and then driving back to the Valley on Coldwater during rush hour traffic? Correct?  No point.  Besides, after a good massage one can hardly walk let along get dressed and drive so dinner in the Relaxation Room was in order. (Besides, I had brought a good book to read.)

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 It was already dark outside as I headed towards home but not before I stopped to admire the Peninsula’s beautiful Christmas trees!

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 The next day’s class at the Huntington was wonderful as always and we had great fun getting ready for the Year of the Rooster!  Of course that was after a brief time of torture studying the Chinese Orchid! 

IMG 9450We had a sugar high at lunch as everyone brought Christmas treats to share.  Here’s Dear Maggie’s wonderful tray of home made goodies.  She’s amazing!

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Dr. Eileen came over with Christmas treats and had a great time teaching Kita to behave.  We’ll just add her name to the list of folks who came before her with the same fine intention.  I must say she did a good job and that’s due to her having horses and many dogs in her life! 

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 Oh well…… much for behaving!

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 Yeah, you’re good now…….

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 Christmas eve finally came, the table was set, gifts out and ready to be torn open and dinner was being prepared. I just didn’t hang the stockings on the chimney this year.

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 Vicki turned her back so I was able to get to the stove and stir a pot…..

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 Mary Beth, Kita’s trainer, always sends this wonderful basket of fruit for Christmas.  This year it arrived just as we were about to sit down for dinner...

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 Love you darling….Merry Christmas!

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 Mom made a huge effort to be with us and we were so grateful!

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 You can see parts of the fruit basket are missing.  The strawberries dipped in chocolate are amazing and along with the chocolate covered pineapple were the first to go.

IMG 9652May 2017 bring you countless sweet things and joy always!

Sunday, December 25, 2016


…...including carolers and a fine Santa!

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This would make anyone jolly!


I know, amazing!DSCN2582

…..and oh soooo good!

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Let’s start with dessert!

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Cheese anyone?

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…and what would you like to drink?

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Not sure what I was carrying on about here but I did want you to see Amy’s beautiful flowers!

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Delighted to see Nan Rae collectors Diane and Page…...

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Amy loved Jo Ann as much as I do!

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Time out with Prince…..

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Me too!

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Hmmmm…wonder whose orchids those are???

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Our hostess with the mostest with Amy’s beautiful flowers and sister Vanya to the right…..

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Delightful always to see artiste extraordinaire Peter Adams!

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Thank you dear Valerie for an amazing, memorable evening!

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Well, the evening was still young and we wanted to have tea so Amy & I headed over to The Langham which used to be the Ritz Carlton.  I always love going there and seeing the courtyard where Charles and I were married.

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Guess what Amy is holding in her free hand.

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Here’s a big clue…..

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There was a long line at the valet station and we had to wait 30 minutes for my car so…...

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I thought I’d end this blog with another beautiful tree…..this one’s from The Peninsula.IMG 9381

May your holiday be all bright and sparkling!

Monday, December 19, 2016



….began with dear Maggi treating me to the most wonderful experience at ‘A Noise Within’.  Some of you may remember this classical Shakesperean group was based in Glendale for years.  They’re now in a fine setting at 3352 E Foothill Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91107.

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 We were treated to the most amazing production of Dickens' ‘A Christmas Carol’ that one would ever hope to see.  It would have done the Ahmanson proud!  Acting, staging, creative…actually extraordinary costumes, all pitch perfect!

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 Bravo cast and crew! (We had front row center marvelous seats!)

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 This young fellow played Tiny Tim and Sweet Maggie immediately spoke with his father who was the narrator and connected him with a brilliant agent that she knows who represents child actors. That’s dear Maggie!

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 With ‘Christmas Yet to Come’!

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Jacob Marley’s ghost doesn’t look nearly as scary as he did on stage!

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 Afterwards we had one of the best meals I can remember at SHIRO’s in Pasadena.  If you haven’t been there it’s worth the trip!

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 Maggie thoughtfully treated me to a drive down Christmas Tree Lane right off of Huntington Drive on Saint Albans Road in San Marino.  That brought back fond memories of some of my collectors who live there.

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 O.K., more fun stuff.  This time with adorable Eliza and her sister Marine.  Amy and I were delighted to meet for lunch at 'The Front Yard’ in NoHo.

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 And here’s the lovely Marine!

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 This was a totally strange experience as our server kept bringing out dish after dish, too many to photograph.  

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 We were even offered desert and coffee but at that point could no long walk without a waddle.  Turns out Eliza, being in the ad biz, was being royally treated and we got to share in it.  Thank you Eliza!!!

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 Thanks to dear Cris Lutz at the Huntington, some of the students in the studio class and I were treated to a private tour of ‘Gardens, Art & Commerce in Chinese Woodblock Prints’, a fascinating exhibit in the Boone Gallery.

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 After seeing an exhibit on Chinese art where else would you eat but in the Chinese Garden restaurant at the Huntington. Special thanks to dear Lynne Sims for herding us all together.  As I told her, cats are easy, think of goldfish!

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 And here’s Sweet Lynne now,in the office  working on her Christmas card with Nikka.

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 Sandie Girl came by to show me this year’s amazing needlepoint stocking!  I think this is the 10th one and each takes about a year to complete.

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 As it happened, Michael was here from Boston on his yearly trip to the studio to work on his Christmas card.  Sandie Girl was queried as I was, as a prospective juror, to get our opinion of a case he’s possibly going to handle.  Sandie came in at $250,000 but I said a million or nothing.  Interested????

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Time for the monthly Landscape class in the studio.  I always look forward to seeing Lulu’s take on our subject.  She’s super creative!IMG 9068

 O.K., it’s this past Friday evening & I had told my very dear friend Mary that I would go with her to the Honda Center in Anaheim for a special Christmas Concert.  What was I thinking?  Right, just say yes to everything.  Well, I’m about to change that.  Connor drove me to Bloomingdale’s where Mary picked me up and off we went…..forever.  Nightfall and we arrived!  

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 Dinner first at J.T. Schmid’s Restaurant and Brewery which was as awful as it sounds but at least Mary won the Ugly Christmas Sweater Award! (Given by me.)

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I started to get a very bad feeling when we had to take an elevator up, up and up.  When we got off and finally found our section we climbed so high there were only three rows behind us.  I’m not grouchy but I hate crowds and heights…just saying!  Mary kept saying she thought our seats were down below.  Huh?  Anyway, she went down and got popcorn as a make up.  In her defense, she did drive me all the way home instead of our first plan for me to take a cab from downtown L.A.
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Next morning, our annual Christmas lunch during class in the studio.  Sandie Claus arrives!

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 Everyone brings a special yummy dish that we all look forward to.  Wish I had a better picture!

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 I posted a video on Facebook of the amazing work done by all but neglected to do a still photo.   We were all just too happy!  It was wonderful to see dear Lynne Tucker who drove in from Palm Springs for the special day.

IMG 9192But wait…..there’s more!  Nikka and I were off to a Christmas party at dear Maggies.  This blog started with Maggie so this will be a fitting close.  Oh my gosh how I love this woman!

IMG 9201Besides being the most literate friend one could have, Maggie is a consummate hostess bringing the most varied and brilliant people together and providing all of us with a feast to satisfy every palate! This is just the cheese station and just look how cleverly it’s set up.  Those are glass blocks separating the glass trays.  Brilliant.  Maggie got my favorite French pate….Can you imagine?

IMG 9204What’s that about a kid in a candy shop?

IMG 9206I’m so glad you asked me that…...

IMG 9210To quote John F. Kennedy, “I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge,……with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone"!

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Thank you Maggie and thank you my dear friends one and all.  May your every day be interesting and filled with joy!


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.