Monday, March 20, 2017


 …..a treasure right in out midst.
IMG 0965This was really brought home to me when Marsha and Stu, my longtime friends from Chicago, were so impressed by all the ‘Gardens’ has to offer, they made a lovely donation after their visit. I wonder, if perhaps because we live here we take it for granted and maybe it’s time to give the Gardens a second look.
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Spend a day in the Chinese or Japanese Garden, two of my favorites (surprise?) or really look at all the magnificent artwork the Huntington has to offer.  Did you know that people come from all over the world just to see Pinky and Blue Boy?  While I mention that, 'The Blue Boy' will be restored beginning in the fall of 2018 and we will be privileged to watch as the restoration takes place.  That should be fascinating! Fortify yourself with a delicious lunch in the new café 1919 and continue your exploring.
Be sure to mark your calendar for the amazing Rose Garden display in April and May.
I so hope that a new visit to the Gardens will inspire you to make a donation so that this fine treasure will remain for many to enjoy.  Perhaps you might even wish to become a Huntington Successor...IMG 0939 and guess what…..parties and special events will be yours!!!
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Of course, you know the foodie part is for me….
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I always love seeing awesome Cris Lutz…...IMG 0956
…and I’m in total and complete awe of Laura Skandera Trombley, President of the Huntington Botanical Gardens, who always handles everything with such grace and ease.
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You’ll even learn inside info about many art treasures such as 'The Lady with a Plume'.
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IMG 0972When I’m at the Huntington and see groups of children able to tour and see things they might never have the opportunity to visit I am always so touched and gratified…..this is something that I hope will never be taken for granted. Just imagine, a tax deductible gift of just $250. and  schools in the San Gabriel Valley can pay for a bus to bring students to the Huntington, many of whom have never been to an art museum or introduced to botany..  Check out
It’s been a continual joy for me teaching Brush painting at the Huntington these many years and seeing how lives are continually expanded discovering the wonder held within them.
IMG 4696Wishing you a joyful day spent at one of our greatest treasures, The Huntington Botanical Gardens!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017


...and our Miss Judith sponsored a table to honor Janet P. Pregler, M.D., Director, Iris Cantor UCLA Women’s Health Center, UCLA National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health.  Dr. Pregler is seated amongst her fine team.
IMG 1078Miss Judith, Dr. Pregler, Eileen and yours truly.  Miss Judith is on the Executive Advisory Board of the Iris Cantor-UCLA Women’s Health Center and  I’m beyond proud of her! Thank you Miss Judith for including me in such an august group of women.
'Since 1975, the Los Angeles County Commission for Women, a 15-member advisory Commission appointed by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, has worked to improve the lives of women and their families in Los Angeles County.’ The hard working and dedicated women honored provide invaluable service for women’s issue, advocating women’s rights and working to bring about social and economic change.  The years of dedication and service by all is staggering and many have toiled for years to serve and make a difference.
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It’s always lovely to be serenaded and if there’s a cello involved, all the better! (This fine event was held in the Grand Hall of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.)
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It’s both humbling and inspiring to be amongst so many brilliant and talented women who dedicate their lives to service.  Fun to see Paula Devine, Glendale’s Mayor in the group but didn’t get a photo.
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Who doesn’t love a Color Guard and the chance to say the Pledge of Allegiance and hear The Star Spangled Banner!!!
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Foodies, the lovely lunch was provided by Patina!
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This has to be the very  best chicken served at any luncheon and the baby garden carrots were sensational!
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Congratulation Dr. Pregler… are awesome!
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Here’s a chance to make a difference and do something that will affect lives!  Scholarships are given to at-risk young women overcoming hardships such as homelessness, domestic violence and poverty.  For more information:
A donation of any size will be so appreciated.  Checks can be made payable to LACCW and mailed to:
Los Angeles County Commission for Women
Attn: Scholarship Program Committee
500 West Temple Street, Room B-50
Los Angeles, CA 90012Fullsizeoutput 1529aTo feel good, do good!

Saturday, March 11, 2017


And you know who you are!
Lunch with my cuties, Sandie and Lisa Girl.IMG 0662
Laurie Pie and Kita have a major discussion about who gets dinner…...IMG 0853
Chinese from Gourmet 88 is the very best!IMG 0855
Sandie Girl was brave enough to tackle my Chicken/cheese Enchilada…..IMG 0882
It kinda oozes out all over but the taste is pretty good…...
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 Back to Bar Verde after a very long absence…It’s always a joy to be with Beautiful Mary…..
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 Their tacos are unusual and quite tasty…...
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 Favorite place, favorite person….At Julienne’s with dear Maggie. There quiche with a spinach crust is beyond belief!
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 Maggie spotted this table of total cell phone users….too funny or too sad.  You decide.
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Finally, an artery clogging lunch with cousin Carol at Art’s in Studio City. That’s a chocolate egg cream you see next to my hand.  I am sooooo bad!
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Seriously, what was I thinking?  This was so high it was jaw breaking! Verdict?  Langer’s next time.
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The Loquats are ready to harvest.  Two trees from one amazing Italian seed.IMG 0857May all your days be joyfully fruitful!

Monday, March 6, 2017


…..At The Huntington Botanical Garden’s amazing exhibit on the Celebration Lawn.  This extraordinary experience within a Nautilus-shell-shaped 28 foot ‘sculpture’ is clad in shiny aluminum and you enter an amazing sound experience.
Orbit Pavilion at the Huntington Botanical Gardens
Marsha and Stu, my life long snow bird friends from Chicago who winter in Newport Beach, huddle with brilliant Curator Susan Maxwell before entering the Orbit to hear NASA’S fleet of earth science satellites that monitor our planets vital signs. This sound experience represents the movement of the International Space Station and 19 earth satellites.  As there is no sound in space, each satellite has been given a recorded sound attached to it’s signal and that’s what you hear from a speaker as it’s trajectory is picked up.  For the Space Station, because it’s manned, it’s sound is that of a choir!  'These NASA studies help to unravel the complexities of our planet from the highest reaches of Earth’s atmosphere to it’s core.'
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Inside the structure is where things get really interesting, as each satellite flies overhead through space, that corresponding sound is emitted from each of the 28 speakers mounted on the structure’s interior wall.' Visitors walking into the structure hear a new kind of symphony, with a sound interpreting each of the satellites’ various missions: among them a human voice, the crashing of a wave, a tree branch moving, a frog croaking. The “soundscape” was composed by Oakland-based sound artist Shane Myrbeck.'
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Here’s a list of the satellites along with their tasks.
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I suggest that you go first to NASA’s related interactive exhibit, “EYES ON THE EARTH” in the Mapel Orientation Gallery right across from the yummy new restaurant, 1919. You’ll learn so much and be better prepared to experience the ORBIT.
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Susan also graciously gave us a special tour of the ‘GARDEN OF FLOWING FRAGRANCE’ ( Liu Fung Yuan) where I learned quite a bit more than I had known.  Those of you who went on the trip to China with Charles and myself will long remember the Gardens of Suzhou whose architects and artisans built this astonishing garden. This memorable day was thanks to lovely Cris Lutz who you can see to the right in this photo.  It was a joy to share this beautiful experience with her.  Thank you Cris!
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I seriously doubt that there’s a rock, pebble, shrub or tree that Susan is not knowledgeable about!
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This was quite possibly the most exquisite Chinese Magnolia I have ever seen and I could hardly wait for the next Brush painting class for it to be our subject! As you know if you’ve ever been in class….a flower is never just a flower but represents something so sublime speaking to the harmony of heaven and earth!
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This fine fellow, a Canadian Goose, enjoyed sailing amidst the Lotus Pods about to shed their seeds for next seasons growth.
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The stunning rocks are all from Lake Tai and one could spend a day just contemplating their complexity! It’s apparent the garden is aptly named as with each season new plants and trees bring forth their heavenly fragrances.
IMG 0748Oh joy! As you walk along each pathway, pause to note each stone beneath your feet has been handset by an artisan!
IMG 0752The newly reopened restaurant, 1919, is a mini Border Grill and you know how great that is!  There are classics like tacos on homemade tortillas, ceviche, and aqua frescos along with sushi at a small plates bar.  So many delicious choices…..Here’s the yummy sandwich ares.
IMG 0778A couple of evenings later there was a most interesting and knowledgeable lecture “From Castles to Tea Rooms: Japanese Architecture and Carpentry Traditions of the Edo Period (1600-1868)
IMG 0863To my utter amazement, this was the last slide….
IMG 0875I just can’t imagine how the photo from my March 19th 2013 blog was found!
IMG 0874So there you have it….LIVE JOYFULLY!


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.