Tuesday, April 18, 2017


took on a whole new meaning at the 6th annual Kite Festival on the beach at the Santa Monica Pier. Honoring Tyrus Wong, the event was sponsored by Otis College of Art and Design.  Tyrus would always fly his amazing kites the fourth Saturday of each month just north of the Pier and I’ve blogged about it in the past.  Dozens of ‘kite flyers’ took part in the fun event and delightful kites were all about…..

Tyrus’ daughter Kim was in charge and determined it was far to windy to risk the kites aloft….we were nearly blown away! Nikka took advantage of the waters proximity as I told her to go dunk her toes in the ocean!
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 Enough fun in the sun….we headed off to the pier and a ride on the carousel….all three of us, Nikka, Amy and yours truly went round and round deciding it was great fun to be six again!
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 Time out for everything fried at Bubba’s…...
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 I saved some of the fries to feed to the seagulls and they swarmed down for a 60 second feeding frenzy!
 New rule:  Go visit the ocean more often……..
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 Not full enough from all that fried food, we headed over to Monte Carlo in Burbank for the very best Gelato…..Amy got a cup but Nikka and I opted for the yummy waffle cone.
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 Anyone remember going with me to ‘My Favorite Place’, the little cozy restaurant on Wilson in Glendale?  It was sold to new owners and then Alissa and Sarkis, the original owners, got it back and totally re-vamped it into a modern yuppie delight.  Anyone want to go with me to try it out???
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Well, looks like this is turning into another food expedition so here I am with Lovely Susi at the Peninsula’s Roof Terrace……nothing like a four hour lunch!IMG 1408
With Amy for amazing sashimi and sushi at Kabosu on Riverside Drive in Toluca Lake…..IMG 1540
Time for Din Tai Fung at Americana in Glendale with Sweet Maggie who had never been.  She loved it!
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 …and another four hour lunch.  This time playing catch up with Molly Girl in from Mexico.  We decided the Langham in Pasadena looking out on the pool would be the most relaxing. I really do get a lot of work done in-between these outings!
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 The hotel is so special to me as I’m sure I’ve mentioned Charles and I were married in this courtyard when it was the Ritz Carlton.  (I always look for descendants of the beautiful butterflies we had everyone release.)
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 Back to the studio and a visit with Grandmaster Don Baird and his beautiful wife Grand Master Maria. (She’s small but mighty!)
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 Landscape class this month in the studio was yet again a great learning experience and everyone did wonderfully!
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 The worker bees were just finishing up creating this amazing Japanese space inspired by the gardens of Kyoto at Sandie Girl’s.  I love it!
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 After the inspection it was time for an al fresco dining experience with Sandie and Jim….
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Later that day I was invited to share Armenian Easter dinner at Amy’s.
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This is not a stuffed animal Marianna and if you don’t stop carrying puppy Sophia around like that she won’t want to walk!
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Amy’s dog Mia just takes it all in...
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 Kita always tries for her place at the table and Sunday was no exception.  She really aimed for the Peeps!
IMG 1669May your days be sweet and jam packed with delightful experiences.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017


During an Invitational Rehearsal at Disney Hall, I watched  Christian Tetzlaff  bring joy from his violin and it was like watching Baryshnikov dance or hear Callas sing!  He was truly one with his instrument and even though it was a rehearsal, he played straight through for an hour without a score!  I’m speechless!
Malcolm Gladwell said that for greatness, one had to put in 20,000 hours.  I’d say double that and then add some.  You could see (and hear) that Tetzlaff had been playing the violin his whole life, that it occupied his every moment.  Google him….You’ll find an inspiring video of one of his master classes at Carnegie Hall.
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 After the exciting rehearsal it was time to head to the Patina Cafe for their delicious Chili!
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I hope you get to Disney Hall while the Nimbus installation is up.  It’s a series of ‘clouds’ that tower above each section of escalators and they are keyed to the people walking below displaying a fascinating light show with the most interesting sounds emanating from them. IMG 1246
 Sorry I don’t have a photo of the interior lights that change from golden to magenta with blue and golden hues.
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 I can’t believe I took this photo while my car was stopped at a red light!
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With all that inspiration it was time to watch two great movies on art from Netflix…...IMG 1254
Everyone should see Herb and Dorothy….It will change your life!IMG 1128
On to painting!  This adorable couple treated mom Beverly to my class at the Huntington….
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As always, class at the Huntington was wonderful.  I’m not sure who enjoys it more, me or my amazing students!
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 I always love it when David MacLaren, Curator of the Asian Gardens at the Huntington and dear Danielle, Jim Folsom’s #1 Assistant,  stop by to see me.
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 I’ve lectured and demonstrated at the Sunland/Tujunga Art Association for years and I so love everyone in this group.  Here’s Sweet Doris Arima who won the raffle for my demonstration painting.
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And Louise, who joined the Landscape class that’s on the second Wednesday of each month in the studio, had absolutely no trouble catching up with everyone.
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 Nikka brings in our paper order from China,  good thing we have the elevator as the box containing several packets was quite heavy!
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Peonies and Poppies in one of this months Saturday studio classes.  I have to show off Colleen’s work…..I’m so very proud of her!IMG 1271
New student precious Angie….We’re all so delighted to have her in class!
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Well you know what they say about all work and no play……Lisa Girl is working on hypnotizing Kita into submission. IMG 1141
 Enough of that….let’s eat!
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 A special tea time with dear Maggie at the Langham in Pasadena....
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And next it’s Harvard’s Jane Verrill, at the Bistro Gardens.  WONDERFUL!                          
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Who doesn’t like Gelato?  The place for the best is Monte Carlo on Magnolia in Burbank.  Be sure to ask for it in a cone, they’re yummy and worth the extra dollar!
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 For dinner I used the fresh Burrata to make this yummyness.
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Still the work goes on at the deck….
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The ‘new’ tile had to be removed and then each level until the framework where additional reinforcement was added.
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 Meanwhile the studio has equipment, sealant cans and the deck furniture in it…...
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 Tell me you understand any of this…..
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 I don’t but I’m certainly grateful that Oscar, my contractor found Georgie who is doing a masterful job.  So happy.
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Experiencing the Wisteria blooming has helped a lot.  May you take that extra moment to greet spring!
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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.