Sunday, May 28, 2017


I thought the birthday celebrating with Amy was over when we capped last Sunday's birthday treat of lunch and cake # 5 with a Mariachi group singing Happy Birthday to me….
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With exquisite birthday flowers from dear Amy…..
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But wait ‘till you see what’s in this beautiful Tiffany Blue box! (It’s  Le jardin privé )
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Yes!  More beautiful birthday flowers that we took to the Peninsula Hotel (Amy’s idea) and placed on our table during lunch at the Roof Garden Restaurant……Here they are with cake #7!
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I can hardly stand it!!!
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Birthday Spa time at The Peninsula…Let’s do a selfie!
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Afterwards we both fell asleep in the ‘Relaxation Room’ until after 7:00 but it was interspersed with cups of their amazing ginger tea and yummy little muffins!
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 Back to the Roof Garden Restaurant for Champagne followed by the most delicious filet mignon ever!
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Cake #8 but who’s counting…..
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Thank you dear Amy for the most memorable of days!IMG 2573
May flowers continually bloom in your heart!

Thursday, May 18, 2017


Sandie Girl and I love to celebrate our May birthdays together and this year was no exception.  What could possibly be more fun that playing with a two year old along with a 5 and a half nearly grown up???….(the half is important)
Off Nikka and I went on Friday to meet Sandie Girl and the Grandkiddies at Dinousar Farm on Mission in Pasadena.
Fullsizeoutput 15534Hi Jakey and Sandie Girl…..
Fullsizeoutput 15535Perhaps we should discuss Noah’s obsession with balls.  I repeat…OBSESSION!
IMG 2004The balls quite outweighed all dinosaurs and other assorted items although we did settle on a dinosaur later…..
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Meanwhile Nikka and Jakey have major big stuff to discuss…...
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Jakey settles on two dinosaur hand puppets…..Remember the ball?
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….and the dinosaur……..IMG 2033
 Almost forgot….It’s all about me.  Well kinda... so Happy Birthday to me!
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 Next stop Fair Oaks Pharmacy where I have always wanted to go.  It’s 100 years old and you step back in time when there were cute soda jerks and sweet fun stuff! Nikka and Noah while away the time coloring while we wait for our lunch!
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 With a time out for Noah to attack one of Jakey’s hand puppets! (In the friendliest of ways of course!)
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 Surprisingly, they make one of the most delicious Ruben sandwiches which Nikka and I shared but instead of showing you that…..Sandie Girl said I invaded these two war buddies as they enjoyed their walloping sundaes!  I merely said that I only took a photo of their treats! It was soooo cute.  Two really grown up men being twelve again!
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 Jakey didn’t want any ice cream until he got his hands on Nikka’s cone…..
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 Finally a stop at wonderful Bristol Farms for assorted goodies…...
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 Saturday evening Nikka and I were off to join in the celebrating for Grandmaster Don Baird’s birthday bash….. This was a very clever idea…must remember….
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 What a precious couple…….Check out their 'American School of Martial Arts’ in Burbank on Magnolia and also the new school in Lancaster!
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 You know I love these two….Randy and Bridget…...
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 Maria showed us this amazing photograph she took and I’m wondering how she talked that grasshopper into posing.  Kung Fu perhaps????
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 O.K. you two….break it up…..
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I guess we are kinda cute after all…..FullSizeR 3
 It was so touching to know Don was sending his wish out to all of us…...
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May you always have cake!
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Wednesday, May 3, 2017


 There’s still time to be enthralled by TOSCA at the L.A. Opera.
"A night of powerhouse singing and strong conducting... Sondra Radvanovsky brought down the house." - Los Angeles Times
Fullsizeoutput 15436Amy and I were spellbound by this classic Puccini tale and the bravura performance of the amazing Sondra Radvanovsky!  We caught out breath and sat back to relax in the Founder’s Room during intermission.
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 I nearly walked past Lisa See but dear Amy snapped me to attention.  It was great fun seeing Lisa and hearing about all her touring for her latest tour de force, 'THE TEA GIRL OF HUMMINGBIRD LANE'!
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 Perhaps I should back-track a little bit.  I was quite prepared for this performance having attended a preview of Giacomo Puccini’s masterpiece the week before.  Here’s Brush painting student Louise with the Opera League’s guest lecturer Norm Cadman.  Norm examined the composer, along with the opera and the dramatic themes of love, passion and treachery!
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 Along with all that we had video’s of Plåcido Domingo’s performance in the ’90’s….brilliant!
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Now for art!  Class at the Huntington was another joyful experience and we accomplished so much!IMG 5864
Afterwards Nikka and I went to Chiang’s in El Monte to have some ginormous Lotus studies I did mounted…..IMG 1703
 Who wouldn’t need a treat at Din Tai Fung’s after that???
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 All month the focus was on Wisteria and just look at Kathy Wong's exquisite work!
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 Kathy’s daughter Kaley knows my Panna Cotta addiction and made me six delicious treats….Thank you dear Chef Kaley!
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 I went with dear Diane to see Shantien ‘Tom’ Chow’s awesome Brush painting and calligraphy exhibit in Huntington Beach.  We would pick the day the #5 was completely shut down.  What an adventure finding an alternative route which Diane navigated brilliantly!
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IMG 1755I wish I had photographed everything!
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Tom you’re amazing!
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 So proud to have this fine artist teach calligraphy in my studio for over eight years!  He’s loved and respected by one and all!
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 Well, I couldn’t let much time go by without a lunch break now could I?  Happily treated by  Nancy Baxter from the L.A. Opera  at Heritage Eatery.
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 How lovely to talk about all things ‘art’  over smoothies with my dear Lizzie Girl at Bloomies!
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 Now here’s Sweet Lynne Sim’s exquisite Wisteria Brush painting from another Saturday class in the studio.  Lynne has no idea how amazing her work is.
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And how could I forget dear Angie, a new Brush painting student who is doing wonderfully!
IMG 1804May beauty fill your world 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.