Tuesday, June 20, 2017


I was delighted when ‘Literary Affairs’ notified me that there would be a ‘BEYOND the BOOK event with LISA SEE’ at the Hotel Bel Air and I wasted no time in making reservations.  This special book club style discussion was to celebrate Lisa’s newest book, ‘THE TEA GIRL OF HUMMINGBIRD LANE’.
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It’s a good thing I registered early as there wasn’t an inch of space left….Fullsizeoutput 15770
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Lisa had traveled to China with Linda Louie as part of her research for this book and Linda also spoke, educating us on all things ‘tea’ especially Pu-erh Teas which are so prominent in 'The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane'.  Linda is a knowledgeable tea expert and owner of the Band Tea Company.
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It was great fun to hear such a specialist on tea and then to taste samples …..IMG 2758
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Even though there was a continental breakfast included in the event, Amy and I were famished and decided to stay in the hotel and have lunch at Wolfgang Puck’s. This special salad was amazing….Thinly sliced melon curling around the creamiest Burrata and decorated with these lovely petit flowers!  We also had the best Organic Carrot Ginger Soup and still famished shared a burger and fries!!!
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Remember…it’s all about the cake….
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Cake #11 Thank you dear Amy!IMG 2775
Of course we had to visit the swans…..IMG 2783
I’m also completely and totally in awe of Jim Folsom, head of the Huntington Botanical Gardens.  Special thanks to Maggie Sharma who introduced me to Jim’s amazing classes the 4th Thursday of each month in ‘Botany Bay’ at the Huntington.  Jim brings in an assortment of flora and then gives  an insightful lecture on all things ‘botanical’.  Thank you Maggie and thank you Jim!
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After class we get to look at all the specimens up close and personal…...
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Best of all, Magie and I go to Maison Akira after class for a very elegant French dinner with a Japanese flair!
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May you always know what a beautiful swan you are!IMG 2785

Thursday, June 15, 2017


We saw Kir Dullea, as an old man, in this bed for the final scene of 2001: A Space Odyssey, Stanley Kuybrick’s masterpiece.  Remember what he said when queried by another astronaut who landed in the room and wondered what was about to happen?….. “Something wonderful”. That sounds about right to me!IMG 2608I should backtrack.  Laurie Pie wanted to do something quite amazing for my birthday and discovered ‘The 14th Factory', a ‘monumental, multi-media, interdisciplinary, socially engaged art experience that mirrors the decline of globalization. This amazing project was conceived and financed by the Hong-Kong based British artist Simon Birch with 20 collaborators to  create this immersive environment within a theme of overcoming obstacles and challenges as a global society.
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The space at 440 N. Avenue 19 in Los Angeles covers 3 acres, 150,000 sq. feet. This huge industrial warehouse, is an immense environment comprised of videos, installations, sculptures, paintings and performance art transforming you into a central player. First one walks through a totally blackened area, walking some distance enveloped in darkness…….Laurie is heading there….
IMG 2598After walking forever through pitch black corridors (we used the lights on our iPhones) you come across ‘The Barmecide Feast’ a facsimile re-creation of the final bedroom set piece in 2001: A Space Odyssey  by Paul Kember. and you’re absolutely overwhelmed! The iconic illuminated white floor and the stark ‘whiteness’ of the room is staggering.
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Next one journeys through to other installations, this one being a re-creation of a crator on the moon!
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It’s hard to get a sense of the huge scope of these areas…...
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This absolutely fascinated me. Artist Movana Chen wove an entire huge piece from shredded magazines!
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There were three areas I didn’t explore but this one was a darkened room with tremendous wall to wall screens that showed video abstractions  of Simon Birch’s Ferrari crashing!
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In the next room were pieces of the Ferrari and on the wall still photos of it crashing!  This white table is immense and again hard to tell the scale of it.
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Artist Gloria Yu created various crowns using different materials such as wood, silver, gold etc.
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And here were three meteors that fell to earth over 3 billion years ago, on loan to the exhibit.
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"Immersed in a total video environment, we are projected into a different kind of “extra-terrestrial” space, created by the countless facades of a Hong Kong cityscape, punctuated by thousands of windows. The perspective is of someone falling or floating in mid-air, travelling downwards through the “landscape” of the buildings, yet never hitting the ground. 'Tannhauser' is a concept by Simon birch, realized by Scott Sporleder, Jennifer Russell, with sound design by @GunnGary"
I had to leave this room as I got so dizzy and was delighted when someone behind me said they too felt that way!  You’re surrounded by the videos of buildings that really do seem to continue to rise up making you feel as if you're falling down.
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Finally, airplane parts disconnected from their host vehicle and floating in seemingly black water. ‘Clear Air Turbulence’, Simon Birch.  A site-specific installation of salvaged airplane tails in a steel-framed pool.Fullsizeoutput 15764
 O.K., enough of a cerebral workout, time to feast at ‘BESTIA’, one of L.A.’s top 5 restaurants and may I say it should be #1!
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 We had the best seats to watch food preparation and salivate over every plate we saw. (The pink package contains Neil DeGrasse Tyson's ‘Astrophysics for People in a Hurry’.
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 O.K. Foodies…this is for you….LOBSTER CROSTINO: Saffron & squid ink aioli, pickled chilies, opal basil. Citrus.  Eyes roll back in your head delicious!
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 SALUMI: Chef’s selection of house-cured meats, mustard, grilled bread.  Yummy!
IMG 2666I love marrow bones…..This one was roasted with a spinach gnocchetti, crispy breadcrumbs & aged balsamic.  Soooo yummy!
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 GRILLED WHOLE BRANZINO:  Pea tendrils, fried herbs, grilled lemon.  Magnificent!
IMG 2668I took a video of my birthday cake which was ‘COFFEE & DONUT’s' (holes) with a candle, some amazing spiced chestnut zeppole, Whipped cream and COFFEE ICE CREAM so no photo.  Thank you dear Laurie for a perfect day!
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And remember….Live joyfully!IMG 2705

Monday, June 12, 2017


 ….Where to begin.  Perhaps I’ll tell you about Yoshida Hideyuki, a gifted Japanese gardener who specializes in trees and who I gratefully connected with through the fellow who re-did the Bamboo. Yoshida-san is in Santa Monica and I was most grateful to hear him say he just ‘felt’ he should help me even though it’s far afield for him.  The main concern is this cypress that needs an actual bonsai trim twice a year.  The idea is to ‘create spaces the birds can fly through’!
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 A little work on a pine….
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 Yoshida-san asked if I had a gardener & was shocked when I answered in the affirmative.  Apparently the work is not being done properly…..
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 Ahhhhhh………..well done!
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 I’m trying to decide what I like best….The proper care of the trees or the amazing Japanese treats Yoshida-san brings me.
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 The best leaf Matcha tea…...
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 At ‘Chang’s Frame’ on Telstar in El Monte.  May is amazing and I take all large works there to be mounted.  I was so inspired by the new paper from China and using monster brushes that I did over 9 large paintings in May.
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 Thank you May.  You’re the absolute best!
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 Soooo happy!
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 After having our mail stolen more than twice I decided action had to be taken…...
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 Our mail monolith…...
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 And you thought the deck was finished…...
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 But wait…there’s ants…….
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 At least the electrician finished correcting all the damage Kita did in the garage…...
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And David finished this door area in the studio…..IMG 1852
 But wait…It’s Kita the Akita's turn.  She was limping….
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 Everything looks good so we went home with pain pills….
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 But next, allergies, possibly the cause of her limping...more pills and cream in her eyes…..
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 O.K. now puppy???
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 Looks like it as she’s up to her old tricks….
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 Meanwhile Nikka started a series of Photoshop classes for Lynne and Kc beginning with scanning their artwork…..
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And oh yes, this is how I ended May….with a post-it from Nikka!
IMG 2409This wonderful idea to keep in my car came from dear Jana.  Because we’re all concerned about giving cash…next time I’m stopped I have at the ready a bag with new, necessary items.  Soap, towel, toothbrush & paste, a comb, razor, etc.IMG 2821


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.