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

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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.