Tuesday, November 21, 2017


….was held in the Nan Rae Studio for Lisa Di Vita’s page turner of a book, ‘The Shattered Peacock’ based on a real life story of displacement and heroism.  The theme is universal and relatable for so many whether you’re living in a city other than your birth or have crossed an ocean to begin a new life.
In keeping with the theme, stunning floral arrangements were designed by creative Amy at lejardinprive.com 818.625.5243. Can you see the peacock feathers?  Amazing!Fullsizeoutput 1713fOf course food is essential and precious Marine along with her way too adorable children Alex and Alyssa were in charge of the food detail.  IMG 6104This is how Alex rolls!IMG 6107Heartfelt thanks dear Marine!
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Sweet Patricia brought the most amazing cake….way too delicious for anyone’s good….Here’s just what was left of it.
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Lovely Farnaz added so much to the discussion….all touching and heart felt.IMG 6029
As did dear Maryam...
IMG 6025Valerie had an amazing experience to share as well...IMG 6032 After her inspiring talk, Lisa was surrounded and not only were people getting a book but many wanted two or three!Fullsizeoutput 17140
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Lovely Marine brought Eleen,  her delightful, talented artist friend.
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You know how much I love my peeps!  From the left:  Lynne, Kathy, Kc and Clara!IMG 6067
O.K. Kc, you’re going to have to fill me in on this conversation...IMG 8894
Joy Bell Clara gets her book and a big smile….IMG 8888
Three amazing women: Farnaz, my brilliant inventor friend, Valerie, the Hostess With the Mostest and Marsha Ramos who is saving the planet, one project at a time!IMG 6162
I have to say that Farnaz brought everyone to tears with her relatable story….
Fullsizeoutput 1713bI was delighted Lisa Lupo could join us.  She is a devoted, brilliant curator and authority on Russian Avant Garde art...
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I have to say these two, Maryam and dear Patricia, are truly the sweetest of the sweet!IMG 6077
We had great fun remembering the book signing for lovely, talented Lissi Kaplan here with fiancee Doug.  Amy, you’re amazing!IMG 6044
After getting three copies, Ralph was already enthralled by ‘Shattered Peacock’!IMG 6052
Max, this precious, adorable baby brought his parents Cole and Becca!
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The end of an amazing event in the studio…..author Lisa with producer, director hubby Chuck Bowman and producer son Stephen.
IMG 6091Special thanks to Nikka who worked over and beyond to make the event perfect and to Connor who was our driver in charge.
And to think I get to enjoy these exquisite flowers!  May you find beauty everyday!IMG 6099
You can order a copy of ‘Shattered Peacock’ at Amazon: http://a.co/jj9KlPD
For inscribed copies please email Lisa at lbowman9@gmail.com

Friday, November 10, 2017


First stop for the day was the American Museum of Natural History….Fullsizeoutput 17067
We had tickets to see a 3D show on Bird Migration...
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The main event was the Hayden Planetarium for the Space Show ‘Dark Universe’.  I’ve seen other space shows there and they’re always spectacular moving you into a ‘space' of wonder at the beauty and depth of creation! Not sure why there aren’t more photos….perhaps because we were so overwhelmed...Fullsizeoutput 1704d
You can’t see the dinosaurs head which is so very small, perhaps accounting for their extinction!IMG 5553
Is it possible to visit NYC without a carriage ride through Central Park?  I know there’s a tremendous controversy about this and I absolutely agree but instead of asking that they be stopped I think a fund should be established to better care for the horses.IMG 5575
God bless you Wilson….We know your life needs more nurturing care…..IMG 5605
I had wanted to lunch at the Loeb Boat House but it was impossible to get in.  Most of all I love the ‘Birder’s Book’ just outside the entrance where people write of their sightings! Remembering how wonderful the Tavern on the Green was in years past made the current space a tremendous disappointment...IMG 5660
Outside, worker bees were getting ready for the New York Marathon…..IMG 5613
 No time to linger, we had to head back to the Four Seasons to get ready for our big night out, driver and all….First, dinner at La Masseria….Too noisy and way too busy.  A most typical NYC Italian restaurant.  This was the shared antipasti….So much that I could hardly handle the fish course.  Dessert was such a disappointment I won’t even show it to you and then it was out the door…driver James awaiting us as we headed for the Shubert Theatre.
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Tickets? Who cares….you still have to stand in line…...IMG 5703
Finally….IMG 5702
And yes, she was perfect….a national treasure of a performer….The audience went wild!IMG 5717
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Yet again, James awaited us and I was so grateful as it would have been impossible to navigate the evening without him.
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Hello Nikka!!!IMG 5726
Our last day in NYC began with a visit to National Graphic’s brand new show..’Encounter Ocean Odyssey'
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Then we were off to Grand Central Station in the pouring rain!  I forgot the Oyster Bar is closed on Sundays….what a disappointment as I had planned on lunch there but the Four Seasons worked out just fine...IMG 8672
Time to say a fond goodbye to NYC but what will remain in our hearts more than the sights and many adventures are the wonderful people we met along the way, the chance encounters and the meaningful conversations that will long linger in our hearts!
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 May you have many grand adventures!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017


was first on our list for day two but …fuel for the day was required. I should really be embarrassed to show this!  Bravo Four seasons!
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Actually the breakfast marathon always started with yogurt and fruit….Now I’m really embarrassed!
IMG 5433O.K. then, I will...
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Can you even begin to imagine how seeing this building made my heart sing?
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 Actually I was close to weeping…..overcome with the thought of all the artwork that has been created and gathered through the centuries….All the donors and collectors who found it imperative to house their collections in a space that would benefit more than themselves….all of us! A year is not enough time to experience all The MET has to offer.
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Rodin was a quick walk through as I had been to the Rodin Museum in Paris and of course there’s the Norton Simon collection. There will be some delights to see in the Leonardo to Matisse collection. I had read about the 'Japanese Bamboo art’ exhibit in the New York Times and was eager to see the exhibit.IMG 5453
Ahhhhh………...IMG 5454
On the way to the Japanese Bamboo Art exhibit….Fullsizeoutput 16ffc
I know we’ve seen hundreds of reproductions of this but it always captures me….Fullsizeoutput 16ffb
Finally…The Abbey Collection.  How extraordinary to gather together all these exquisite pieces and then donate the collection to the Met!
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A docent tour had just begun…perfect timing! There were so many incredibly intricate, stunning pieces that I think I’ll create a special notebook for those interested in knowing more.
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Fullsizeoutput 16c37IMG 8214It goes without saying that I was more than eager to move on to the extraordinary collection of Chinese Landscape paintings.  It will take me some time to compile a notebook of them for the Landscape class in the studio.
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Leaving the inspiration of the Landscape paintings one strolls past the Astor Chinese Court area….IMG 8348
At this point I noticed that my phone had completely lost it’s charge so it was off to a cafeteria where they had charging stations.  I was excited about that until I realized that I left my charger at the Four Seasons.  Fortunately as I wandered from table to table with a plaintive ‘please sir…may I have more porridge’ type of entreaty, I stumbled upon one fellow who said, ‘No problem, I’m the manager of the second floor gift shop and I’ll charge it for you as soon as I finish my lunch’!  Imagine that!
While waiting for my phone I decided the best thing to do would be to visit the roof garden to take advantage of the extraordinary vistas.  I must confess I was a little confused about the art installation but it takes all kinds……….
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Argentinian artist Adrián Villar Rojas has transformed the Cantor Roof with an intricate site-specific installation that uses the Museum itself as its raw material. Featuring detailed replicas of nearly 100 objects from The Met collection, The Theater of Disappearance encompasses thousands of years of artistic production over several continents and cultures, and fuses them with facsimiles of contemporary human figures as well as furniture, animals, cutlery, and food. Each object—whether a 1,000-year-old decorative plate or a human hand—is rendered in the same black or white material and coated in a thin layer of dust.
The artist has reconfigured the environment of the Cantor Roof by adding a new pergola, a grand tiled floor, a bar, public benches and augmented planting throughout the space. The Met's own alphabet has even been incorporated into the graphic identity of the project. To realize this extensive work, the artist immersed himself in the Museum and its staff for many months, holding conversations with the curators, conservators, managers, and technicians across every department who contributed to the realization of this installation.
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Fullsizeoutput 16fe7There’s no telling what you’ll run into at The Met…Perhaps some modern dancers...
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 Back to major donations to the museum where the Robert Lehman collection was on display.
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 This was quite extensive, covering a lot of ground and utterly fascinating to see one man’s pursuit of his fascination.
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This is so utterly charming and perhaps owning only  it with no other art would bring one joy.Fullsizeoutput 16fe1
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Here’s my joy.  I am entranced by any and all of Degas’ studies of dancers. Years ago the museum had an extraordinary collection of his pastel studies and I wanted to just live there amongst them. I could have stayed with this study for hours and been content.Fullsizeoutput 16fdf
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I’m including this little drawing so you can see how much thought and work went into Leonardo’s final compositions.Fullsizeoutput 16fd7
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It’s really wonderful to see the most brilliant of artists sketched just the way we do!Fullsizeoutput 16fcf
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Fullsizeoutput 16fd1There were so many more but it’s time to move on.  I’ve mentioned many times that the best way to visit a museum is to zone in on a few paintings and really ‘see’ them.  On that basis, permit me to share my favorites.
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I wanted to show you this painting because to me, no artist has ever captured female flesh as well as Renoir.  He somehow made it lyrical and sublime.Fullsizeoutput 16fcb
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I know that today, a painting such as this is considered ‘decorative’ but it’s so meaningful to me because as a very young child I fell in love with a beautiful book on Renoir and this painting was included in it.  The scale alone of it is enough to stop one in their tracks or perhaps it’s just the dog I love!Fullsizeoutput 16fc3
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Years ago MoMA has a brilliant retrospective of Picasso’s work and the viewer was able to see a comprehensive array of his early works of which I am a great fan. This piece is no exception.Fullsizeoutput 1700a
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I mentioned in the first bog of the New York trip that Matisse’s ‘Dance’ in any form is my happy place.  This painting is no exception.
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Oh there was so much more, a lifetime of more but we needed to move on……Who wants to go to NYC with me???IMG 8353
 Just enough time to get to the Guggenheim before it closed……….But first, priorities….a dog encounter….
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The New York Times had a provocative article in the Arts section October 7th about a ‘powerful, unmissable event’ at the Guggenheim showing works of Chinese artists who were & are morally controversial and very critical of politics.  These conceptual pieces are quite explosive and demanding of the viewer.IMG 8443
IMG 8440Oh dear, too much thinking.  I needed to go to Bergdorf Goodman’s for some retail therapy and especially gifts for those who went above and beyond with caring for Charles while I was away.  But first….how late was it?  Are we missing a meal?  I had planned on going to Bouchon at the Time Warner Center but serendipity took us to the 7th floor at Bergdorf’s where the BG Restaurant beckoned. After some of the best meals in NYC, I was bowled over by our dinner and have to say it won hands down with each dish more delicious than the previous one.
IMG 5504Besides, it’s lovely viewing Central Park and the Plaza Hotel from our table...IMG 8455After dinner we staggered down to the basement in the hunt for interesting lotions and fragrances.  That turned into a party with conceptual artist Wangui Maina (wanguimaina.com) the salesperson at Buly, a French company and fun Sara from Guerlain.
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Their sections were adjoining and way in the back of the huge room so we didn’t notice that there weren’t any other people…. we were told when we left that the store had been closed for 30 minutes! Since the Plaza Hotel is right across the street we decided to check out the Food Court.
IMG 5529A small section of the Food Court in the lower level of the Plaza Hotel….
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 Ahhhhh love…...
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  and see Elouise on the way to the Palm Court for some Lady M cake…..
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Many layers of crepe goodness….IMG 5545
Thank you Nikka for my surprise Bergdorf gift…..
IMG 5540O.K., so it’s 10:00 at night and you’re in NYC, what do you do?  Why walk across the street to the Paris theatre  and see a movie of course!
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IMG 5548Can you believe Nikka lugged all this about?  Perhaps I helped a very little...
IMG 8462End of day two and you deserve a medal for looking at all this!


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.