Friday, November 3, 2017


in NYC, honoring alumni and friends who have provided for Harvard.  I guess I’m a friend and you know you can’t have too many!
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Anyway, it was a wonderful excuse to go to New York and the luncheon turned out to be inspiring. But let’s begin at the beginning with driver James who picked us up as we began our grand adventure. Thank you dear Lynne at Pro Travel for connecting us up with Music Express….they’re wonderful.  All the drivers are the best and their pre-pickup confirmations are amazing!
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Ready, set, good to GO!IMG 5286
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I got photo bombed arriving at The Four Seasons...
IMG 8120It was late and we were hungry!  It occurred to me that since we were rather close to The Plaza Hotel we could grab a bite there…Fun to take the short ride in a Rolls Royce...
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A lot of changes for this treasure built in 1907…….
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We had the best burger ever in the Palm Court and then a visit with Nikko, a NYPD hero dog before heading back to The four Seasons...
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Back to the Harvard event…..Wonderful Jane Verrill who helps me so very much….
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Lunch was lovely…..
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...but the speaker, Graham Allison was brilliant!
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His bestseller book, 'Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydide’s Trap?' gave one enough to think about for months!  Allison is a Harvard scholar and the founding Dean of the Harvard Kennedy School. This book is definitely a must read!
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In his slide presentation, we saw that even Wonder Woman referred to Thucydides!
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It’s hard to believe I was never inside neo-gothic St. Patrick’s Cathedral on 5th Avenue and this even living in NYC for a time!IMG 5376
IMG 5366Directly across the street is the bronze statue of Atlas in front of Rockefeller Center.  The sculpture depicts the ancient Greek Titan Atlas standing at the western edge of the earth holding up the heavens.
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Walking down to Rockefeller Center, it was a delight watching the ice skaters!
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Oh dear, it started to rain.  Good luck with catching a cab so I grabbed this guy who bicycled us to MoMA.  We were just a few blocks away and I nearly fainted when he said $70.00!!! Yikes!IMG 5384
Practicing my modeling skills…..IMG 8172Fullsizeoutput 16c2f
 This seminal work never fails to stop me in my tracks!
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IMG 5400I have seen ' Dance’ in many museums, many colorations and sizes but they always make my heart sing!  This compositional study was no exception!
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What impassions me most--much, much more than all the rest of my métier--is the portrait, the modern portrait. I seek it in colour, and surely I am not the only one to seek it in this direction. I should like--mind you, far be it from me to say that I shall be able to do it, although this is what I am aiming at--I should like to paint portraits which would appear after a century to people living then as apparitions.
Vincent van Gogh
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I have a memory of the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena having one of the portraits of the postman in Arles.IMG 5395
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 Although this is not at the level of the huge ‘Water Lilies’ in France it’s still a joy to see this.
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A wonderful pre-show dinner at Chef Charlie Palmer’s Aureole…..This was the first time I had pheasant…..IMG 5359
 It was serendipity at it’s finest when I received a phone call from a customer back east who, during the course of our conversation told me I absolutely had to see ‘Beautiful’ The Carole King Musical when in NYC and was he ever right.  It was beyond wonderful and great fun!
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We walked a block to the center of Times Square where Nikka showed her NYC cred by grabbing a taxi in high, scrappy heals!IMG 5700End of day one!

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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.