Friday, July 27, 2018


Now that the month is almost over, I thought a review of the moments of pure joy was in order!
The 4th has always been special here but this year, without mom and Charles, my task was to keep it as joyful as before.  It was quite serendipitous because originally I had thought to do my usual grilled cheese and bacon sandwiches followed by ice-cream on the deck as we watched the fireworks. There went the best laid plans, Maggie had to go to Washington unexpectedly and I accepted an invitation to a neighbors celebration.  Have you ever been completely confused?  Amy and I walked down to Marine's only to find the house deserted.  Had I misunderstood?  Calling dear Marine she explained that the 4th of July party was to be on the 7th and while she wanted to dash back as we were standing like orphans at the gate, Aram brought sense and sensibility back to the occasion.  Off we went to Amy's where a grand fireworks display was to be seen from outside her house.  Bravo!

Best of all, Nikka had friends over and they were able to see all the fireworks from the deck as originally planned!

Kita even got into the act although not too willingly.

O.K., maybe we're feeling it a bit more now.

Finally, at Marine's 4th of July bash!  Honestly, nobody does it better.  This is just a snippet of the longest counter ever filled with holiday treats.

Time for the best taco's ever!

Dear Patricia and I went to Carol Soucek King's July Salon where the topic was 'Understanding'.  I had come across a quote in 'The Overstory', the magnificent book by Richard Powers.  Definitely a must read!

"We can't see what we don't understand and what we think we understand we often fail to perceive."
Carol manages to surround herself with the most eclectic, interesting group of people and her Salon is always inspiring.

I always love seeing this painting I did for Carol in years past.

I think I'll throw this photo in here for the cuteness factor! Awwwww.........

Oh that clever Nikka!  She got balloon's to celebrate our 100K followers on Instagram!

A world of thanks to each and every follower!

On to class at the Huntington Botanical Gardens where we painted Lotus!  I'm so very proud of everyone!

I always tell my students not to throw anything away as the work we don't care for makes spectacular wrapping paper!  Dear Diane took it one step further and created these delightful little books with each page being a section of a 'potentially discarded' painting.

You know it's all about lunch, tea or dinner don't you?
One of my very favorite lunch dates is meeting up with dear Lizzie Girl at Bloomie's! This was the first time we didn't get smoothies....trying to be good!

I've resolved to enjoy this summer and not let it fly past me.  One of the ways to do just that is taking time to mellow out on the patio.  Lovely Maggie thought this was a delightful idea and the best way to relax at lunch!

At Bistro Garden with Beautiful Jean, one of my favorite people at one of my favorite spots.  I felt like 'Queen for a Day' with my lovely flowers! So sweet!

Tea anyone? The new and improved Rose Tea Room at the Huntington Botanical Gardens was the perfect spot for Maggie and me to treat our guests, Ana Gomez, astrophysicist from the University of Spain, dear Adriana, Lead Program Exec. at NASA and Teresa her precious mother and the always amazing Maggie!

The Tower of Power!

On to dinner with Diane and Maggie at Shiro's in Pasadena.

Turns out Laurie Pie loves dinosaurs and wanted to see Jurassic World!

Afterwards I needed a relaxing dinner at Trattoria Amici!

Lovely Maggie is absolutely The Hostess With the Mostest!

What a delightful dinner for precious Teresa, Adriana and two of Maggie's dear friends from JPL.

Thank you dear Adriana for this meaningful remembrance.  I had no idea such a small meteorite would be so heavy!

I missed Dr. Jim's B-day celebration so it was a special treat to go to Reilly Manor the next evening for a re-cap!

Charles and I first met Benjamin Darling years ago when both our companies were neighboring exhibitors at the California Gift Show. Laughing Elephant has the most amazing line of vintages cards, books and little treasures.  Benjamin and I had great fun catching up at Bottega Louie!

I love all my 'Good Dog Carl' books written by Benjamin's mom Alexandra Day.
You can order them at

Way too many yummies!

It's best if you just ask me in person about this!!!

Krista and Brett came by to make sure I save their wedding date in December!

And then great fun with Ryan....

Awesome photographer Curtis McElhinney ( loves his Nan Rae painting!

I'll close with some very sweet and precious moments starting with this special treat of chocolate covered strawberries to celebrate our 100K followers on Instagram from my dear friends Jane and Tanya at Harvard.....

Precious Leea, a student in my Huntington class painted this view of Paris for my birthday!

I was touched beyond description by this exquisite Silk Ribbon Embroidery remembrance of my dear Charles lovingly crafted by precious Mireya, another Huntington student.  All the little roses are embroidered silk.  Amazing!

I send you wishes for a joyful heart and lots of smiles!

Monday, June 25, 2018


What could possibly more joyful than a baby shower with the anticipation of
                                              new life, new beginnings!
                                      Beautiful Poolak, mother to be.....
Farnaz you did the most spectacular job...
Maryam and I had a wonderful time!
Amy and I went to The Music Center Foundation's Summer Celebration
The event was held at The Mullin Private Automotive Collection where antique French cars are on display.

It was quite an evening!

As always, the Salon at Carol Soucek King's home was filled with the most interesting people all doing amazing things to make life on our planet better.
Thank you dear Carol for opening your home and your heart!
Farnaz and I went to see Maryam's Seyhoun Gallery exhibit in Santa Monica.....
A Tribute to Masoumeh Seyhoun, her father and world renowned architect and artist.
All this talent is one family...Here's Maryam's brilliant cousin, artist Jason Noushin.
I love this painting of his!

Yours truly with delightfully charming Princess Francesca Gioia Drommi.

Afterwards Farnaz and I went to Shutters on The Beach for a late dinner.
I know, this should have had a candle in it!
Precious Molly Girl in town briefly, leaving her nest in Mexico and inviting me over for lunch and some catch-up time!
Since I'm on the subject of lunch (surprise) how about this lovely table set by Her Loveliest, dear Maggie!
I was knocked out seeing that I brought Maggie a book in line with what she had been studying.  Amazing and truly joyful!
Well Father's Day was coming up so Maggie and I decided to return to the Royce at the Langham to enjoy their amazing buffet. This was just the area for starters....
Yummy Prime Rib awaits at the end of this area...
A lovely way to spend an back to the diet!
Rosie in from Pennsylvania and a special private class in the studio...
Twentyeight students in the Brush painting class at the Huntington Botanical Gardens!  We had so much fun.  Yes, it was JOYFUL!!!
Joan,Shirley and Gwen, the three amigas.  Delightful new students for the studio's Brush painting class!
So many moments to find joy but in keeping with the baby shower at the start of this blog, I've been so thrilled to watch as these precious doves hatched and grew right at my front door.
I'll close with this photo of the fledgelings!
I wish you joy!


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.