Friday, June 15, 2018


.....because with the get a candle and with the candle you can make a wish for the person you're with!
This year's birthday started early, just about at the beginning of May.  Dear Patricia picked me up and drove to the beach where we both waded into the ocean and had the best time ever.

Included was a conversation with this seagull.
 Next we were off to Moonshadows in Malibu for lunch.
 But wait...there's more......the cake!  What great fun we had in the Polo Lounge and I think the entire staff joined in!!!
Thank you lovely Patricia for the most memorable of days!
Now how cute is this!!! Kc brought this adorable note and the most fabulous cupcakes ever to the studio class!  Thank you dear Kc!
Laurie Pie presented me with another exotic plant but no instructions for it's care.  We still haven't done the B-day thing but hey, I was seven months late for hers!
The May class at the Huntington was so much fun, as always...
It was a special treat to have Jim Folsom stop by!
The added surprise of a Frango Mint  birthday cake baked by the one and only Adorable Lulu was as they say 'The frosting on the cake!!!"
Thank you dear Lulu...You really are the cutest!
Awesome Maggie planned a delightful evening at A Noise Within......

....and was a conspirator, keeping me out late so Nikka could finish her birthday surprise and was it ever a surprise! First, the cake!  

And yes, we had cake at 1:00 A.M. and then I was told there was something in the office. Now what on earth could this be???
Can you imagine opening that huge box and having all those balloons pop out?  Nikka had a special theme going on and if you ask...I'll tell!
Precious Diana Ming Jeong and Lee Powers, her handsome Prince gave me these beautiful flowers...Can you tell they're designed by Amy at Le Jardin Privé?
Nikka thought I needed another cake!
On May 18th, my actual birthday, it was off to The Peninsula Hotel with Amy for what turned out to be a three candle day. Cake number one at The Roof Garden....

Then it was off to the spa....
Dinner in The Belvedere gave me the second candle...
Then it was off to The Living Room to be serenaded by their pianist and have the third candle!
Kert and Maryam get ready to photograph the surprise birthday cake at their house held by Dave & Alexis.  What a fun evening along with Izabela and Wayne. 

Here's the cake....See the candle?
Thank you Maria, Bridget and Nikka for the party time at Chado's in Pasadena.
WOW, two candles.....That called for singing Happy Birthday twice!
A day at the beach and lunch at Nobu's.  Is anything better?
With another candle!
Thank you dear Clara for a perfect day!
For a good time call Silvet.....She is so much fun you won't stop laughing! Lunch with her and Amy at Gale's in Pasadena was no exception.

Two cakes, two candles and did Silvet ever light up when it was desert time!  We could have skipped lunch!
Well, why not keep the celebrating going.  Super fun on the patio with Bridget, Maria and Nikka!
And yes, a delicious Peach Birthday cake, candle and all!
I've decided you can't top a candle atop a chocolate Mochi at Din Tai Fung so even though there are two more candles in my future this year I'm closing this blog with a big thank you shout out to dear Lynne and Kc for the most hysterical time ever.
If you've been counting there were 14 candles and that's a whole lot of cake and wonderful wishes for my beautiful friends!

Wednesday, May 30, 2018


Well, that's what dear Carol Soucek King called it as the actual date of my birthday had passed.  It was a glorious celebration nonetheless hosted by Carol at the Athenaeum. Imagine, even a special menu 'Luncheon With Nan Rae'!
Carol makes sure that everyone is not only acknowledged but warmly praised. Gayle Garner Roski, multi-talented artist, traveler and storyteller is to the left. I hadn't seen Lynn van Dam Cooper, seen on the right, since our Pasadena Showcase House days.  Lynn does the most amazing pen and ink studies of not only Pasadena Showcase houses but I'd say many of the homes in Southern California have been enhanced by her work!
I was delighted to have lovely Elaine Adams seated next to me so we could have time to talk.  Elaine is the Executive Director of the California Art Club and the wife of artist extraordinaire Peter Adams!
Great fun seeing Kathy Luppen Rose and remembering the talk I gave in her home on the Literati/Gentlemen Scholars of China. I don't know how I missed getting a photo of my precious Lisa Bowman, aka Lisa DiVita ... universal woman and author of 'Shattered Peacock', a must read!
Everyone loves Sally Beaudette as she always knows just the most perfect, kind thing to say.....
Thank you dear Carol for the loveliest, most memorable day!
Happy me!
Nestled inside Brand Park is a lovely Japanese Garden where Grandmaster Don Baird gave the most insightful talk on writing Haiku.

An accomplished artist, musician and composer,  Grandmaster Baird is also the Grandmaster of the American School of Martial Arts.

Grandmaster Baird has several of his Haiku books available on Amazon.
Off to the final dress rehearsal of Rigoletto with beautiful Amy. 
Our favorite place at the Music Center is the ladies room in the Founder's Room.  đŸ˜‚
I so hope you had a chance to be at one of the performances.....we loved it!
Intermission .... time for wine and nibbles...

After the performance, we had a lovely dinner that was just for members of the Bella Voce Society....
....with a special treat of having PlĂĄcido Domingo speak to us!
Yes, we're definitely fans of L A Opera!
Precious Maggie and I spent Mother's Day at the Langham.  The Royce has the most amazing buffet on Mother's Day, Father's Day and Easter.  We'll be going back on Father's Day for sure!
Everyone received a beautiful long-stemmed rose.  I wonder if we'll get a cigar on Father's Day!
I don't want to forget the special luncheon at the Huntington Botanical Gardens honoring The Arabella and Henry Huntington Heritage Society.  A wonderful fringe benefit.

Thank you dear Cris Lutz for the beautiful 'birthday' flowers!
I don't think it's even possible to live more joyfully.  This is what I wish for you each and every day!


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.