Monday, April 23, 2018


A five year Harvard campaign that raised 9.1 billion dollars was certainly cause for celebrating so off I flew to Cambridge to join in the festivities.  Staying at the Mandarin Oriental in Boston made the short trip a real vacation!
At The Mandarin Oriental you're welcomed at the front desk with Jasmine tea when you check in. It reminded me of 'Cheers' where everyone knows your name.  They all really did throughout my stay.
I even got a welcoming note!

Room service each morning was a special treat and always exactly as I had ordered along with the daily copy of the New York Times!
Trying to be good, I always ordered poached eggs that were cooked so perfectly I should have asked the secret!  Amazing!

The Managers dogs, Bonnie and Tara, were always in the lobby greeting guests and looking adorable.

It was so good to see Sweet Lucia again.  She had moved to the Boston area about four years ago and we were both excited about having some time together.  I have new appreciation for her scholarship and her attention to detail in planning to make my visit extra special.
Lucia decided that I should have lunch at 'Clink' 
, a jail theme restaurant in the Old Boston's city jail., now converted into the Liberty Hotel.
There were Pussy Willows in all the flower boxes all around Boston and I went crazy mad.  LOVE Pussy Willows!

Here are a few of the cell blocks....

Lobster of course is de riguer in Boston!
Then it was on to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.....
We sat on a bench in the Monet room for over two hours talking about all manner of interesting things.  So much for the list of sights to see....that was better!
Does it surprise you to see how classically trained Monet was and learn of his interest in things Japanese?
Of course the Haystacks that literally vibrate (Especially the one at the Art Institute in Chicago.)
A bit of time to see the Song era paintings.......

Harvard's amazing Tanya, my awesome help throughout the weekend, invited Lucia and me to a carnivores delight at Abe & Louie's ....

Recovering from the previous nights dinner I met Tanya for highlights at the Harvard Art Museum.

Yan Yang, Curator, Asian Art, guided us through the museum's collection.

Then a brief look see at the Impressionists.....
Hi Tanya....Don't know why I didn't get a good photo of Sweet you!
It was fascinating to go to the art conservation area and see all manner of interesting pigments.  This is just a small overview.  I was delighted to tell Yan Yang about our Chinese Yellow!

On to the Harvard Natural History Museum, a client for Nan Rae Cards since we did the Gift Shows. Hi Wendy!!
The Glass Flowers are beyond comprehension.  Botanically correct, all the specimens are made of GLASS!

Somehow I only took video's of the private Letterpress tour and this is the only photo I could find.  It was fascinating!  Thank you Tanya for arranging this as well.
Did anyone say lunch?  Tatte is heaven on earth.  A combination of Julienne's in San Marino and Joan's on 3rd in West Hollywood only peopled with scholars and assorted brainiacs.
I had the best salad ever and was somehow able to control myself with all this temptation round about!
There was just time to get back to the hotel and change for the evenings 'Celebration of Scholarships at Harvard College' dinner.
Do you like my Spanish cape?  It's from the same shop that made an identical one for Picasso.  We were told to wear a touch of crimson for the dinner and I complied with  the lining in the cape!

Saturday there were four events beginning with a 'Celebrating the Harvard Campaign for Arts and Sciences' luncheon.

I was wearing out so I skipped the 2:00 'Making our Mark' talk along with the 5:30 Harvard Business School Reception although Charles would have preferred going to that one.
Instead, I got lost in the Prudential Center which was jam packed with visitors who had come to Boston for Monday's Marathon!  At this point I felt as if I had been in a marathon and my joyful state had somewhat dimmed.
No matter.  It was time to get ready for the big bash at 7:00, 'Composing the Future Together'.  A festive dinner and brilliant performances filled with imagination and wonder.  But first....nibbles..
I suspect there were about 700 people and it was too hard to get a crowd shot...
The tables were elegant and dinner sublime....

The Harvard Radcliffe Orchestra serenaded us with Leonard Bernstein's (AB '39) Candide Overture.
There was so much more inspiring entertainment.  The area was so large, huge screens were placed about as the artists looked about ten inches tall. It was wonderful!!!
The next day I had to pack and head on back but not without inviting Lucia and Roger, our rep in the area, to lunch at Bar Boulud.
Heartfelt thanks for the interesting book Roger and my thanks to Bar Boulud for my second stuffed toy lobster.  On both occasions I was told they were just for kids.  Well???
Truth be told I was ready to come home....Looks like this adorable pup who walked onto the plane was ready too!

You just never know when or how you'll meet the most interesting people.  Exchanging seats with Roland Williams, 8X NFL, tight end Super Bowl Champ with the Rams got me this great Selfie he took!
Live joyfully!

Tuesday, April 10, 2018


Starting with the most over the top amazing Nowruz celebration at awesome Farnaz's!

 Precious Maryam......
I wish I had taken a better photo of Farnaz....we were having a fun moment with Poolak, her beautiful daughter.

 Clara treated Amy and me to the most beautiful afternoon at Nobu in Malibu.  For joyful, that has to be at the top of the list!  Just being so close to the water on such a lovely day was a real treat.  Of course the food can't be topped and the friendship is sublime!
 Hi Amy!
 Thank you dear Clara for a perfect day!
 Afterwards Amy and I went with Clara to pick up her beautiful Tesla.  What an amazing car!
 Another fun catch up lunch at The Athenaem with the Huntington's delightful  Cris Lutz.
 Then on to Easter at the Reilly Manor.
 Sandie's table was beautiful and looked just like spring.
 Nikka helped out in the kitchen while Sandie played with the plates!
 Thank you Yoshida-san for doing such a wonderful job planting all the roses.  It's no fun digging into granite!
 I was totally surprised to see my name on this wall at the Huntington.  Cris Lutz had to point it out to me at the Huntington Successor's Event..
 Amy and I had great fun there.....
 Of course the food and the amazing shrimp that were passed about...
 Special thanks to the brilliant Jim Folsom for all the many years of kindness to me.
 We heard a very scholarly lecture on William Blake.
 Time for lunch at Bloomies with Beautiful Mary....
 If you're a foodie and haven't been to Julienne's in San Marino I suggest you cancel everything and head on out there.  It's even more fun than Joan's on 3rd!
 So, what better place to celebrate precious Maria's birthday!
 Maryam was kind to come over and check out the Persian carpet Mr. Nouri delivered.....
 This was earlier in the day when I was selecting a runner from literally thousands of rugs.....
 Back to Bloomie's, Lex and 59th because Lizzie and I were in need of our smoothies....
 Kita really wanted a bite of Chef David......we could hardly get any work done....She's in love!
 Same thing with party planner Stephanie......
 It probably is all about the food and Dim Sum at Maggie's topped the chart!
 Later, John, one of the travelers on the special trip to Egypt, showed his slides and gave a thoughtful, scholarly talk on the trip.
 Time for dessert.  Maggie puts out quite a spread.
 That evening it was on to the California Club for the Opera League of L.A. Peter Hemmings Award Dinner.

 We were treated to performances by the Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artists.  It was absolutely thrilling.
 The next day (Sunday) Maggie brought visiting John over to see my studio and I gave John a lesson in Bamboo leaves! (Actually I had set the day aside to pack for Boston.)

It's Tuesday, my flight leaves tomorrow morning and I have no clue how or what to pack.  The weather in Boston has been awful, cold, get the picture.  This will be interesting......interesting but always joyful!


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.