Thursday, April 26, 2018


Once a month, Petrossian's in West Hollywood on Robertson Blvd. has an elegant sit down dinner beginning with a caviar tasting and talk about all things caviar!.
How fitting for a birthday surprise event for Laurie Pie who is the Queen of Caviar!  Laurie had no idea where we were going because I wanted it to be a complete surprise!  This once a month event was difficult to schedule so the birthday dinner was only eight months late. We arrived early with enough time for Laurie to select a wonderful Vodka.
Even the ice cubes are fabulous.
Laurie was told she had to wait 'till the events time so she still had no idea what we were going to do.

We had interesting table mates, knowledgable in both the food and the wine.

This was extraordinary. Saumaize-Michelin Chardonnay, Pouilly-Fuisse, 2013 but of course!

The caviar's go from humble Whitefish, Trout and Salmon Roe to the Special Reserve Kaluga Huso Hybrid at $500. an ounce!  Along with each taste you're given a talk on the history of caviar and a challenge.  If you can ask a question about caviar that the speaker cannot answer you get a $150.00 gift credit.  Needless to say, no one could stump him.

The dinner was amazing. A Blue Crab Salad followed by Morels, English Peas and Parmesan creamy good!  Veal Cheeks and White Chocolate Ganache for dessert. Of course the appropriate wine selections for each course.
Now what's a birthday without a candle to make a wish on?

That Saturdays class in the studio was delightful with Colleen bringing her friend Craig who was visiting from Oregon.

That evening the Reilly's took Nikka and me to  Cafe Beaujolais, an old favorite in Eagle Rock.  Order their famous Halibut...soooo good1
 Say Cheese everyone.....

 Then we were off to Crown City Theatre in No. Hollywood where Dr. Jim's brother Billy is the Artistic Director.  Only Sandie Girl figured out this Agatha Christie who done it, 'The Mouse Trap'.  She's better than Sherlock Holmes!
 Finally back at Din Tai Fung....
 If you need window washers then Skip and Biff are your guys. (There's actually no Skip and no Biff but who cares.)
 Sweet Lynne Sims came by to get some card stock for her upcoming show at the Sierra Madre Art Fair.  Let's all go and support this wonderful artist!
 Dear Carol Soucek King invited Lisa B. and me to lunch at The Athenaeum....probably because I'm not getting enough food!
 After that I went to Armstrong's for more plants and who could pass up Ladybugs!
 Wishing you joy!

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!


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.