Friday, November 29, 2019


All the preparations are sooo much fun! Planning, making lists, the shopping numerous times to various stores and at least three days of cooking prior to the main event!
But first, a trip to the Pumpkin Patch...


This handsome fellow was spied on a second trip to Whole Foods.

I finished checking out and then had to go back for him!

Cranberries done, stuffing done, curried fruit done the day ahead...Sweet potatoes are done the day of...

I apologized to the turkey for this...

Kita trudge on through the rain...

I always cook the neck and veggies for lunch and then the broth goes into the gravy! Sooooo good.  In fact, I can always tell if the turkey is going to be sweet and tender if the neck is.

Fun watching the Dog Show while doing last minute preparations...Why don't they ever show the Akita's being judged.  It's so not right!

There was a separate table for the pies....wonderful pies from Kc and Patricia, and the cheese.

Here comes Curtis and his famous garlic mashed potatoes!

Not quite sure what was going on here...

Thank you Dr. Reilly for carving the turkey.

Sweet Carol....

 Kita got lucky several times...

Jim Reilly prepared one of his famous questionnaires (this all about Thanksgiving) for the needed break between dinner and desert!

We had fun with the 'photo booth' signs....

Sweet Patricia wanted Kita to 'strike a pose' but the puppy wasn't having it!

Now it's on to Christmas...

May yours be bright and beautiful!

Sunday, November 24, 2019


Celebrating twenty years since the amazing Lissi Kaplan was commissioned by the Peninsula Hotel to design and produce a line of fine china for the tea service in the 'Living Room' of the hotel.  Each piece is lovingly hand painted and then fired  by Lissi and it's a joy to see the service each time I'm there!  Bravo Lissi!

Amy And I had a delightful time...

Everyone was gifted with their own 'Lissi Kaplan Original'! Thank you dear Lissi for this precious treasure!

Next Amy and I went upstairs to the pool area.  Did you know you can get a pedicure poolside?  Thank you dear Irene!

I still don't know how or why we got a cabana for our dinner time...Mistaken identity?

Many hours later it was time for the 'Relaxation Room' in the Spa.  Strike a pose!

Ha.....Me too!

Thank you dear Laura for helping me get the perfect 'thank you' gift for Ryan who was sooooo kind to help with Kita!

Lunch with Beautiful Mary is always delightful....Bistro Gardens is perfect!

And dinner with brilliant Claire and Patrick at The Athenaeum....

I love them both dearly but it's quite possible I love their Cavalier King Charles Spaniels more!

Classes at the Huntington and in the studio are always my greatest joy! November is such great fun because it's the time when we work on images for Christmas cards!

Lisa Bowman and I celebrated dear Amy's birthday at the Langham but first....a gift for me??? A hand painted della Robbia hand carried from Italy no less!

Happiest of Birthdays Precious Amy!

I have such wonderful memories of Charles and my beautiful wedding in the courtyard when it was the Ritz Carlton.

Checking out the hotel's Gingerbread House!

Afterwards Amy and I settled in for some tea in the bar area.  The table next to the fireplace is best!

Well, it finally happened, the final celebration for my May birthday was Saturday night at the fabulous Santuari in Toluca Lake!  Thank you dear Miss Judith and Eileen, my templates for doing good in the world!

Their houseguest, Katharine, delightful and brilliantly talented theatre director from London share's May 18th....How amazing is that!

Now it's on toThanksgiving...

May yours be blessed!

Friday, November 15, 2019


Dinner in the Founder's Room at the Music Center and then a performance by the Mariinsky Ballet company from Russia.  This was for Amy's birthday later in November but we celebrated early because she adores Russian ballet!
We saw George Balanchine's 'Jewels' with music by the Mariinsky Orchestra.

Strike a pose!

Next birthday, delightful Silvet at Olive and Thyme.

Time to celebrate Curtis's birthday at Guisados with dear Carol!

Duchess joined the celebrating and photo bombed us!

Next Laurie Pie had a birthday and where better than the Music Center for a special performance of John Leguizamo's 'Latin History for Morons'.  It was a special performance for area high schoolers and what fun to be with some 2,500 of them!

Awesome Sarah and Elizabeth, my contact peeps at the Center Theatre Group.  Soooo cute!

Dinner afterwards at Kendall's was yummy good and so much fun!

At Avra in Beverly Hills for my very shy friends birthday!

This is how they do 'Birthday'!

Back at Avra with Amy for Clara's birthday.

See.....another amazing 'Birthday' plate!

The staff at Avra was very disappointed that Amy's beautiful arrangement wasn't for them!

Lovely and all too shy Maggie had a birthday at the Langham but photos!

Not a birthday but catch up time with dear Molly at Amici Trattoria!

And lunch with Chris Johnsten from the L.A. Opera at Bistro Gardens....

The studio class is always pure joy and this special class for a group of dear Jean Trebeck's friends was no exception.  And yes, in between all the eating I do manage to work!

Whoops, I forgot, everyone just came to play with Kita!

Another great class at the Huntington...

And a very special evening with dear Carol Soucek King who introduced me to the Chinese Society dinners and lectures at the Golden Dragon downtown.  So glad I didn't miss awesome Yan Zhang, an amazing Li Brocade artist.

What a surprise to see old friends Leslee See Leong (Lisa See's cousin) and hubby Joe Schulman, owners of F Suie One in Pasadena, home of incredible Chinese Antiques.

Time to paint Christmas cards....

And Mary Beth, Kita's trainer does front door training.

Just the beginning of cleaning out the garage....I couldn't bear to look!

So off to the Peninsula for some R and R!

My template for the perfect family is Kathy and David Wong's...Their love is so all inclusive and just draws everyone in.  A pre-Thanksgiving dinner in their home had wall to wall people relaxed and convivial....and the food???  Never so much in one place ever!

David, master of the prime rib....

And dear Mochi, an Akita who I love more than Kita!  Everyone gave him a treat!

I'll  close off for now with warm pumpkin wishes..


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.