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The weeks and now months have flown by and it’s hard to realize I haven’t blogged since September….or was it October? I’d like to recap, if only for myself to look back on what was actually a wonderful time in the midst of upheaval. So before I begin that, permit me the luxury of repeating an e-mail that I sent out at the beginning of this momentous New Year.

The new year has traditionally been a time to recalibrate; however, this past year, with the exception of the angels of mercy, the frontline workers who lovingly care each day; we’ve been sequestered, sent to our rooms to consider throughout the year our lives and the future we should set for them. In this time of separation, when life seems to have stood still, what have we learned? Surely it’s that to be kind is undoubtedly the best way, to be grateful for whatever remains without yearning for what once was, to determine if we are truly fulfilling our purpose… that is what the year has shown me. To accept what is and see how it can be even better than what was and to see the gift of every friendship, to treasure every precious moment, to consider the marvel of our planet and the space we’ve been allowed to inhabit. I begin and end each day grateful for you, for the love and regard you continually express to me, and for the privilege of sharing my work with you. My wish in the coming year is that we have eyes to see all the good that’s in our lives and hearts that are receptive to the yes that we must all hear.

So there you have it. My determination to be kind and begin and end each day with gratitude. At times this is a tall order!

Now, back to what will hopefully be a brief recap. Here’s the intrepid Benjamin Darling, my awesome publisher at Laughing Elephant Books.

It was Benjamin who suggested the title for the second book of mine that he published,,,’That’s Just What I needed Today’ after I told him it was the most received comment on Instagram from followers of Nan Rae Fine Art. Benjamin, Nikka and I had a ZOOM meeting pre-publication of the book to discuss the sample copies we received.

From time to time we record messages to my followers on Instagram and Social Media.

The weeks flew by with lots of painting, writing, cooking, gardening, and then getting ready for Thanksgiving. I was determined to have the joy from last years dinner spill over so we sent crackers/Thanksgiving poppers to all the guests who were here last year so that we could ZOOM on Thanksgiving and pop our crackers!!!

So Thanksgiving was once again a time of great joy. One way or another we made it work with the rest of the time becoming addicted to ordering books on Amazon, watching way too many K-Dramas on Netflix and getting not one but two chess sets after watching the Queens Gambit on Netflix. There were way too many trips to Kita’s dermatologist and the addition to her diet of ‘The Farmer’s Dog‘ food.

I have no idea what this is about but I do thank you or whoever!

The response to my online Crowdcast Brush painting classes has been so gratifying and to have students now from all over the world is astonishing! We all need these moments of tranquility, going to a place of joyful focus and creativity!

A week after each class there is a ZOOM meeting for students to share their work and talk with one another.

Bravo December for bringing ‘That’s Just What I needed Today‘!

A world of thanks to you Miss Judith for your awesome support of the book! You have more friends than anyone I know and that’s because of the friend that you are…my template for doing good! Love your adorable sketch!!!

And off they go!!!

It was finally time to have a party! A ZOOM with publisher Benjamin Darling and everyone who sign up to participate. We had big red bowl prize drawings, balloons and so much fun!


It’s so much fun when peeps come over to pick up their copies. Here’s adorable lovebirds Alexis and Dave!

December’s always the month when students give Nikka their paintings to scan for their personalized Holiday cards. Sandie Reilly has come up with marvelous gift sets she gives that contain artwork from all family members.

December also brought the retirement of Jim Folsom from the Huntington Botanical Gardens. It’s been quite an effort not to be overcome with sadness by this as Jim is without doubt irreplaceable. It was twenty-five years ago when after hearing my lecture to the San Marino League, Jim asked me if I would teach Brush painting at the Huntington. I’m amazed to say I never missed a month of teaching there as everything in my life was planned around the teaching dates which were twice a month for so many years. Recently I did change that to once a month and amazingly, never missed a class.

I’m not quite sure what to do with myself now that that week is over!

I probably do say this every year but I do think this was the best Christmas ever…even without having a chance to put up the Christmas trees.

So many friends came by & this year I was gifted with about 50 mums and Poinsettias so I felt just like Oprah….And you get a Poinsettia, and you get a Pointsettia…

Curtis couldn’t decide between a Mum or Poinsettia…

Sweet Lynne, you are so dear!

Dear Carol Soucek King made a few trips, always adding to her gift list for ‘That’s Just What I Needed Today‘….Kita has a thing for handsome Xavier!

It was great fun to have a ZOOM get together for the Huntington Brush painting class… I miss everyone so much but happy that they’re all safe and sound!

I wish I had taken more screenshots!

Even Martin came by with Nicole, his girlfriend. He’s visiting from Boston where he has a top job as a graphic designer. I’m so proud of him and fondly remember so many years ago when he worked for me packing cards. Gosh, I think I was his first boss at the age of 13! Wonderful ‘Jasper’ is Martin’s parents precious doggie!

Yes, it was a beautiful Christmas filled with so much love and gratitude for friendships near and far. I’m determined to be mindful each day of 2021, focused on the day and not looking either forward or back. That way each moment really is precious!

And for all of us, what better way to close this blog entry than to show a photo from Sweet Lynne Sims phone. I wish you joy!!!

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