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Year of the Rat 2020

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Fancy Feast


Double Trouble


Worth Your Weight in Cherries

In the Chinese calendar, January 25, 2020 is the Lunar New Year and the zodiac symbol for this year is the Rat.  Unlike in Western cultures, in Chinese astrology/mythology, the Rat is a good guy.  Rats were seen as a sign of wealth and surplus. Because of their reproduction rate, married couples also prayed to them for children.  Rats are clever, quick thinkers; successful, but content with living a quiet and peaceful life.

Ok, I still hate rats!  So, I commemorated the Lunar New Year with some cute mice.  Here are three small ink paintings.  “Worth Your Weight in Cherries” is based on a painting by the world-famous modern Chinese artist Qi Baishi, who is my absolute favorite Asian painter.

Videos from the “Heaven & Earth” exhibit at Fresh Paint Gallery in La Jolla

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As part of the HEAVEN & EARTH exhibit at Fresh Paint Gallery in La Jolla where I exhibited 5 of my contemporary ink paintings, on Saturday, December 15, 2019, I gave an Art Talk and a demonstration to the public. Like a docent tour at a museum, my Art Talk offered insights in to my paintings, an explanation of how I paint, and most importantly, what inspires me.

The demo was pure fun!

I set the stage for this demonstration by telling a little story of a recent retreat I made and my hikes up the mountain at sunrise. This helped my audience to visualize what I was about to create. I spread out a large piece of felt on the floor and using my giant brushes did a fast painting on handmade rice straw paper, explaining my process and techniques as painted.

To view details of my five paintings at Fresh Paint Gallery in La Jolla, please visit their website:

You may purchase these works directly from the Gallery, or feel free to contact me:  https://portialatouche.com/connect/

“Heaven & Earth” exhibit at Fresh Paint Gallery in La Jolla

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Zen Destiny

I am super excited to be invited to show at Fresh Paint Gallery in La Jolla!  This is a professional gallery, not a ‘pay to play’ type of gallery that I often exhibit at.  Not that there is anything wrong with paying the rent myself to exhibit my art.  But being accepted in to a professional gallery is certainly a dream come true for all artists.

And in the process, I was challenged to create some new and unique works of art using the traditional tools of Asian brush painting – ink, rice paper and bamboo brushes – in a non-traditional style, which is the direction I am taking my painting.

Here is my painting “Zen Destiny.”  The enso, or Zen circle, is not a character, it is simply a stroke of the brush.  Here, the enso represents the vast emptiness of space.

To view details of my five paintings at Fresh Paint Gallery in La Jolla, please visit their website:
You may purchase these works directly from the Gallery, or feel free to contact me:  https://portialatouche.com/connect/

The Tao of Ink: My Path to Creating this Exhibit

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“The Path” includes getting 23 paintings to City Hall in Bill’s big new truck!

It is an honor to be selected by the City of Encinitas Civic Art Program for this exhibit. I understand that over a thousand local artists apply each year, yet only a few are chosen to show art works in City buildings. I was given City Hall, which is like Grand Central Station to little Encinitas – lots of visitors all day long. A great venue to showing off my humble artworks.

“Tao” (or “Dao”) means path or ‘the way’ in Chinese and Japanese. The concept is broad and encompasses both the spiritual and the pragmatic. For me, it represents my own artistic development as I continue to study Asian brush painting and pass from a student who copies to an emerging professional artist with my own interpretation of the techniques and with my own authentic style.

Even the language used to describe this art form has evolved for me since I began in 1985. It started as Chinese Brush Painting.  Later, I referred to my style as contemporary Asian brush painting, as my influences were also very Japanese, and most certainly, my aesthetic is more Japanese than Chinese, and my style was becoming more modern.  Somehow the term brush persists.  Why is that?  Can we imagine painting with ink on rice paper without a brush?  Today, with fresh, ingenious influences from young, hip artists in China, the genre is ink painting.  See?  The term brush has disappeared.  It’s all about the ink.

Spring Ensemble Artists’ Reception photos

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Artist Master and pupil at her side.


Vanessa Elle Wilde and Portia La Touche at Hera Hub artists’ reception

We had a big turnout at the Spring Ensemble Artists’ Reception at Hera Hub Carlsbad last evening! Many good friends, many fellow artists, lots of Hera Hub members and general art lovers came for wine, cheese, talk about art, and buy art. I sold 5 paintings, so many, many thanks to my new Patrons for their patronage and support of the arts.

Few things are purchased for a lifetime. Art is.

Vanessa Elle Wilde, one of the other artists exhibiting at this Spring Ensemble exhibit, and I were interviewed by Hera Hub Owner, Lisane Basquiat, who I am honored is also one of my art Patrons. We were asked to discuss wh

Gordon Ma, Master Seal Carver

at inspires us, why we choose the mediums of art we work in, and what advice we could offer the audience in terms of pursuing our dreams. This interview was being videoed, so as soon as it is published, I will post the link here.

Art with Substance

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A great review of an art exhibit appeared in the Wall Street Journal on Jan. 12, 2017.  The exhibit is “Inventing Downtown:  Artist-Run Galleries in NYC, 1952 – 1965.”  Why did this get my attention?  The exhibit and the reviewer talk about how art had grit and character in those days, art was serious, authentic and created with integrity, before pop art and before hedge fund hyper-inflation of prices for art that, in my artistic humble opinion, really lacks integrity.  It was refreshing to read that artists, writers and curators value art with substance.  And, I think of what one of my favorite Chinese teachers, George Lin, who recently passed away, always said, “if it doesn’t have emotion, it isn’t art.”  I will strive to make my art serious and be full of emotion.

Ryoanji Temple, Kyoto, Japan

Japanese Zen Garden Inspiration

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Zen Garden in Early Spring

Zen Garden in Early Spring

In September 2016 I gave an all day Chinese brush painting workshop at Lung Hsiang, the San Diego Chapter of the American Artists of Chinese Brush Painting.  The subject was “Zen Garden in Four Seasons.”  The inspiration came from a Buddhist temple I visited in Kyoto, Japan, in 1985, over 30 years ago, whose image I will always treasure.  It was a simple rock garden with carefully raked gravel, enclosed by a temple wall, and a cherry tree in full blossom was dripping pink petals on to the rock garden.  In my painting lesson I simplified this vision even further, hoping to teach how to convey emotions with just a few elements and a limited color palette.

I just returned from an amazing trip back to Japan (April 2017), and of course I had to go back to that temple to see if my memory served me well.  The rock garden is at the Ryoanji Temple in Kyoto, a truly spiritual place for me.

Here is my painting of “Zen Garden in Early Spring” and a photograph of the rock garden with cherry blossoms dripping over the wall – just as I remembered it!

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