Our mission in creating art is guided by a mashup of the thinking of E. O. Wilson and Nietzsche:
When traveling the Pacific coast, Frank and Mary were struck by the stories of lighthouse keepers, and their dedication to working the lights to protect the lives of people traveling along the treacherous shores. This 48″ x 30″ acrylic on canvas painting “Racing the Storm at Pigeon Point” above is part of a series of lighthouse paintings by Frank. In this series, he re-creates settings from over 100 years ago, when the lights were critical life savers, while including some contemporary views and stories as well.
There were no electronics to guide the ships. The critical mechanics of the lights were driven by weights, pulleys, and gears. The Light Keepers kept the lights burning with oil and kerosene before electricity, sending beams of light over twenty miles out to sea. A daily practice of hard work by the keepers was absolutely critical to keep a light working.
In a re-creation painting of Point Sur Light (24″ x 18″ acrylic on stretched canvas) below, Frank honors the way the Point Sur Lighthouse would have looked over 100 years ago when a first-order Fresnel lens guided the ships at sea. Today, a much less glamorous electric beacon guides the way.
Re-creation of Point Sur Light by Frank Kliewer
Keeping the light burning was a very disciplined practice. While it may seem romantic, being at the seashore and all, some of the Light Keepers went over the edge, literally and figuratively.
The painting above (oil and acrylic on canvas 24″ x 18″) is titled “Light Keeper” and is a portrait of a modern day docent (Del) at the Point Sur Lighthouse. Apart from the cap he was wearing and his portrait, the rest is imagination.
The drill for the light keeper was to have the big light on a half hour before sunset, and keep it going until a half hour after sunrise. This painting depicts him running a bit late for the sunset action.
Another lighthouse re-creation painting by Frank is “Cape Mendocino Light”, as the original first-order Fresnel lens is now on display elsewhere, replaced by the standard electric beacon. In this 48” x 30” acrylic on canvas, Frank portrays a time when the original lens was in place, and people could enjoy the full-on effect.
Cape Mendocino Light
The Light Keeper has done well, as the light is on before sunset, which frees him to enjoy the show as an enlightening experience well-earned by his disciplined work.
The importance of lighthouses and the work of their keepers was not lost on Benjamin Franklin: “Lighthouses are more helpful than churches.”
A good practice is followed at the same time every day, faithfully…Others are counting on you.
This painting, “Benefaction” is in acrylic on a 30″ x 48″ wood panel. Frank portrays the challenge of a foggy day for a typical ship in trying to find its way along the coast. It was a very joyful moment to see the light on the shore, while receiving guidance to safety by a sea-bird bringing the ship to the light, as it turns just in time to miss the hidden rocks.
Another set of paintings tells the story of Zen tranquility through the Landscape Art of Terry Welch as painted by Frank Kliewer.
The painting above (approx. 20” diam. Acrylic on wood) was painted and then gifted in 2009 by Frank to Terry Welch, the world-renowned Zen landscape artist and art collector. The name of the painting is “Reflection Lake” and presents Terry’s favorite view from within the wildlife refuge he developed.
Reflection is a key element within Zen meditation practice. As the stillness of the water improves the clarity of the reflected image. The stillness of our minds, that occurs as we meditate away the noise, improves the image we reflect within our minds of the reality around us.
Also in 2009, Terry Welch, the owner and creator of one of the most photographed Zen gardens in the West, commissioned Frank to do a painting of this garden. So many photographs, published over several years, but never a painting.
The painting above, done in acrylic on a wood panel is about 40” x 24” and includes a portrait of Master Jian Hu, and a Blue Heron, both visitors of this garden.
While producing the painting, Frank learned that when lines are raked into the sand (or as in this case, speckled granite stones), these lines represent the movement of our lives. This movement is like currents of water flowing around islands and continents, represented by the larger rocks.
If you stick to the center of the channel (middle path) you will be less likely to run aground, and keep moving.
Copyright for the work on this site: The work by Frank Kliewer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at ArtAndZen.com
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