Category Archives: Mural

The Mountains Know – Wall Mural

In 2002, Frank was commissioned to paint a wall mural that captured the sense of the unique scenery to be found in Zhangjiajie National Forest Park. His interpretive work was completed in acrylic on a wall area approximately 120” by 80.”

Frank enjoyed creating an original, expressive and surreal mountain scene in this work below titled “The Mountains Know.”

The Mountains Know
The Mountains Know
Office Lighthouse Mural

Trying to be as Zen as a Lighthouse Light Keeper

Frank’s lighthouse series brought a commission for a public wall mural. The mural below, painted in the reception area of a Silicon Valley business, is a takeoff on Frank’s Pigeon Point set. The scene is a rare sunny day setting for Frank, but more typical of what the pubic likes to view.

Office Lighthouse Mural

Several organizations use a lighthouse theme, portraying themselves as a guiding light. Frank is more interested in the diligent work of the keeper, who in a Zen monk-like way, maintained the life-saving beacon through the night, keeping the oil or kerosene topped-off and all systems running.

Inspiration from the discipline of the light keepers played a key role in the completion of the mural project.


Backstory: Frank was asked to paint the mural over a weekend to reduce impact on the business. Frank agreed, as long as the wall was prepared with an undercoat on Friday evening after hours, by a pro, according to Frank’s specifications and color. That way it would be dry and ready for the art on Saturday morning, which Frank estimated would take the entire weekend, if all went well. The wrinkle is that when Frank showed up Saturday morning to begin, the wall had not been painted. The “pro” didn’t show.

Frank set about immediately to shop for and find the paint to do the necessary undercoat. The primer coats were done, but the wall was not dry enough to begin the painting until Saturday night. Thinking of how the keeper of the light would work through the night, Frank could not shrink from his duty and painted all night, collapsing to nap occasionally on the seats in the picture.

By late Sunday afternoon, Frank thought the picture done, and invited his wife Mary and others to come view the production, and take him home. Everyone raved when they walked in the door, while Mary showed Frank a quizzical look, after studying the mural. Frank knew that look and placed high value as always on Mary’s artistic eye. Taking her aside, she offered her view toward perfection, suggesting to Frank that the perspective on the two windows on the side of the keeper’s house was a bit askew. Frank stood back, a little bleary eyed, refocused, and saw exactly what she had pointed out while others still went on about how cool the painting had turned out. After thanking Mary for her valuable assistance, it took about 15 minutes to paint the correction. Then a smiling Frank, with Mary’s concurrence, declared the lighthouse mural done.

The business owners were very pleased Monday morning when they showed up for work.

Reflection Lake at Mt. Rainier – Wall Mural

The wall mural below is of Reflection Lake at Mt. Rainier. Frank painted this 72″ x 41″ scene in acrylic on a rough textured surface in 2012. This scene reminds us that the more peaceful the water, the more clear the reflected image. Just as the more peaceful our minds, the more clearly we can see what is in front of us.

Reflection Lake at Mt. Rainier Wall Mural
Reflection Lake at Mt. Rainier – Wall Mural


Monkey Mind Wall Mural

Monkey Mind

In 2003, Frank was commissioned to paint a wall mural of a popular Zen scroll painting done by Hakuin Ekaku (1685 – 1768). This art illustrates the story “Catching the Reflection of the Moon.”

Frank’s wall mural re-creation stands about 6 feet high and painted in acrylic.

Monkey and Moon
Monkey and Moon

As the story goes, a monkey (Gibbon) sees a reflection of the moon in a deep water well and climbs out on a branch to catch it…the branch breaks. The monkey falls into the well and drowns.

This is a cautionary tale about how unrealistic ambition can lead to suffering and even fatal consequences.

Understanding the “Monkey Mind” is important to a successful Zen practice. Our monkey mind is emotion driven. Zen practice unleashes your “Big Mind” to begin to see what is,  more clearly.