Category Archives: Prime Elements

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.




Liberty Enlightening the World

At, we usually stay away from politics and religion, too often intertwined. Today, we make an exception to recognize the reality of a very important human desire: Liberty, as a prime element in finding Enlightenment, and to recognize a special event.

The founders of the United States of America, wanted Liberty above all else, and many fought and died to allow others this basic human right. The people of France recognized this in their gift of a statue “Liberty Enlightening the World” (in French: La Liberté éclairant le monde). Today’s world is in chaos, in part because governments and politicians are driven by self-interest at the expense of human rights. Enlightenment has taken a severe beating.

In Frank’s 30” x 30” acrylic on wood painting from 2001, “Liberty Enlightening the World”, he projects Enlightenment standing strong, through the suffering and confusion we find around us today. There is a guiding light. (The statue performed as a navigational lighthouse from 1886 until 1901.)

Enlightened Liberty
Enlightened Liberty

All of this takes on special meaning today as Frank recognizes his grandson’s decision to become a warrior in defense of Liberty around the world. Bless this young man for his bravery and courage. May he help protect a world that rediscovers Enlightenment and Liberty as primary human rights.

Touching… Walking on Art

When you visit a museum or gallery, you are expected to not touch the art. Frank enjoys the fact that his art is not only touched, but walked on:

It was Frank’s great honor to be hired as a consultant to assist in the property purchase, development and construction of a new Zen monastery  in Seattle, where Master Jian Hu served as the first abbot. This was a dream fulfillment for Frank.

This new monastery replaced a dilapidated facility, once a church that degenerated into the living space of drug users and prostitutes. The local community received a great blessing with a new Zen spirit in their neighborhood upon completion of the monastery… a true sanctuary for those seeking truth and peace.

Through Frank’s experience in managing the work of government agencies, contractors, architects, and engineers, he was able to save the Zen monastery well over one million dollars in the acquisition and build-out process.

After completion, It was then Frank’s greater honor to envision, build and gift an outdoor public art installation, a Peace Pole and Dharma Wheel combination, seen in the pictures above, for the enjoyment of all at the monastery , including Master Jian Hu. Frank was also commissioned to paint an outdoor welcome sign at the entrance to the monastery.

Point Sur Light… Over 100 Years Ago

Frank Kliewer created the 24″ x 18″ acrylic on stretched canvas painting below to honor the way the Point Sur Lighthouse would have looked over 100 years ago when a first-order Fresnel lens, constructed of an array of prisms, guided the ships at sea. A less impressive electric beacon has replace the original beauty inside today’s version of the light.

Recreation of Point Sur Light by Frank Kliewer

Recreation of Point Sur Light by Frank Kliewer
Keeping this original beacon saving lives was a disciplined task. Some Keepers could not deal with the solitude, and the demands of the light, while others found a great chance to meditate in a pure natural setting and experience. 
Meditative enlightenment is a solitary experience, even if joined by others. 


Zen thinking on attachment seems pretty harsh and cold to most people, as it is linked directly to suffering. Just think of the grief experienced when someone close to you becomes ill or dies. Our attachment to members of other species, while bringing great joy, can quickly turn to sorrow when loss occurs.

Residents of the Art and Zen Sanctuary

That is not to say that attachment is good or bad, or that it is something that should be avoided. Zen thinking does not work that way. Zen teaches it is important to see things for what they are. A good friend once advised, “It is what it is” (not what we want it to be). Seems simple, but not always so.

Just understanding why we feel the way we do, helps. Then we can make better decisions and learn to cope with the realities of life. Survive to find joy another day, in another way.



Reflection Lake
Terry’s Reflection Lake by Frank Kliewer

The painting above (approx. 20” diam.  Acrylic on wood) was created and 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 key element within Zen practice. Like the stillness of the water improves the clarity of the reflected image, the stillness of our minds improves the image we reflect within our minds of the reality around us.