Category Archives: Zen

Masters of the Earth

Following up on yesterday’s post, by request… Here is the Masters of the Earth series, three 24″ x 24″ acrylic on canvas paintings:

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We as humans like to point to our mechanical inventions as signs of a superior intelligence, thus granting ourselves the power of dominion over all else in our space. But as Albert Einstein put it:

“A human being is part of the whole, called by us ‘the universe.’ Our task must be to widen our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

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.

Art Concept Development

Developing an Art Concept can take time… As long as it takes.

Spinning the Dharma Wheel Galaxy
Spinning the Dharma Wheel Galaxy

The concept behind “Spinning the Dharma Wheel Galaxy”, a 36” x 24” acrylic on stretched canvas, is the basic law of the universe, inspired by images from the Hubble Space Telescope.

This painting then, then led to a more detailed concept in the “Spinning the Dharma Wheel” in a 90” x 40” triptych, below. In this painting, Frank is employing peace and compassion, as a way to reduce the inevitable suffering that comes with the law of the universe.

Spinning the Dharma Wheel (Triptych)
Spinning the Dharma Wheel (Triptych)




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 Practice and Good Art

Some wisdom from a great teacher, Shunryu Suzuki, on sincere Zen practice and how to know when art is good:

Sincere practice and good Art.

“What is sincere practice? When you are not so sincere it is difficult to know, but when you are sincere you cannot accept what is superficial. Only when you become very sincere will you know what it is. It is like appreciating good art. If you want to appreciate good art the most important thing is to see good work. If you have seen a lot of good work, then when you see something that is not so good you will immediately know that it is not so good. Your eyes have become sharp enough to see.”


Now some may say, “But I thought there was no bad art.”

Well, the title of Suzuki’s book from which his above teaching is quoted is: “not always so.” So we will just leave it at that, with the further notion that good sincere teaching is also very important (more on specific teachers in the next few posts).

You might want to pick up a copy of  “not always so” for just a few dollars on Amazon or some other source. This is some of the most accessible Zen wisdom available today:

not always so
not always so


Amazon link here, or below: