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KaJu Tangkas

Years ago while visiting New York City I saw a show of large, un-stretched canvases framed in quilting work done by the artists mother, and I thought of how much easier it would be to deal with rolled up paintings instead of loading heavy, framed watercolors, and bulky oil paintings into my truck to take to shows. When I saw the quilted frames, I thought of my sister, Judith Lewis Evans, who has made quilts. Thus the seed was planted that has bloomed into KaJu Art or KaJu Tangkas... Ka for Kathy and Ju for Judith.

A few years ago, we started to work together. I paint the paintings, roll them up, and take them to her home where we pick out the cloth, and discuss how to frame them... and then we get to work! Working with Judith has brought new energy and inspiration into my art work, plus I have developed a great respect for Judith's artistic abilities. If KaJu Art is a bloom, then Judith's son, Daniel Evans, the creator of this web site, has made a wonderful vase, so that you can see the bloom... thank you Dan!

The Buddhist collection of KaJu Tangkas depicts my own flavor of Buddhist imagery, gleaned from many different practices and countries. For each of these images the choice of fabric and style of frame was done with the intent of highlighting the characteristics and flavor of the painting: Kwan Yin of the Waters, who is pouring healing water on the earth, is framed by a flow of color in the fabric which is like the flow of Kwan Yin's spirit; Earth Holding Buddha, showing how Buddha called on mother earth to witness that he had the right to be enlightened, surrounded by brown textured cloth much like earth.

On the Elements page there are depictions of the five Elements in Chinese Medicine: Water, Wood, Fire, Earth and Metal. Each element has its own characteristics: color, season, animal, body part, and smell. My personal interpretation suggests: Water--blue, winter, turtle, rain, clouds, with the frames reflecting the energy of flow and movement; Wood--green, spring, sprouting, lightning, portrayed in their richness, with frames that represent purpose and the ability to generate action; Fire--red, summer, smoke, sun, surrounded by frames that highlight passion and energy; Earth--yellow, change of season, and soil, with frames that emphasize the power of nurturance; Metal--white, autumn, precious stones, with frames that help to define the strength and solidness of structure.

The Nature paintings come from what I see, think about, and let change on the canvas. I see a hummingbird look at me, or a fish turn to chase a fly, a raven fly by and call to me, an Atlantic wave washing away the footprints of birds, or a leaf falling in a stream. I think about the relationship of a bird and a frog in a garden, an ant carrying a trillium seed, cactus and a lizard in the desert, and how a cherry holds the life of a new cherry tree. The framing completes the evolution from nature to art! For example, the playful triangle frame of Ant Gardeners echoes the three-pointed trillium flower, and the three-dimensional brown encircling the flower provides depth to the ground through which the ants crawl as they carry the trillium seeds. Further, the red cord encircling the Corn and Crows pulls its color from the small flecks in the corncob.

Questions or comments? Please e-mail Judith@KaJuArt.com

Copyright © 1998-2012 Kathy Lewis
P.O. Box 341 Navarro, CA 95463
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