100 Paintings in 100 Days Title Page
Century Watercolor Extravaganza Introduction

Introductory Notes

P erhaps, were I able to go back to the beginning of the Century Watercolor Extravaganza, I might rename it the “Century Watercolor Challenge”. I didn’t think about what it would require to make it happen. I imagined doing quick paintings, perhaps spend an hour or an hour-and-a-half on each, but as the starting date of June 16 drew near I rethought my approach.

The entire purpose of this exercise was to get my work out to people so that they could see what I do, and ultimately to find more collectors. It was clearly in my best interest to do paintings that accurately represent

me. It became obvious that the paintings would take more time than I had planned for.

I mention this because throughout the “Extravaganza” event the question asked most of me was, “How long does it take you to do a painting”? The answer to that is that it varied widely. The quickest paintings were three hours, minimum. The most time-consuming paintings took over twelve hours. The average was around five-and-a-half hours.

It took a lot of intention to make it happen every day, and some sacrifice. (My social life evaporated like spilt sake on heated stones.) Still, I loved the entire process. It was wonderful being in touch with friends and new friends who have been so incredibly supportive and generous with their funds and their appreciation. Plus, it is fantastic to

have put a hundred paintings in their hands.

The Extravaganza endeavor was revelatory in several ways. The most useful was in the recognition that my favorite paintings are not necessarily anyone else’s favorites. For example, “Pilgrimage to Myonshin-ji” was a painting that I was really excited about. It was inspired by the Ryota haiku that accompanied the painting when it was posted. I was very pleased with the image when it was completed and felt that it would be well received. In fact, it received the least response of all the paintings. Jeff and I laughed about it. We had been so excited to post this one thinking that it would delight everyone. It was a very humourous and instructive moment. Everyone’s eye sees differently.

The benefits to the creative process were substantial. I composed many paintings in my mind before I sketched or put a brush to

paper. The compositional part of the artistic process became effortless, and I felt my creative imagination accelerate and expand. I also sharpened my technique, and my painting became faster. My hand and eye, both, became more confident.

I made a number of paintings combining sumi ink with watercolor. I have combined the two before, but generally on silk. I really liked the result on paper, and did several of them in the “Extravaganza”. The flowers and fruits that are adorned in gold and the watery night scenes using silver leaf have proven to be quite popular, and I love the way that the gold and silver light up these paintings. It is quite dramatic. I am always attracted to water, especially the sea, and I never tire of painting the Pacific; crashing waves, the turmoil of breaks and swirling tide pools. I greatly enjoyed creating stylized water paintings, dramatizing the movement of water, and infusing the waves with deep

brilliant colors. I also did paintings of wildlife and found a great interest in bringing these animals to life. Birds in flight, whales arcing out of the water, and sea turtles; there is just something that delights the heart when you see a sea turtle.

I have always felt that presentation is an important part of any endeavor. I didn’t want to simply send out a new image every day. I wanted to try to put them into some context, and decided to augment the daily post with poems and verses from the ecstatics and wise ones from many traditions. I wanted to make every communication beautiful and compelling. Sometimes I did a painting based on a poem that I particularly enjoy.

The verses, poems, and quotes that we selected were culled from a number of texts. They are not communications from the mind, but from and to the heart. Pairing the

poems with the paintings was a delightful process. Sometimes the poem was an inspiration for a painting, other times we picked a poem after the painting was completed. For example, the very first painting in the Extravaganza was "Mount Radiance". Jeff opened a book of haiku and the first poem that he encountered was Bashō's which was absolutely perfect for the painting. We felt it was a confirmation that this was a good way to go for the entire process.

A big thank you to all of my friends and collectors. Your support, interest, and communication with me gave life to this project, and to me. The exchange of energy was key. I was cloistered at my painting table, but felt connected with many people each day. I am grateful for your participation and help, and so happy about all of the connections made.

Nara with butterfly in hand

I modeled the fabulous hats of a life-long friend, Joan Hammerschmidt, who is a multi-faceted, multi-talented artist of great refinement and sensibility. This photograph is from one of the shoots. When I completed “Pilgrimage to Myōshin-ji” for the Century Watercolor Extravagana my partner, Jeff, scanned the painting and isolated the butterfly. He then merged the two images, placing the butterfly in my palm. I love the “Disney-esque” quality.

Mount Radiance

Basho Haiku

Apple Blossoms

Horatio Alger Poem

A Star Is Born

Basho Haiku

Sumi Landscape

Issa Haiku

Bella Rosa

Bei Dao Poem


Issa Haiku


Issa Haiku


Poinciana Story from Nara Wood

3 Waves

Basho Haiku

Spirit Breath

Story from Full Mouth Buffalo

Fans of the Moon and Stars

Chiyo Haiku

Look Up, There!

Cream's I'm So Glad Lyric

False Cypress

Soseki Haiku

Sacred Ground

Prayer for Lei Making

Moonlight Revelation

Buson Haiku

Show Me the Way Home

Buson Haiku

Summer Dream

Buson Haiku

Fall's Spring

Buson Haiku

Current Chaos

Buson Haiku

All Out

Onitsura Haiku

Standing Bear

Words from Luther Standing Bear

Undivided Attention

Quote from The Bhagavad Gita

First Dance

Ryota Haiku

Oh, There You Are

Kikaku Haiku

Barely Winter

Joso Haiku


Quote from Swami Vivekanada

Shimmy in the Garden

Quote from Adi Da Samraj

Letting Go Mountain

Akiko Haiku

Conversations with the Moon

Quote from Raymond Darling

Cricket Pavilion

Issa Haiku

Wave, Goodbye

Quote from Uvavnuk

The Third Gate

Basho Poem

Open, Up

Shikibu Haiku

Facing West

John Masefield Poem

Spring, More

Shiki Haiku

Medicine Bow

Yayu Haiku

Banana Smoothie

Issa Haiku

A Perfect Gift

Rimpu Haiku

Rendezvous at the Palace Window

Mechthild of Magdeburg Poem

Days of the Heart

Adi Da Samraj Quote

Purnima Reflections

Basho Haiku

The First to Call Me by My Name

Adi Da Samraj Quote

What It Appears to Be

Adi Da Samraj Quote

Four Thorns

Bruce Cockburn Lyric


Shiki Haiku


Ransetsu Haiku


Anonymous Haiku


Rumi Poem

Portuguese Beach Interlude

Kabir Verse

Leaving the House of a Friend

Basho Haiku

Time to Leaf

Hokusai Haiku

Fall Free

Kakei Haiku

Fourth Harvest

Kabir Verse

Embrace Mountain, Return to Ocean

Ruchira Avatara Gita Verse

Cuckoo at Shikoku

Basho Haiku

Da Tcha

Ho-o Poem

Red Dragon

Buson Haiku


Chiyo Haiku

Tara's Bouquet

Seng Ts'an Quote

Pilgrimage to Myoshin-ji

Ryota Haiku

Of a Star Falls in the Forest

Bruce Cockburn Lyric

Deep Breath

Buson Haiku


Adi Da Samraj Poem

Walk This Way

Basho Haiku

Royal Family

Onitsura Haiku


Bunan Haiku

Summer Blues

Issa Haiku

The Food of Holy Friends

Rumi Poem

Green Is Here

Mirabai Verse

Tamasudare Falls

Kioshi Poem

Passing Temptations

Basho Haiku

Still Pretty After All These Years

The Shvetashvatara Upanishad

Orange Is OK

The Rig Veda

Island Universe

Basho Haiku

Rhod-Side Attraction

Kabir Verse

Green Flash Comin'

Chief Yellow Lark Prayer

Manner Pond

Issa Haiku

Roka's Window

Roka Haiku

Bright, Golden-Brocaded

Onitsura Haiku

High Tide

Basho Haiku

Kale Yuga

Issa Haiku

Notice This

Adi Da Samraj Quote

Consort of the North Wind

Bhagavad Gita Verse


St Teresa of Avila Verse

Fall Into the Heart

Shiki Haiku

Fall Into the Heart

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux Verse

Star-Pointing Mountains

Kabir Verse

Rosa Leela

Adi Da Samraj Quote

Let's Get Naked in the Garden

Basho Haiku


Chandogya Upanishad Quote

Primary Sensations

Wu-Men Quote


Mahatma Ghandi Quote

Night's End

Nara Pilgrim Wood Poem


Rumi Quote

Blossom's Surrender

Kikaku Haiku

Aquatic Animation

Ho-o Poem

Sweet Inspiration

Wu-Men Quote


Mechthild of Magdeburg Verse


Basho Haiku

Translation Island

My Final Work Is Me Alone - Adi Da Samraj

Nara at Lake House

This photograph was taken at the “lake house” in Sonoma county. It is a place where nature can be observed closely. I witnessed the cycle of many lives there. White and blue heron were steady residents, ducks of many varieties made a temporary home there, long enough to raise a family. Then there were deer, river otters, bobcats and mountain lions, coyote-friends, turtles, dragonflies, and raccoons fishing off of the deck and making a general mess of things. It is a magical place.