EAST MEETS WEST
I first meet the venerable Mr. Edward Lee, 97, in Toronto, when I arrive for the wedding of my west coast son, Simon, and his beautiful bride, Liko. Mr. Lee is the father of the bride.
Extending a lovely pair of embroidered slippers, Mr. Lee welcomes me across his threshold and into the sanctuary of his studio home filled with a lifetime of his family treasures, his inspiring art and the gleanings of his global travels.
Both of us being artists, we have an easy, instant rapport. As we celebrate the blending of our families over the weekend’s festivities, we visit and enjoy Chinese order-in and elegant wedding meals. Our sweet beginning friendship deepens with each conversation.
Since our first meeting, Mr. Lee and I have continued to exchange gifts and appreciate family meals both in Seattle and in Carthage, too. During a recent Carthage holiday, Mr. Lee introduced me to a tradition he’s long explored with his eastern friends. As our feast was cleared, we brought paper, paints and brushes to the table to begin our progressive painting. Taking turns, we each added our interpretation to the strokes made by the other, until an expansive landscape appeared with a foreground tree of many branches and flowing roots mutually conceived by our complimentary artistic visions.
Visionary Mr. Lee, sharing a family home with Simon and Liko, first in Ottawa and now in Seattle, has the perfect set up—a full floor and living quarters to himself includes a spacious, light-filled studio where he paints and creates without interruption. His days begin with his personal Qigong practice and a brisk walk followed by his first studio session of the morning.
Evenings that are not full with Seattle art community activities, include dinner with Liko and Simon. Fortunate for all, Liko is a superb gourmet even when concocting her famous “Whatever Soup” named for the act of opening the refrigerator door and selecting randomly from whatever ingredients are on hand, often an east meets west medley.
I’ve enjoyed many Seattle family visits with memorable highlights including kissing the giant troll under the Fremont Bridge and spending a week primitive camping on top of Mount Saint Helens. Among the best is the entrancing, extended time spent in Edward’s creative space.
Mr. Lee’s “East Meets West” exhibition comes from this sacred place. His Opening Reception and splash-ink painting demonstration is this Friday night, 6-8 pm, with eastern delectables and dulcimer music by the talented David Matthews.