Kaji Aso sensei, (1936-2006) was a beloved professor of mine at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
Sensei taught me Watercolor painting but actually he taught me so much more, especially about balance and process in painting, how to see color as an experience, and how to cultivate a zen-like approach to mark making as an expression of the life force. Sensei had a wonderful easy and gentlemanly manner, and he valued and honored his students.
Kaji Aso was what I consider a true Renaissance Man. He was a master of many visual Arts, including painting, Japanese brush ink calligraphy, etchings, and sculpture among others. His art is in the collections of museums around the world, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo. Thirteen of his works are registered as Japanese National Properties. He wrote hiaku poetry, philosophy essays, and short stories. He was also an accomplished Zen Tea Ceremony Master, and he had a beautiful, authentic tea house built into the ground floor of his studio/residence, the first such structure in Boston. One Spring day, I was blessed when he performed an unforgettable tea ceremony for me.
In his prime, he ran in and completed the Boston Marathon 36 times (a 28 mile run), and he led groups of students on kayaking trips down many of the world's longest rivers, including the Nile (Egypt), the Volga (Russia) and the Mississippi (US) among others.
His approach to life was elegant, refined, traditional, and dignified. Kaji Aso's mastery of Arts and his zen philosophy was so infused into his life and teaching, it permeated everything he touched with a refined beauty.
If you ever find yourself in Boston, I encourage you to visit his studio/gallery and learn about this great man.
He is greatly missed.