I had gotten an email that upset me, and I couldn’t get it off my mind.Â All the while I was working, the thoughts nagged at me.Â I tried to give it to God, but still it was there.Â I was painting a woman in Qing-dynasty robes (with a jacquard-ribboned collar which I was very happy with) whose hands were opened to release a butterfly into the air.Â I wanted that to be like my spirit, releasing the pain in my heart back to God.Â I want to accept that my friend disagrees with me, and know that I have to let her disagree without engaging her in debate.Â She is too passionate about how she feels to reconcile right now.Â
The thing is, I believe that reconciliation is more powerful than being right.
Sometimes, the best way to stand up for what you believe is to commit yourself to be friends with people you disagree with.Â
I am trying to live this out.
But God, it is so incredibly hard at times.Â
In one month I am leaving with my family to go to Hong Kong.Â It has been a little over four years since I have been there.Â My wife and I used to go every year to visit her family there … but three kids later, things have changed a bit in our travel-ability.Â
Â As I am sitting in my studio, I am preparing to leave.Â I will be bringing paintings as gifts to family members I have not seen in some time.Â I am also preparing to visit a number of galleries in the city, seeing if any would be interested in representing me.Â When IÂ was there 4 years ago, a gallery I took images to told me that my work was not “Chinese enough” and at theÂ time, I did not know what she meant.Â But since then, IÂ haveÂ had an artistic transformation and am paiting with a heavy Chinese influence in my work.Â I have no idea if her comment brought this on or not, but I am hopeful that someone may want to take a chance on my work.Â I know artists are supposed to have a thick skin, but like my favoriteÂ drums, my skin is very thin.Â I think some of the most beautiful rhythms come fromÂ drums with thin skins.Â I think some of the beauty I experience while painting alsoÂ come precisely from beingÂ “too sensative” to things.Â It isÂ both a blessing and a curse to be like this.Â I will go with boldness, and also brace for disapointment.Â In addition to gallery shopping, I am hoping toÂ find inspiration.Â Two of my favorite artists have gallery representation in HK, so I am so looking forward to seeing some of their recent work in person there.Â I am also hoping to have a chance to visit some antique shops, aÂ Buddhist monastary nearÂ Diamond Hill, and the Christian cemetary where many Chinese Christians are buried with their portraits baked into little white tiles that are centered on each of the tombstones.Â
I can’t wait to go.Â I really hope that I can sense God’s presence in a fresh way inÂ HK, and that this sense will bring with it artistic ideas as well.Â