Don’t get me wrong, I love the Bible … and I love the way that words have given us insight into our history as a people of faith.Â For example, the Nestorian Tablet which is the first evidence of Chrisitainity in China, gives us this information precisely becuse the words inscribed on the tablet tell us about the “Luminous Religion” which came to China around 700AD.Â However, it really bothers me as an artist how Christians, especially Protestant Christians, have such a verbal bias when it comes to understanding and knowing God now.
It has been a few days since my last entry.Â My kidney stones have not passed, my daughter needed to be taken to the Urgent Care Center, and we are still coping with the feelings after our friend’s son took his own life.Â Our family is not in a horrible place, but we are having some moments of suffering.
I often get stylistic inspiration for my work from Buddhist sculpture.Â Several years ago, I saw an exhibit in Hong Kong of a recent archeological find of centuries of ancient Buddhist sculptures which showed the way that Buddha came to lose his Indian features and become more Chinese-looking the longer Buddhism was in China.Â This was a very beautiful exhibit, and one that got me thinking about my own art in the years to come.Â Could an artist make art that had the face of Buddha and express the heart of Christ?
Tonight I was in my studio working on “laying down gold” for the backgrounds of my new “breath prayer” paintings.Â All the while I was working, I kept thinking of who would eventually look at these pieces, who would own them, what would be going on in their lives when they take time to look at these little paintings.Â I always hope that in some way my work helps remind people of the presence of God.Â Lately, I have used gold in my pieces to suggest this presence as it surroundsÂ the figures in my work.Â
I onceÂ made a painting for a friend called “CanÂ You Drink This Cup?”.Â Â Years after she put this piece up in her home, she was looking at it one evening when she could not sleep and felt that she suddenly “understood” the painting in a new way.Â I was so appreciative that she told me this, even though she did not share what it was exactly that she came to understand.Â However,Â what struck me was that she talkedÂ about this experience as an encounter with God, and that it was GodÂ who gave her this understanding.
I so hope that something like this happens for the people who eventually receive myÂ newest work, because I certainly feel a sense of being in God’s presence as I stand in front of my easel.Â I hope that there is a life for my art beyond the joy I get in creating it.Â