Easter Monday

IMG_4308Through a flyer I came across after strolling around a christian bookstore, I discovered and signed up for an art jamming session on this Creative Monday.  I’ve been wanting to try out art jamming and learn to paint with acrylics for many years, but passed many opportunities due to timing and cost.  Today’s art jamming session fitted my schedule and budget perfectly!

It’s been more than a year since I last painted on canvas, but it didn’t take too long for me to get back into the groove, it still felt good to spend a few hours of solitude to focus all my attention on doing art while letting my worries and troubles slip.  Art can be quite therapeutic.

The art jamming session was held at Tao Fong Shan Christian Centre, a unique chinese style christian sanctuary, and it was actually my first time visiting.  It seemed particularly serendipitous to be doing art at a christian sanctuary on Easter Monday while I’ve been questioning myself recently about the role of art in my life.

“Oh Lord, You have entrusted me with the gift of art, how shall I use it to serve others and to glorify Your name?”

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Practice…

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(Starving) Artist?

FullSizeRender 9It’s been nearly a year since I had my first calligraphy class.  It all started from a calligraphy course ad at my residence’s clubhouse, I only hinted about trying it out and my dad immediately called up his old friend (also my old family doctor) who happened to be a calligraphy master.  He called me up and introduced me to my current calligraphy teacher.  That’s the beginning of my weekly morning calligraphy class, a Tuesdays with Morrie kind of experience.

A few weeks ago, my dad met up with his old friend, the calligraphy master.  My calligraphy teacher, his wife, my classmates and I joint them after class.  Even though it was the first time my dad met with my calligraphy class members, the conversation at the restaurant was quite lively and enjoyable.  The calligraphy master asked to see my calligraphy homework, I hesitantly handed it over and showed him my sketchbook as well, he seemed satisfied.

After that enjoyable lunch, the calligraphy master wrote a letter to my dad and in it was a short paragraph saying that I have the potential to be an artist.  And since then, my parents had told me a few times to consider pursuing art full-time.  Full-time artist?!  Really??  I admit that the thought of indulging with art as a career had crossed my mind briefly before, but I quickly abandoned that “dream” for I could never see myself being able to sustain my possible future family economically via art.  Besides, there’s a famous saying that it’s best to leave your enjoyable hobby as is and don’t have it mixed with your career.  Correct?

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Practice…

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Goodbye 2017 Q1

Almost forgot it’s public holiday today.  I went back to the studio as usual after my weekly calligraphy class.  The studio seemed particularly quiet, I took some time to fold up 3 months of daily to-do lists.  Much of the goals I’ve set up for this quarter was left untouched.  Where has the time gone?  Time passes by way too quickly.  Worse, it seems to be accelerating as one gets older.

At the calligraphy class this morning, my 89 year-old classmate fell asleep while calligraphing, ink was splattered on the paper.  This has never happened before for the near 1 year of classes I’ve had, I was a bit worried, but didn’t want to wake him up, later felt relieved when I could hear his breathing.  My teacher said my elder classmate had flu/cold and the tiredness was caused by the medicine he took.  Nonetheless, my teacher seemed a little concern too and insisted on escorting him downstairs.

Not long after I started the weekly calligraphy class that I was reminded of book Tuesdays with Morrie which I’ve read many years ago while I was still in Toronto.  Now my wise and always cheerful elder classmate reminded me of the rabbi in the book Have a Little Faith which I’ve just finished reading about a week ago.  I have a feeling that God wants me to learn something more than the art of calligraphy through the weekly Tuesday classes.

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Creative Monday

There was time to spare after I finished my chinese calligraphy homework, I attempted for the first time to do animal portraiture with a real calligraphy brush on chinese rice paper.  Feel really inadequate with my skill.  Think I’m much better off to stick with my faithful brush pen for now.

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Practice…

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Keep Running

Made an effort to continue my running practice this morning while the weather still permits.  I’ve always been thankful for the luxury to flexibly schedule my working hours, it’s rather pleasurable to be able to run and sweat in the morning before getting busy with the day.

Recently, the luxury to run in the morning feels more like a necessity.  I feel like I needed the fresh air, the endorphin, the solitude, and the time to clear up my troubling mind before the busyness of the day sets in.  The simple aerobic exercise seemed like a necessity that makes living in a loud, busy, and annoyingly political city a little more bearable.

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What is Life?

Have been pondering about the meaning of life a lot after my uncle passed away.  The question of life and death never felt so near until the traumatic experience of witnessing my uncle losing his life signals before my very eyes.

When I was aware of the interdisciplinary discussion/seminar about “What is Life?” was being held at CU today, I immediately signed up to seat in.  The auditorium was unusually packed when I arrived right on time, I guess the topic of life interests a lot of people.  The first professor talked about life from the physics and chemistry perspective.  The second professor, from the divinity faculty I think, talked about the joy of life, but he didn’t seem like a particularly joyful man to give a convincing talk.  The third and last professor was a doctor who recently stepped down from a high government position and started working at the university.  Instead of talking about life from his medicine training background, his line of thoughts seemed to resemble that of a philosopher.  I enjoy listening to all three humble scholars, especially the last one.

During the round panel discussion at the end, many interesting questions were raised from the audience, one particularly interesting one was “why use the limited time in our lives to pursue unlimited knowledge?”  I wanted to ask the speakers about “the meaning of life?” but there were too many questions and too little time.

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Uncle’s Funeral

IMG_4244Was at my uncle’s funeral last night and this morning, it was my first time in a buddhist themed funeral and also my first time helping out in one.  Helping out as a receptionist, I asked those who came to the funeral to sign their names and in return I handed them a “吉儀” – an envelope containing a candy, a coin, and a piece of tissue paper.  I also helped in marking down the names of the family and friends who brought “gifts” for my uncle’s family.

During the actual ceremony, I didn’t offer any burning incense like others but offered my silent prayer instead.  Most of the funeral rituals seemed very strange to me.  Actually, even my aunt and cousins didn’t seem to understand what they needed to do, they simply followed what the “host” told them to do.  I couldn’t understand why my aunt chose a buddhist themed funeral even though neither her nor my uncle are buddhists.  If a non-buddhist can have a buddhist themed funeral, can a non-christian have a christian themed funeral?

My aunt said my uncle started praying on his own occasionally before he passed away.  A pastor from the hospital also visited and talked to my uncle a few times when he was still conscious.  Only God knows whether my uncle opened up his heart to Him before he passed away, and I can only pray that God be merciful to my uncle’s soul.

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