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Friday, November 21, 2014

どなたでしょうか (Who Art Thou?)

After two months of looking and dreaming and painting and hoping, my sixth painting is finally finished! I was so pleased and bubbling with pride, that I didn’t even TELL anybody, I just ran and put it up at my church for the whole entire Sabbath day! This painting marks the halfway point of this sacred art series. Only six more to go!

In my series I wanted to paint a portrait of an atheist - someone who does not believe in the idea of a God, or believes if a God did exist, He wouldn’t be concerned about something as unimportant as us in the universe.

What would happen if someone who does not believe in a God, passed on and got to meet Jesus Christ? What would be that man’s reaction? In heaven the word “atheist” would cease to exist, for there in front of him is the king of all creations, and on his hands and feet are markings. “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me”- John 14:6. The man’s reaction would most likely be confusion and shock. He obviously can feel a power and tender love radiating from this eternal being who calls him by name, and we as human beings are drawn toward that kind of love.

The title of this piece is called “どなたでしょうか (Who Art Thou?)” I made the title this way because this man would be speaking his own language to the Savior. The model is a friend of mine now living in Japan, and he represents the Japanese and Chinese cultures in Asia. Around 1% of the Japanese are Christian, and so are about 2.4% of the Chinese.

I personally believe that God looks directly at our hearts. He doesn’t look at what particular church we go to, exactly how much we tithed, or what positions we held. We can all choose to be a good person no matter what background we come from, and God loves us ALL. If I did not have an atheist in my series, the series would be incomplete, for I feel they are so important and so loved by Him.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” -

Pope Francis explained himself, "The Lord created us in His image and likeness, and we are the image of the Lord, and He does good and all of us have this commandment at heart, do good and do not do evil. All of us. 'But, Father, this is not Catholic! He cannot do good.' Yes, he can... "The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ, all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! 'Father, the atheists?' Even the atheists. Everyone!" We must meet one another doing good. 'But I don't believe, Father, I am an atheist!' But do good: we will meet one another there."

It is my hope that we do not have to wait until we die to know that God is real, that we are significant in this universe made by God, and that what is important to us is important to Him. I hope that we can ask God this question now while we are alive: “Who Art Thou?,” and look for Him. God is in the details of our personal lives, and He is especially in yours.

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. – Matthew 11: 28-30

Throughout the two months I worked on this piece, I had constantly playing Chinese traditional music, to keep the spirit of this person alive in my heart. Here are some pieces of music that particularly touched me while I was carried away painting…and two of them just happened to be beautiful film scores! 

Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon: Silk Road
Memoirs of a Geisha: Confluence

Yo Yo Ma Plays Ennio: The Mission

I would like to sincerely thank the people that helped make this painting possible:

Christine Simmons, my photographer and close friend.

Brent Alvord who has the best Jesus hands ever.

Elders Yuta Ishikawa and Spencer Lee –Thank you so much Yuta for you offering yourself, and for you and Spencer giving me thought and inspiration to step inside this man’s mind.

And thank you to all of the people who helped me in watching my son Caleb, so I could paint longer hours: Katie G., Jennifer E., Erica G., and Lisa K - my angels!!

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