Monday, 20 June 2022

Mizuhiki Butterfly and Thai Line Art

I've been learning to make Japanese mizuhiki knots recently and I thought the butterfly would be easy to draw using Thai line art style, plus it has symmetry too!

The traditional mizuhiki butterfly (pic taken off Pinterest) actually has a squarish shape in the centre (a bit like a hashtag or swastika?) But I found that on the back, it's in fact a cross shape in the centre so I decided to feature mine 'back to front' instead (pic below of my own mizuhiki knot.)


The butterfly symbolises rebirth (or reincarnation) in Buddhism, the predominant religion in both Japan and Thailand. But with the Cross in the centre and with three strings representing the Trinity, it now points to our new birth in Christ as explained in John 3:5-7,

~ Jesus answered, ‘Very truly I tell you, no-one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, “You must be born again.” ~

Just like how I flipped the butterfly around to see the cross, all we have to do is repent (which literally means turn around) and face the Cross where redemption and new life can be found!

Saturday, 19 February 2022

About Time

These are my notes for a devotion time with some artists.

Opening song: In His Time 

Biblical Concepts of Time:


1. Time is in His hands


"Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." Psalm 139:16


"My times are in your hands." Psalm 31:15a


→ God is in control!

Time is NOT our master, God is! So don’t get stressed out by the ticking clock or looming deadlines. Look to God for help in managing time.


2. Time is fluid


"Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes." James 4:14


"A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night." Psalm 90:4


→ God is beyond time!

God’s work also transcends time so don’t be limited by time but be flexible and when prompted or as necessary, take time to dream and smell the flowers, connect with people, or simply to rest.


3. All times are appointed by Him


"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens… He has made everything beautiful in its time." Ecclesiastes 3:1,11a


"He marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands." Acts 17:26


→ God's timing is perfect!

Trust in His plans and purposes for all that happens - no time/season is ever wasted. 

Sometimes we may have to wait upon the Lord for His perfect time.


4. We are made for eternity 


"He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end." Ecclesiastes 3:11b


"So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:18


→ God is eternal!

Some things we hold as important may actually be inconsequential, so spend time focusing on the things that are of greater eternal value from God’s perspective.


Greek Concepts of Time:


Chronos - sequential time, a specific amount of time such as a day or an hour

Time is a gift, not our enemy. How can we use it to be a blessing?


Kairos - an opportune time, a "moment" or a "season" such as "harvest time"

Do we understand the times and seasons, as well as know our roles in what He is doing so we can partner with Him?


Synchronos - happening at the same time

Are we walking in step with Him, not running ahead nor lagging behind?

Poem and video of swans - synchronised swimming 


Eschaton - the last, the final event, the end of the world, the climax of history 

There is an expiry date for our lives and even for this world, so how should that impact what we do with the time that we have left?


What is God saying to you about time, whether it's about your time on earth (macro) or a specific time in your life - past, present or future (micro)? 


Saturday, 5 February 2022

"Navillera" - also highly recommended!

Started watching the K-drama "Navillera" with Aimee today and found it incredibly inspirational! 
It's about a grandpa (Park In-Hwan) in his 70s who starts learning ballet from a 20-something young man (Song Kang). So for 50-year-old me to be learning how to draw and paint is no big deal by comparison! 😆

As we say in Chinese, æŽ»ćˆ°è€ć­Šćˆ°è€ (live to old age, learn till old age). 😁
Since I drew canvas shoes earlier on for another K-drama 'Run On', I thought I'd draw shoes again - men's ballet shoes this time round. I took reference from a photo found online.

Thursday, 27 January 2022

"Run On" - highly recommended!


Just finished watching the K-drama series "Run On" and fell in love with these purple shoes that one of the male leads (Kang Tae-Oh) gave to the woman he loved (Sooyoung), so I tried to sketch them.

In fact, I loved the entire series a lot as it's all about grace and acceptance cos everyone's unique and nobody's perfect. Also about parental expectations vs embracing each child's dreams and passion. Lots of healing and reconciliation through open and honest conversations too.

It portrays a realistic view of life, love, family and friendship with all the challenges and roadblocks. But as the title suggests, we not only have to keep running, we must also cheer each other on through the ups and downs so we can all get to the finish line!

P.S. the bonus was having an artist as one of the male leads (Kang Tae-Oh), and a film translator as one of the female leads (Shin Se-Kyung). It was so fulfilling to see how they expressed themselves and found solace through the arts.

P.P.S. also quite remarkable that three of the four lead actors (Siwan, Kang Tae-Oh, Sooyoung) are actually popular K-pop singers and they can act well too. So talented!

Wednesday, 26 January 2022

It's all about people - reflections on Matthew 14:13-21

Those who are familiar with this passage would probably remember a sermon or two being preached on it. And the focus was likely to be on the magnitude of the five thousand (and more, including women and children). After all that's what the heading says - Jesus feeds the five thousand. However, it actually starts off with Jesus mourning John the Baptist's death.

So while reflecting on this episode I realised that in ministry we meet different categories of people, just like Jesus did. 

Original collage (see below for image credits)

There are the precious few likeminded ones whom we may not need to say much to yet know exactly what we mean and how we feel. Even though Jesus and John the Baptist had very little time together, I'm sure they were constantly in each other's thoughts and prayers. We draw mutual strength and encouragement just by knowing that we are there for each other.

Then there are those who follow in our footsteps, the ones we teach, coach and mentor. They may not take over our ministries but they are certainly a big part of the legacy we leave behind. In fact, our disciples may do even greater things (John 14:12) because we have patiently sown into their lives.

Of course, there will be the people whom we minister to. We may not necessarily have a close relationship with them, unlike the earlier categories. They may seek us out like the crowd did Jesus, or sometimes God may lead us to find them (eg how Jesus went to Simon's house and healed his mother-in-law cf. Luke 4:38-39). Regardless of how He met them, Jesus always had compassion for them.

Do you have people around you who fall into these categories? Then we would do well to consider how Jesus related and responded differently to each group of people and learn from Him.

Image credits:
  1. Jesus and John the Baptist taken from a scene in the series "The Chosen"
  2. Jesus and the twelve disciples taken from a scene in the movie "Son of God"
  3. crowd photos

Sunday, 5 December 2021

Love is...

Here are some reflections I've had over the past week while doing some art. đŸ‘©‍🎹

Day 1:
I've had the idea to paint a rose to represent 'Love' for quite a while yet didn't have the courage to start cos drawing a rose is challenging!!! 😅 Well, this morning I had a brainwave and decided I would use a stencil 💡 

Easy peasy, or so I thought... here I am trying to create the stencil but it's much harder than I had imagined. It'll take much longer (and probably some arm pain along the way) to achieve. 😬

But isn't that what we've already been told? The first quality of 'Love' is that it is long-suffering ♥️ so please be patient with me as I continue working on this piece...

Day 2:
It's still work in progress but at least I managed to complete the making of the stencil after a whole day of cutting, slicing and carving - bit by bit 😅 

Ended up with not just arm pain, but also finger, wrist, shoulder and neck pain 😜 Reminded again of another quality of 'Love' - perseverance! đŸ’Ș❤

Day 3:
I'm actually done with the artwork but thought I should feature the stencil (again... haha!) 

It served its purpose quietly, never calling attention to itself but giving the spotlight to the picture that's produced through it. And when it is finished, it's ready to be discarded with nary a complaint.

Just like 'Love', it does not boast and isn't self-seeking. Instead it is willing to sacrifice itself for the sake of the beloved.

Day 4:
Confession - while making the stencil I actually tore it at a couple of places. 😜 

But while using it, the stencil covered over my mistakes and there's no trace of them in the picture.

'Love' also holds no grudges and forgives everything. In fact, the greatest love of all has covered over and borne all our sins so we can be blameless. 

Day 5:
I know I'm really milking this 'object lesson' but while doing the art work, more and more insights came so I can't bear to waste all the wonderful analogies between the stencil and 'Love'. đŸ„°

For instance, while colouring in the spaces it's inevitable that I'll rub/push against the edges of the stencil, and some of the colour goes onto it. But when the stencil is lifted off, we see the picture formed through how the stencil had 'protected' specific areas of the paper. 

In the same way, 'Love' will always protect the beloved, often by setting boundaries and even taking on the harm. Sometimes the purpose may not be immediately apparent but if we try to shift/defy the boundaries, we may miss the picture entirely. 😅

Day 6:
Final lesson from the stencil before I reveal the artworks - promise! 😅 

Notice the plural? Well, after completing one picture I thought, "Why not do another one since the stencil can be reused?" And I did.

In fact, if I wanted to I could keep using the stencil again and again, and it would gladly continue to produce picture after picture.

In the same way, 'Love' keeps giving and giving without any concern for self. The focus is on the welfare of the beloved alone.

Day 7:
Ta da! Here it is (finally!) The first of two artworks created using the (by now all-too-familiar) stencil I've been talking about for the past few days. And how apt to end off with the final verse of the 'Love' chapter that I've been quoting from... ♥️♥️♥️

1 Corinthians 13
1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Day 8:
And here's the second picture produced by the 'famous' stencil that you've been reading about this past week. The quote is translated from Latin:

Omnia vincit amor: et nos cedamus amori” — Virgil, Ecl. 10.69

As we approach Christmas, I pray that we will all experience the greatest and truest 'Love' of all and that our hearts will soften and surrender to His Love. After all, as Christina Rossetti has written:

Love came down at Christmas,

Love all lovely, Love Divine,

Love was born at Christmas,

Star and Angels gave the sign.

Worship we the Godhead,

Love Incarnate, Love Divine,

Worship we our Jesus,

But wherewith for sacred sign?

Love shall be our token,

Love be yours and love be mine,

Love to God and all men,

Love for plea and gift and sign.

Saturday, 27 November 2021

The opposite of fear is…

Here are the notes from an activity that I facilitated for a group of artists, followed by my own sharing of what I received while doing it.

Question: What do you think is the opposite of fear? (choose one only)

  1. Faith

  2. Hope

  3. Love

  4. All of the above


Answer:

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” 1 John 4:18a


“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13


→ Only when we have experienced His perfect love and unconditional acceptance are we able to 

  • Trust in Him fully that everything He has planned for us is for our good

  • Believe that He will never leave nor forsake us

  • Base our hope on His unfailing promises

  • Face all adversity without fear


Often, it's a matter of changing our perspective to see things from God's perspective. The next activity will hopefully help us to do just that.


Activity:


1. Using your digital sketching/drawing app, write down all the fears (including worries & anxieties) you have.


2. Draw the outline of a big heart around all your fears. Colour it in slowly, stroke by stroke, to cover over all your fears while giving your fears to God and asking Him to reveal His love for you.


Play these songs while artists are drawing and colouring the heart:


I Will Fear No More by The Afters 


Stand in Your Love by Josh Baldwin


3. Write on the heart key words to help you remember what He spoke to you just now. You could also draw pictures/symbols to represent what He has shown you.


Play this song while artists are writing/drawing on the heart:


Rest in Your Love by Martin Nystrom 


4. Take turns to share. 

Closing prayer. 


Sharing of what I received:


I heard Him say in this order: Rest, Peace, Joy, Assurance. The last word - Assurance - came as a surprise but it reminded me of my favourite hymn after I had just received Christ, Blessed Assurance (by Fanny Crosby). We have assurance not only for eternal life beyond this life, but He also assures us of His loving presence, protection and provision in this life. God brought me back to my early days as a Christian, to my first love for Him, and the joy that results from a childlike faith in Him.

1 Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
born of his Spirit, washed in his blood.

Refrain:
This is my story, this is my song,
praising my Savior all the day long.
This is my story, this is my song,
praising my Savior all the day long.

2 Perfect communion, perfect delight,
visions of rapture now burst on my sight.
Angels descending bring from above
echoes of mercy, whispers of love. 

3 Perfect submission, all is at rest.
I in my Savior am happy and bless’d,
watching and waiting, looking above,
filled with his goodness, lost in his love.