It just hit me that we're halfway through September. I've been writing dates all year, but it never sunk in beyond a number. Some major changes that made the last few months fly:
- Bought a house and moved
- Friends and family visited for about a month from London & Tokyo
- Transitioned from working full time --> part time to pursue painting and teaching
- Started teaching a college History of Asian Art class
The packing/moving/visiting affected art production for about 2 months as expected, but I kept sketching. Visual output from my head and heart to paper is like breathing - when I stop, my mind gets crowded and foggy.
My September plan: set up my home studio and get right back into painting. Submit applications for college teaching positions.
Real September plan: start teaching now. This position opened up and I jumped (more like dove head-first). I've been working towards this and many others have also been praying for this for years. The timing and class content are a direct answer to many prayers. Within 24 hours after hearing about the opening, I had applied, interviewed, and signed the final onboarding paperwork.
The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.
Since I'm taking over the class mid-semester, there's quite a load of planning and lecture prep to do immediately. The content is exciting for me, but the challenge is delivery: How to cover over 4000 years of an entire continent's art history in 25 remaining class sessions. My approach is thematic and practical, and I'm structuring every lecture and assignment around:
- What are common themes that cross cultures, how do those look different by region?
- How to look at and describe art
The second part is crucial. Learning how to see was the most important part of my art education. It's like being a detective - what details do you see, and what clues do you have about this time period or the purpose of the piece? Beyond art history, it enriches daily life because you start noticing details like shades of color in the wood grain of a fence, patterns in passing shadows, even the body language of people around.
Once I get a few weeks in, I think the prep-load will even out and I can start back with the large ink painting series of key places in Japanese Catholic history that I started this year. Or maybe it's a lesson (the one I keep learning) to stop being a perfectionist in everything. I may always have a hard time drawing the line between doing good work and being a perfectionist.
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
Now through December will be a teaching season with some painting (as much as possible). I don't know what's next - perhaps some teaching, perhaps full-time painting, or something else entirely? For now, I'm taking it 1 day at a time and thinking about Ecclesiastes 3:
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.