Today, as I sat with the Lord, I wondered what He would have me focus on today. I was watching a video before I sat down for coffee. It was an interview with a pastor and his son, who had had a near death encounter and a supernatural experience in heaven.
In that video, they were discussing how they were trying to get his son to identify which painting looked the most like Jesus, and of all the images of Jesus they showed the son, they were not like the Jesus he had seen.
However, later they mentioned that they eventually found one painting, by Akaine Kramarik, a young Lithuanian artist, that was the exact image of Jesus that he saw in heaven.
My Jesus Painting
I was fascinated because I had a painting of Jesus that I painted when I was 9 years old. It is hanging in my mom’s house in a guest room, but I’ve always been a bit embarrassed of it because I had not drawn the proportions right. Since then, I had wanted to re-paint that painting of Jesus to something that looked more proportional.
For years, I carried around a blank canvas with the intention of re-painting Jesus. Somewhere along the way, in my twenties, I sketched the outline of Jesus in pencil. I then carried around that painting from apartment to apartment, move after move, from Chicago to a move to New York, and then from apartment to apartment there. It’s been through so many moves with me.
Starting the New Painting
One day, I thought, maybe I should finish painting this painting for my mom as a Christmas gift.
I knew that I would need some time set aside for this project, so I searched for an oil painting class I could take, where I could bring this project with me.
At the time, I was living in New York City in Greenwich Village. Just blocks away in Union Square, there was an art teacher who had a studio, and she had an impressive collection of beautiful portraits that she had done. I knew she could help guide me.
My goal was to start and finish the painting in her class, however, at the time I had been dealing with a lot of physical issues, and wasn’t always able to make it to the class. When I was able to make it, I made it to only half the class. It was a time of intense physical struggle in my life.
Despite the short period of time I had there, I was able to start the painting and get it to look somewhat like the reference image I had brought. Unfortunately, I did not finish the painting during that class, even though I had signed up for another session.
Soon after that, we moved an hour away from the city to a suburb up north. It was too far of a commitment to go there with kids every Saturday morning, so the painting got tucked away.
Put on Hold
It has now been at least 5 years since I worked on this painting, and as I saw the new painting of Jesus painted by Akaine, and watched the background story of how she came to the paint that painting of Jesus, it became very clear that I had been painting an image of Jesus that was not actually what He looked like.
Watching Akaine paint, I saw how detailed and realistic her paintings were, and the struggles she faced while painting her paintings to portray the emotions just right.
Perhaps my painting was on hold because it wasn’t the actual image of Jesus. I wondered if it be ok for me to recreate her painting.
This got me thinking about my art journey… the one that never began.
My Art Background
Not many people know that I have a hidden art talent, unless they were in 8th or 9th grade with me. In 8th grade, for art class, we had to draw a large realistic picture with pencil using a grid. I was behind in my art projects, so that one got pushed off until the last minute, and I had just one weekend to start and complete it. I had worked on it all weekend, and turned it in, not thinking much of it.
At the end of the year, at the awards assembly, the teacher offered me the art award and rolled out my picture of a grandfather and his grandson for the entire school to see. I heard the crowd gasp. I was shocked to see that kind of response, as the picture didn’t require that much effort from me, and it was just in pencil.
In high school, I had created a bust of Caesar for a history class using air dry clay. The school took that bust to display it somewhere. I had my art displayed from 1st grade through 9th grade, and even won some art contests in 3rd and 4th grade, but later in high school, my life was just too busy to create any art.
My high school art teacher kept encouraging my mom to have me go into art and become an artist, but I was not interested. I didn’t want to be a “starving artist.” I wanted to go into the sciences, and then later in college, I decided to go into tech.
A Brief Encounter with Art Again
After a brief detour into tech, I had felt a need to use my art abilities and searched for a creative career. I ended up going into design, which I considered was the practical side of art. I didn’t think of myself at a creative at all, as I was super analytical, so I needed a lot of training in this area. I went to design school to get trained up.
I never thought I’d actually do any fine art, but in order to apply to design school, I signed up for many art classes to create a portfolio. During that process, I ended up taking an oil painting class, drawing class, glass blowing class, pottery class, figure sculpting class, and a metalsmithing class.
My figure sculpting teacher saw my ability to create realistic sculptures in clay and encouraged me to become an artist. He kept my project. Since I had not really valued my art at the time, I didn’t really want to keep any of my art anyways.
A Calling Into Art
I never saw art as an actual career path. Most Korean parents only see 2 or 3 viable career paths – doctor, engineer, or lawyer, but my mom encouraged me to major in art. Art wasn’t calling to me at the time, so I didn’t pursue that route.
Now, I feel God calling me back into art again.
It feels foreign, as it’s been so long for me, but I know the innate talent that I have that the world has yet to see. I haven’t even shown myself what I could do. I’ve only seen glimpses of it in the projects I did during my childhood years.
God is bringing me back to the statement I told my mom when I was 3. I told her I was going to sell my art when I grew up.
Well, I’m in my 40’s now, and I’m definitely considered grown up now! I thought I was going to wait until retirement to create art, but I feel God is guiding me to a new art journey now.
Today, he confirmed this path after He planted the seed of the idea in me last summer, just like He had done with my music.
Last year, when I had asked God what direction He wanted me to take in my life, as everything was being uprooted and changed at the time. He had guided me to some art classes online that I signed up for. I felt a fresh energy coming to me and an excitement for something new that I hadn’t felt in a long time.
But, soon after that, I was too busy preparing to sell our house and move to a new state to do those art classes. They took a back seat.
9 months later, just this month, these art classes started to expire, so I had to quickly start taking the classes and request extensions for them. There’s nothing like a expiration date to get me to start drawing again! These are not really fine art classes, but illustration classes to keep things more light hearted for now.
Uncovering Hidden Talents
This is only my third blog post here, but I’m sensing a theme… hidden talents that are coming up to the surface now.
If you’re here and reading this, it’s possible God wants you to bring a hidden talent into the light too. It’s time to take it out and develop it, whatever it may be for you. Like me, you may have multiple talents that God wants you to share with the world.
God gave us these gifts to share with the world, but as adults, often our responsibilities of making money and taking care of the household and raising kids prevent us from spending time to develop our gifts. We’re so busy developing our children’s gifts and running our lives that our talents get hidden, with only remnants of our projects tucked away in the back of a closet somewhere.
Our gifts are meant to be shared with the world. We each have unique gifts and talents given to us to bless others, and I’m here to encourage you now, as I walk into this journey myself, to let your gifts shine!
Let’s polish them up, practice them, refine them, and prepare for the time that God can use this gift to bless others.
Let’s find some time to work on them!
Yours may not be in art or music like mine. Yours may be teaching, or organizing, or coaching, or sales, or leading, or writing, business, entertaining others, design, crafting, or even sports. Consult God with what He gifts and talents He wants you to polish, and you may be pleasantly surprised at what comes up.
Have you identified any hidden talents from your childhood that you haven’t brought back out yet? Any skills from your past that can bring you some fulfillment to engage in now? I’d love to hear! No gifting is too small to be shared with others.