I moved from Mainland China to Hong Kong in the early 1980s and rented a small apartment in the industrial area of Kowloon, Kwun Tong. There were a lot of migrant families in this area, residing in cramped apartments. There were also a lot of American and British missionaries promoting Christianity in this area. It was my first encounter of Christianity.
When I first started reading the Bible, I realized there were a lot of stories suitable for paintings. So I did a pencil study of Jesus Walking on Water. When I was contracted to provide Simic Gallery in Carmel, California, a number of paintings periodically in the 1980s, I created a narrative oil painting on the topic. Unfortunately, there is no picture of this painting.
In 1987, the founder of Taipei’s Grace Baptist Church, Zhou Lian-Hua, commissioned a portrait from me. He was very pleased with the result and presented me a hardcover Bible. I read it from time to time. Once, I came upon the passage of Jesus walking on water again and thought of another composition. Why don’t I put the small boat and the disciples in the billowing waves in the front? They were surprised by the scene of Jesus walking on water in the distance. This should be interesting.
It took me years but here is the painting finally after a pencil study, oil painting study and studies of models for characters in the painting.