This morning did not start out well. I woke up to a phone call from Mel and Yada, which was great until my phone died mid-conversation. Bummed, I decided to go to the office and catch up on blogs. In the elevator I saw a notice informing me my apartment building would be without hot water from November 1 to 6. Great. I got to the office, only to find all the power out downstairs. Seriously!? I unplugged my computer and went upstairs to get on-line. Talking to my dad didn’t help, as he reminded me my visa expires in a few days and I need to contact the US consulate. Gar! Could things get any worse? Frustrated to the max, I checked MySpace before blogging. My friend Karis sent me an encouraging message. She said she admired my courage to move to a foreign country all alone and wished me the best of luck. It’s messages like these that motivate me when I’m down. They remind me to stick with it. I can do this. So thank you Karis, you have no idea how much I needed that!
Feeling a surge of endorphins, I got off the computer and got on with my day. I ran to Wal-Mart to stock up on groceries. I really didn’t want to go, but the weather is supposed to be bad tomorrow.
After lunch, errands and a little apartment cleaning, I set out to explore. It’s a crisp, fall day in Beijing and the light is perfect for pictures. I started to wander around my apartment complex, as there is neat art to photograph. I saw a sign for an art exhibition and lots of people carrying books. I love art and decided to check it out.
I walked into the gallery. A hostess handed me a free coffee table book of the artist’s works. I signed the guest book and turned around to see the artist, Chen Wenji right behind me. I asked him to sign my book. He did so and people took our picture.
I began to walk around the gallery. At first I thought his works were some sort of colored 3D canvas. “Wow,” I thought, “This is it?” Upon further inspection of his art I realized it is oil paint on canvas. Wenji’s ability to shade really deceives the eye. I literally stood a foot away from his work and still it looked 3D.
According to Wenji’s book, he began painting as a child. In school he was smaller than the other boys and often picked on. Schoolmates excluded him from sports games. Wenji befriended a handicapped boy. Together they would find anything from landscapes to people, and try to paint what they saw as realistically as possible. His parents didn’t understand why Wenji didn’t like games, but this was his own game in his mind. Wenji later studied art in China and abroad. Today he is an accomplished, award winning artist.
The gallery titled “’09 Chen Wenji Recent Works” is on exhibit until December 31, 2009. Entrance to the gallery is free. If you’re in China, I encourage you to check it out. Chen Wenji’s art is amazing. Alright, I’m off to get ready for Halloween in Beijing!