Painting, ministry and building
Luke's passions for painting, ministry and building merged in Wakkanai. When Dad befriended the local Episcopal pastor, Koji Hayashi, he found a cause for the Protestant Men of the Chapel that might have been the highlight of his ministerial career. Koji led a tiny, struggling congregation, but had a vision of outreach to the youth of Wakkanai. He shared his dreams with Luke, and Luke set about to lead the chapel men's group in making it happen.
They built a dairy bar to offer refreshments and entertainment to youths who weren't allowed in the trendier bars in town, or who didn't want the drunkenness so common in the bars. Then the men built a dormitory for youths from rural areas who came to Wakkanai for high school. Both buildings were conceived, built and opened during Luke's two years in Wakkanai.
And where did the painting come in? Luke continued to paint prolifically in Japan and donated 22 of his paintings to be sold to raise money for the chapel projects. Buyers from the Wakkanai community and the base paid to hang Luke's art work in their homes.
We don't have photos of those 22 paintings, but the photos here also tell about the evolution of Luke's painting. Mt. Rishiri, a snow-capped island mountain off the Wakkanai coast, took the place of Antelope Island in Luke's continuing love of landscapes (though Wakkanai was usually overcast and sunsets were rare). So Luke livened up his art by framing some of his landscapes in brightly colored rainbows.
The fishing village of Wakkanai also inspired new directions in Luke's art. He built various sizes of fishing motifs, crafting flat fishing-boat art work out of wood, decorated with fishing nets and glass floats you could find just walking along the Wakkanai beach. He presented one of the fishing boats to Koji, a friend Luke admired as what Jesus called a fisher of men.
He also made his first collages in Japan, artistically arranging tourist brochures, postcards, souvenirs and other items from Japan into three-dimensional art.
Luke had started using varied approaches to framing his art when he was in Utah, sometimes making his own wooden frames of a painting on canvas, other times (usually with a sunset) painting on a smooth wooden surface and mounting the painting on a plywood board wrapped in fabric, often burlap. His framing techniques also continued to evolve in Wakkanai, with the rainbow picture behind the frame, with a large hole cut out to show off the main painting and smaller holes cut to reveal some of the painting's edges. On a Rishiri painting, he cut different sizes and shapes of wood to frame a painting on a burlap background.
The document here includes two separate documents describing the art sale and the construction projects at the church. Photos include a collage about Japan, summer and winter paintings of Rishiri and his presentation of a fishing motif to Koji. I don't know that Dad built the beautiful table between him and Koji, but I wouldn't bet against it.