Living at the Center for Living Buddhist Art for over 5 weeks, I am getting more acquainted with the Buddhist way of life around here. I have participated teachings of the Dalai Lama, visited monestaries and temples, reading books and articles about different deities and buddhism, introduced to interesting people around the center, taking time to relax and listen to mantra songs, meditate, practise yoga and eating good Tibetan and local Indian food. Next to this lovely program I have been drawing 12 different drawings of deities and currently working on the 13th.
Studens have been coming and going but mostly I have been living with 5 other people at the center. Every time someone leaves or new students arrive the group energy changes. It is interesting how the mind deals with change and new settings in our space of living and working. A perfect way to apply the buddhist thoughts of compession and look inside to learn more about yourself.
The conversations and teachings of Sarika Singh and master Locho have been eye opening for me. They have shown me their devotion for Buddhist art and especially Thangka painting. I know and feel now that working with the deties is a miraculous process for body, mind and soul. Drawing and painting these deities helps the artist to seek and look within aswell as the observer.
This is said about Thangka painting in the teachings of Sarika Singh and master Locho;
The iconography of the Thangka is rich in information about the spiritual practice of Buddhists. A Thangka can assist a meditator to learn and embody the qualities of a particular deity or to visualize his or her path towards enlightenment. It can bring blessings on the household that posesses a Thangka and serves as a constant reminder of Buddha’s teachings of compassion, kindness and wisdom.
I want to show you some pictures of the surroundings, people I have met, good food and things I have been inspired by in the last 1, 5 week.
Being at the Center for Living Buddhist art it is not all about creating art yourself every day. It is also very good to feed the mind, body and soul with inspiration from other places like temples, nature, books and good food.
I want to show you more about where I have been living for the last four weeks and what places give me the happy and joyfull feeling of inspiration.
One of the most special events I have experienced was the day the Dalai Lama, his holiness, gave his teachings at his temple. The whole area was crowded with different kind of monks, Buddhist people and visitors who wanted to listen and experience his presence. His holiness gave a public teaching about Buddhism for almost two hours. This gathering was a unique opportunity for me to get to know the Buddhist way of prayers and chanting, it became an experience with true feelings of bliss.
I am so amazed of the colorfull and detailled artwork there is in all the places I visited. The best quality craftmanship and so many vibrant colors it gives my body, mind and soul shivers of joy. The beauty of these places is hard to explain in words because it is seen with all senses. You can feel the awareness and presence these places have by doing rituals and prayers over a long period of time.
I have been at the Art Center of Living Buddhist Art for 2, 5 weeks now and it feels so good to totally concentrate and focus on my drawing. I am more and more excited about it every day. I enjoy getting to know the curves, shapes and qualities of each deity. Every day (mostly sundays are off) we work for 6-8 hours in the studio practising the steps to create a Thangka.
At this time there are 6 people working in the studio. Every person is in a different stage of the process. It makes me very excited to be able to see all these steps towards making the Thangka.
Thangka means scroll painting. Its a unique and sacred artform depicting Buddhist themes. The origins of Thangka painting lies in Indian Buddhist art, but Nepalese, Chinese and Kashmiri styles have also influenced its development. A Thangka is more than just a work of art. When created properly it is an object of devotion, spiritual practise and a source of blessings for those who create it as well as those who view and meditate upon it.
There are several steps the artist needs to own before a Thangka can be created. Drawing is a very important first step because this defines the image of the deity. After transferring the drawing onto the canvas, inking follows and then painting with natural mineral paint and applying the gold.
Below in the video you can see how I am working on my drawing of Avalokitesvara. Bodhisattva of compassion and the early expression of the eternal Buddha.
I have been planning and looking forward to this moment all year 😀
Here I am, in northern India to learn more about buddhist art and thangka painting. In this center for living buddhist art they are going to teach me the traditional way of drawing and painting buddhist en hindu deities. For the next two months I will learn how to create and get more information about the spiritual practise of devine beings following the north Indian and Tibetan traditions. This artschool is highly recommended for its quality and professional teachings in Buddhist art and Thangka paintings.
When I arrived last thursday, I started with sketching the face of Buddha Sakyamuni to get acquainted with his shape.
Buddha Sakyamuni is the historical Buddha and the initiator of Buddhism. He was born 563 B.C. and given the name Sakyamuni after his birthplace. His teachings of Buddhism where about how to seek peace and happiness, wisdom and discovering truth in one’s own religion.
In creating the deities we work with a grid. This is very important in the process of drawing and sketching as there are a large number of deities with all their own network of lines (grid). By using the grid every detail of the deity can be mastered.
I have been working on my drawing skills for the last week and will be for the next weeks to come. Below you can find pictures of the Buddha drawings I made till today. Keep in mind that each drawing is made with precision and concentration for at least 12 hours each. This might give you an idea how meditative this work can be.
What a wonderfull weekend I have had painting in the Mische technique. This is an old way of painting with egg tempera and glaces of oil paint.
In this technique you paint the lightest parts in a picture with white egg tempera and glace colour and depth with oil paint. Every strike on the wood with your brush is made with a lot of attention and devotion. It was amazing how concentrated everybody was working on their own devine painting.
Kuba Ambrose and Vera Atlantia are super teachers they helped me to create a beautifull Icon painted with passion and devotion using the mische technique. This gave me new insights in painting and it will take me to another level of painting my devine beings and spiritual worlds.
I feel very gratefull
You can follow the steps of painting in the pictures below.