My encounter with the Buddhist culture goes on

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.

Dharmapala Mahakala face. Protector of the dharma and buddhism.
Dharmapala Vajrapani. Protector and guide of the buddha and buddhism.
Transforming the energy of negative emotion into active wisdom and magical perfection.
Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara with 11 heads. These 11 faces symbolize the complete realization and accomplishment of the 10 stages on the Bodhisattva’s path to enlightenment.
Working on the drawing of Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara with 1000 arms, 960 arms more to go!

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.

The healing garden @ Center for Living Buddhist Art. Peacefull place to relax and enjoy.
Magical coloured sky at sundown.
Happy students in the artstudio; Mary, Master Locho, Sandra, Calua, Holly, Lobsang and Xiaoying.
Good food and getting to know new, interesting people from all over the world @ Artcenter ( Sandra leenhouwers, Sarika Singh, Master Locho, Professor Alan Gilbert from Denver University, Holly Stone, student Aron of Denver University).
Inside the Gyuto Tantra Monastery temple, also called Karmapa temple. Karmapa means the embodiment of all the activities of the buddhas. The current karmapa is the 17th incarnation of a buddha master.
Offerings inside the Karmapa temple.
Sugar offerings inside the Karmapa temple.
Enjoying my local Indian lunch.
Yogapose @ the entrence of Norbulingka institute.
Norbulingka is an institute dedicated to the preservation of Tibetan art and culture. Here they give teachings in Thangka painting, woodcraft, working with metal and textiles. This institute is a community for people who want to dedicate to the traditional creating of buddhist art.
Shrine at Norbulingka institute.
Photo detail of the shrine.
Embroidery of Medicine buddha @ Norbulingka institute.
Preperation and stitching of the arm and foot of the Medicine buddha.
Cutting and ironing the pieces of fabric for the Medicine buddha.
Entrence of the temple at Norbulingka institute.
Statue of Sakyamuni buddha and picture of Dalai Lama inside Norbulingka temple.
Wallpainting inside Norbulingka temple.
On our way up to Bhagsu waterfall.
View at the waterfall looking down to Bhagsu village.
The waterfall wasn’t so spectacular but the views even more so.
Goats leading the way back to Bhagsu village.
Lord Ganesha @ temple in Bhagsu village.

 

Inspiration is all around me

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.

Inside my cosy room.
My little shrine in my room.
Frontal view of the house of Sarika and master.
Rooftop view on Dharamshala.
Rooftop view @ himalayan mountains.
Rooftop view @ himalayan mountains by sundown.
So happy with my new book about Thangka painting.
Visiting the Dalai Lama temple in McLoadGanji.

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.

Visiting Towa Tea estate where all the tea of this region comes from. It is a steep walk but close to the artstudio.
Buddhist temple in the center of the village McCloadGanji.
Stupa of enlightenment.
Courtyard view at the Dongyu Gatsal Ling nunnery.
Entrance of the temple at Dongyu Gatsal Ling Nunnery.
Inside the temple.

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.

What a great feeling to be inspired! ♡

Creating an inner relationship with my deities

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.

This is the result of Avalokitesvara drawing.

Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara fineshed drawing

Step 2 practising with inking.

Miten is transferring the deity on the canvas with ink.
Holly started painting her Thangka with natural mineral colors.
Lobsang is working on a golden Thangka with Sakyamuni Buddha (historical buddha). He is polishing the gold to get detailed textures.
Detail of flower on Thangka.
Detail of flower on Thangka.

Arrived @ Center of Living Buddhist Art in India

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.

Center of Living Buddhist Art
Dharamshala, Kandi, India
www.livingbuddhistart.com
Sakyamuni buddha head and practising eyes.
Sakyamuni buddha body and grid.
Sukyamuni buddha with clothing sitting on lotus

Short video of drawing Avalokitesvara body

Artstudio
Master Locho & Sarika Singh, founders and teachers at Artcenter for Living Buddhist Art.

Dream Icon course October 2017

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.