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.