Monday, April 6, 2009


I started creating Tibetan Thangka Paintings about 9 yrs ago. I had been taking a bunch of art classes at San Francisco City College and a few at Academy of Art. I was learning new techniques and art history but something was missing from my early experiences with drawing. I began drawing as a way to ground myself when i felt the world was spinning out of control. These weren't technical masterpieces but more RAW visions of the state i was in at the time. I felt as if i was manifesting spirit onto paper. an exorcism. I hoped through studying art techniques i'd be able to capture this spirit in a more refined form. But that wasn't happening.

When first studying buddhism, I originally hoped to find a teacher who created Tibetan sand mandalas. I'd read how Native American sand paintings had influenced Jackson Pollock's work and opened up his mind to new ways of creation. Instead i discovered a flyer at SF Zen Center offering classes with a nepalese teacher.

My Thangka instructor Ang Tsherin taught us the basics of creating various deities such as Green and White Tara, Padmasambhava, and Medicine Buddha. We learned the essentials of the grid system which on initial view seems like it would be rigid towards creativity. However, it is just the opposite. It slows you down to see with precision every stroke, every curve. If one element is out of balance, the deity will not be harmonious. We learned to ink as we breathed. A meditative form showed itself through this work.

Just as I was beginning to get deeper into thangka painting, my teacher's visa ran out. The bush era was upon us so it took many years for him to get back into the united states. And when he finally did, I was busy with my new career in gardening. Luckily as the economy has slowed down, it has given me the chance to reconnect with my teacher and this art form.

This blog is to chronicle my journey into the realm of dharma art in america. Thangka painting will be my base for this study but i'll also be following how it influences my other art work as well as day to day life.

No comments:

Post a Comment