For the visits of HH the Dalai Lama to The Netherlands in 2009, 2014 and 2018, thangka painter Carmen Mensink was asked to create large paintings of the 8 Auspicious Symbols to welcome this special master in her country, according to the Tibetan Buddhist tradition.
It’s a Japanese batik style painting created with hot wax.
Here I explain you the process of the artwork that took me 5 hours to make on a cold and rainy day:
On a piece of white cotton you draw/paint an image with hot wax. The wax is much more difficult to paint with than a regular paint. The brushes are pretty big and therefore much more difficult to paint fine lines.
Most parts of the painting have to be painted with wax twice, in order to create really white spots.
On the left picture it shows my artwork on the cotton: a geisha with cherry blossoms in the background and below her a pond with lotuses.
Next, the white cotton is dyed with indigo (the traditional pigment coming from the indigofera tinctoria plant) for about 10 minutes while you slowly stir the fabric.
Because of the wax that has penetrated the cotton thoroughly, those parts do not catch any indigo paint.
On my travels in Asia I’m always drawn to Buddhist temples and, their practitioners and the rituals.
I find it very interesting to see the many similarities in the different Buddhist traditions and countries as well as the many differences.
So when I made my very first trip to Japan earlier this year my main purpose was to not only visit the Buddhist temples but also stay in them and join the ceremonies.
During my Buddhist pilgrimage in Japan I had to collect my first goshuin!
My expectations of Kyoto were quite high, I had always imagined a beautiful small city with lots of authentic streets, temples and buildings and full of blossoming gardens and parks. But I must say that I was quite disappointed when I finally spend some days in Kyoto, and that my expectations were waaaaaay too high….. The city is super large and very modern, even ugly looking, with hardly any trees or parks.
Bintan Island thangka painting course, Indonesia / Singapore
Buddhist Art Classes in Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong!
Teaching kids to draw a Buddha & guide them through ‘The Buddha’ exhibition
The 8 Auspicious Tibetan Buddhist Symbols – may they bring Peace & Harmony in the New Year to come
Teens are guided through the Buddha exhibit at the Tropenmuseum by Carmen Mensink and learn how to draw the Buddha image after that – with great result!
The Buddhism Festival with guided tours through the Buddha Exhibition, lectures on Buddhist art, and thangka workshops, all offered by Carmen Mensink
Exhibition ‘The Buddha’ in Tropenmuseum Amsterdam & helping animals in Nepal
Exhibiting the large 8 Auspicious Symbols painting that I created for His Holiness the Dalai Lama
Each year I spend 3 to 4 weeks in the US where I offer many different thangka drawing and painting classes at different venues.
Here’s an overview of the workshops I offered this year in July:
My long thangka painting retreat is held each year in Arco, Trento (Northern Italy). Participants come from many different countries and there are many ways of getting there. We took the slow boat.