January – Snow & Individual Thangka Teachings

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Snow, private thangka teachings & youth courses in the Tropenmuseum


Have a Buddhaful New Year!

My birth place Zwolle in the snow

A photo posted by Carmen Mensink (@carmenmensink) on

January in The Netherlands started out with snow.

The picture above was taken in the place where I was born, Zwolle.
From this year on I’ll be offering thangka classes in this city, and the first weekend course started in the first weekend of the new year.

The subject was: Buddha Shakyamuni with and without the Torana of the 6 Perfections, which is an elaborate aura around the Buddha, filled with gods and (hybrid) animals that stand for the six qualities that you need to perfect in order to make steps on the spiritual path.

Click here to see the artwork of the Buddha with the Aura of the Six Perfections that my students made that weekend.

Six days of private thangka teachings in Amsterdam

I regularly get contacted by people who prefer to come for private thangka teachings instead of joining group classes.
This month I had several people coming to my art studio in Amsterdam.

Angelika flew in from Munich to work with me for a week. She had already come 2 years before to my extended weekend course in Venice, Italy (a place where I teach every October or November), where she already learned to draw an amazing Manjushri.
Now she wanted to take a next step by learning how to paint a thangka out of her drawing.

Manjushri is the Buddha of Wisdom holding a flaming sword in his right hand, that he wields above his hands. This special sword cuts through our ignorance. In his left hand Manjushri holds the stem of a lotus flower that carries the Wisdom Sutra.

I prepared a specific 6 day program for Angelika to reach her goal, that is to learn all the basics of thangka painting to be able to continue at home.
The program included Manjushri meditations in the morning, slide presentations, preparing a thangka canvas and frame, transferring the drawing onto the thangka, the different thangka painting techniques, shading, outlining and gold preparation. We had a wonderful week together.
The last days her husband came over to Amsterdam as well and they enjoyed their time in this beautiful city and visiting the famous museums (Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum).
In the pictures you can see the complete day-to-day process of making a thangka.

Individual Buddhist art workshop in Amsterdam

Laurence and Bart are a couple from Belgium who planned to spend a romantic weekend in the beautiful city I live in.
They arrived on Thursday evening in one of the hotels close to the thangka art studio, so they could start their weekend with a day workshop on how to draw the face of the Buddha. Bart was a bit hesitant at first as he had no drawing experience whatsoever, but Laurence insisted it was good to do this workshop as a couple as to connect on a different level together.

After welcoming the couple on Friday morning with coffee, tea and Dutch apple cake I started the workshop with a short guided meditation, after which I explained through a slide presentation and talk the meanings and background of Tibetan Buddhist thangkas, before they learned how to draw the Buddha. In between the drawing sessions we had a wonderful lunch break and at the end of the day the couple had created amazing Buddhas, as you can see from the pictures. Especially Bart was surprised!

Such a lovely thing to come to a thangka class as a couple!

Teaching kids to draw a Buddha & guide them through ‘The Buddha’ exhibition

How I love teaching art classes to teens!
I’m regularly asked by the Tropen Museum in Amsterdam to offer tibetan workshops and guided tours, both to adults and teenagers.

This month I worked a morning with a wonderful school group from Holland with 11 and 12 year olds. Wonderful young beings that were eager to learn and had a lot of questions to ask.

Each and every kid made a great Buddha drawing, after which I took them into the galleries to have a look at other Buddhas from different traditions and to tell them about the life of buddha during the guided tour.

The exhibition ‘The Buddha’ closed on Jan. 29, 2017.