Italy / Arco / June 29-July 8, 2018 / Green Tara & 21 Taras Thangka Painting Retreat

Home > Classes > Upcoming thangka courses > 2018 Thangka Painting Retreat in Italy with subject Green Tara & 21 Taras

A special 10 day Thangka Painting Retreat!

Green Tara & the 21 Taras

Annual drawing and painting retreat in Northern Italy, close to beautiful Verona and the Garda Lake


In this long painting course, you will learn how to draw or paint Buddhas according to the tradition of the Tibetan Buddhist Thangka (scroll paintings). 

An international group of people comes together for this special thangka painting retreat, where you really can go in-depth. the course includes starting with a meditation in the morning and lectures & slides about the iconography and symbolism in Tibetan Buddhism. You will also have time to fully enjoy the beautiful surroundings of this place and their delicious Italian cuisine (vegetarian). The vegetables are produced organically on the compound.
Halfway during the retreat there will be an afternoon off so you can taste the best ice cream in the nearest village of Arco, visit the Garda lake, hike in the mountains or have a great walk to ‘Castello’, the medieval castle on top of the hill overlooking Arco.

Green Tara & the 21 Taras
The fearless, female Buddha of Active Compassion 

In this long thangka course you will learn to draw and/or paint Green Tara according to the Tibetan thangka tradition.

This retreat is suitable for beginners, half-experienced and experienced students:

• Beginners and half-experienced will learn to draw Green Tara, as well as color or paint her after that. Total beginners will start learning how to draw a Buddha face (always the basis), before moving on to Green Tara. After the drawing you can choose to color her and learn the color pencil techniques (advisable for total beginners and people who want to return home with a finished artwork), or make a start to paint her with the thangka painting techniques.

• More experienced students can choose to draw Green Tara and the 21 Taras in this retreat (and hopefully make a start coloring or painting it).
If you have drawn a Green Tara at Carmen’s classes before you can choose to transfer the drawing onto a canvas and start painting her. If you choose The 21 Taras as subject please contact Carmen before the retreat, so she can prepare this for you.

• This retreat can also be used to continue/finish other thangka artwork that you’ve been working on. Of course you will receive the grids of the subject of this retreat, to start in the future.

Besides the drawing/painting sessions in this course you will learn through lectures & slideshows all about Green Tara and her symbolism, her mantra and meaning, as well as practicing her meditations.

Manifestation of Active Compassion
Green Tara is the most famous female Buddha in the Tibetan Buddhist pantheon. She is also known as ‘Mother of all Buddhas’ and is seen as the female manifestation of Active Compassion.

Tara’s right foot stretched out so that she can come to the help of others when needed, immediately. There are numerous stories of people who were rescued in times of need, and were freed from their fears after they called upon Green Tara and/or recited her mantra.

Tara is often seen as one of the first emancipated woman as well.
The story goes that as a young girl she was very devoted to the dharma and the Buddha. She recited prayers for many hours each day and offered extensive offerings to the Buddhas.
But when other -male- practitioners saw her enormous capacity they told her that all these prayers, mantras and offerings were completely useless, unless she would pray to be reborn in a male body in her next incarnation, as they said that only in a male body it was possible to reach enlightenment.
But green Tara had the deep insight that”male” and “female” are nothing more than labels that we put on things, and therefore -to show them that this wasn’t true- she took the following strong vow: ‘Until Samsara is empty, I will work for the benefit of all sentient things in a woman’s body.’ This is exactly what she did and she became one of the first women to reach enlightenment (the highest state of consciousness).

Green Tara has become a great role model for both women and men.

You don’t need any drawing or painting experience.
Carmen offers a lot of individual guidance, at your own level.

English and Italian
The teachings are given in English, and when there are a lot of Italians they will also be translated in Italian by one of the advanced Italian students.

Advantages of a long thangka retreat:

  • In this 10-day painting course you can really go in-depth
  • Including all nights and delicious Italian meals, with organic vegetables from own compound, freshly prepared every day with love
  • Meet students from different countries and make new friends
  • The course is set in Kushi Ling, the most beautiful Buddhist Centre of Italy, amidst the mountains and olive trees
  • You can fly cheaply to Verona or Milan
  • Great possibility to combine this retreat with vacation in Italy (e.g. to Lake Garda and Verona that are nearby)

Want to travel together with other participants?
From Amsterdam a few people travel with Transavia to Verona in the early morning, you are welcome to join.
It’s also possible to meet up in Veronato travel the last part to Kushi Ling together (with public transport/taxi). If you want to join please contact Carmen about it.


mandala-workshops“When I knew about the five elements mandala course I thought it would be an interesting and beautiful way of develop my knowledge about this subject.

My personal intention was to achieve more clearness in my mind.
I saw the mandala as a mirror of my own energy.
I feel this work as a very complete and clear meditation where we can observe the mind, the sight (seeing) and our hand (as expression). And the connection between them.

My experience show me that although the constantly waves of my mind (by them I couldn’t believe I could do just a complex and beautiful work), the mandala was growing surprising beautiful. And, in between,  I knew a lot of more things about me. I should be very proud!

Also I feel grateful to spend 9 days in Kushi Ling, this peaceful place between the mountains. With a great company of the group and with the guidance and wisdom of Carmen.

It was a very good experience, that I recommend very much.”

Maria José Moura, Porto, Portugal
Annual Thangka Painting Retreat in Italy

To read more testimonials and see artwork of thangka students, go to the Testimonial & Artwork page


More Info & Registration

Friday June 29: you can arrive at your own pace during the day. In the evening we start at 19.00hr / 7pm with a welcome dinner for all the participants.
Sunday July 8: the course ends after lunch (around 14.00hr / 2pm).
Materials to bring
You can choose if you want to draw & color (advised for beginner students) or paint (advised for advanced students):

To draw (advised for beginner students):

  • a minimum of 2 sheets of good quality drawing paper 50x65cm (or a larger paper if you choose the 21 Taras as subject)
  • a long ruler (for ex. 50cm)
  • a pencil HB (or mechanical pencil if you like)
  • an eraser
  • colored pencils of a good brand (such as Prismacolor Premier, Caran d’Ache Luminance or Faber Castell Polychromos)

To paint (for more advanced students):

  • the drawing materials above
  • in addition to that the everything you need for painting, as stated in the List-of-Art-Materials

If you still have any questions regarding the course that you cannot find here, you can contact Carmen

The course price is €250 + 9 nights of lodging & all meals, and depending on the room type this will be between €34 and €68 per day (including three great meals a day, coffee, tea, biscuits and fruit): Check here Kushi Ling’s Lodging & Food prices for 2018

You can make most out of a full retreat, but if you are unable to come for 10 days we can make an exception and you can come for half the retreat, where you will only be able to draw Green Tara (no time for painting).
– From Friday 29 June dinner time at 7pm till Tuesday 4 July till lunch time, or
– From Wednesday 5 July dinner time at 7pm till Sunday 8 July till lunch time, or
Half course price €150 + 4 nights of food & lodging (see prices above)

Center for Meditation Kushi-Ling, Arco (TN)
Alle Fontane, Laghel 19,
CP 118, I-38062,
Arco/Lago di Garda (TN)


How to get there?

Carmen will take option B, and you can join her (see below)

There are many different ways to get to Kushi Ling:
Kushi Ling is a gorgeous retreat center in between mountains and surrounded by olive trees. It’s about 15min. by car to the nearest village, the beautiful place of Arco.

The nearest airport is Verona, but you can also fly to Milan.
The trip to Kushi Ling offers great views and pittoresque villages, especially when traveling along the Garda Lake.
The following travel options are from Verona Airport, but you can use parts of it when coming from Milan or other directions:

A) Via Verona by bus & train
> Verona is a beautiful city (the city of Romeo & Juliet!) and well worth a stay. In the summer the famous open air operas are held in the historical city centre.
– Take the Aerobus (every 20min, in front of Verona Airport) to Verona Station (Verona Porta Nuova), price is €6
– Next take the train from Verona to Rovereto. The ‘treno regionale’ is the cheapest (around €7) and takes 50min. (don’t forget to stamp the ticket before you get onto the train).
– From Rovereto take a taxi to Kushi Ling
Take bus 332 or 301 to Arco (Autostazione) and take a taxi (or share with others) for the last part to Kushi Ling (max. €15). If you cannot find a taxi in Arco you can call Antonella: +39-333 5963033 or +39-0464 518983 or a different taxi service: +39-0464 – 514520.
Optional: You can also walk the last part from Arco but it’s steep/uphill -it’s a great walk but might not be handy with luggage- which will take about one hour.

The taxi drivers most probably know Centro di Meditazione Kushi Ling. If not, let him/her read this:
Dal centro cittá prendere la strada (a destra) verso Laghel. Arrivati alla chiesa Santa Maria di Laghel si prende la salita a sinistra e si segue tutta la strada (circa 3 km) fino alle Fontane: è l’ultima casa.

B) By boat over the Garda Lake (recommended!)
> The Garda Lake is one of Italy’s most popular places to visit, and great to combine as vacation with this thangka painting retreat. ‘Lago di Garda’ offers great views, mountains, and small villages full of colorful houses.

– From Verona Airport take a taxi or bus 164 (in front of the airport) to Peschiera del Garda. The bus goes once an hour.
Peschiera is a lovely village at the bottom of the Garda Lake and from there you can take the once-a-day slow boat (4hr, only €16) to Riva del Garda, which is all the way to the top of the lake. The trip is a vacation in itself, with amazing views and short stops at pittoresque villages.
Optional: take the boat from Garda (some stops further on the bus) to Riva del Garda
– From Riva (del Garda) take a bus to Arco (read further at A) or take/share a taxi (around €25) to Kushi Ling.

C) By bus along the Garda Lake
– From Verona Airport take bus 164 (in front of the airport, every hour) to Garda (lovely village along the lake)
– From Garda take bus No.184 to Riva del Garda (another lovely village at the top of the lake)
– From Riva del Garda take a bus to Arco (see A) or taxi to Kushi Ling (see B)

D) By taxi
From Verona Airport you can book a taxi to Kushi Ling (that you could share with other thangka students). It takes about 1,5hr. to get there.

E) Rent a car
Especially handy when you want to combine the thangka painting course with vacation in Italy.

If you need help with your planning or want to travel together with other participants you can contact Carmen.
When all participants leave after the thangka painting course, you can probably travel back with others or get a ride to a train or bus station.

Please register with Kushi Ling a.s.a.p. to avoid disappointment (as the course may be full or the rooms of your desire may be taken).

Please register in different ways by using the form below:


See you in Italy!