Overview of Thangka Workshops, Courses, Retreats, Lectures & other events
TRANSLATIONS ARE PROVIDED ON REQUEST FOR THE COURSES THAT ARE OFFERED IN HOLLAND (AND SPOKEN IN DUTCH)
“I’m still carrying the good energy from the weekend. Thank you! Also still amazed at the steps that were layed out for me to receive that energy and be surrounded by all of you. I am truly blessed!”
Thank you for the inspiration!
“Always enjoy my time with you when you are in NY!! I am going to replace my desk with a drafting table, so I can continue with my work. Thank you for the inspiration! I look forward to seeing you next year and each year after whether it’s in NY or another country.”
Trudi de Kok
Ik bezoek nu al ruim zeven jaar workshops bij Carmen, en ben nog lang niet uitgeleerd. Hoe meer je je in deze materie verdiept, des te fascinerender deze wordt. Thangkatekenen is een bijzondere en geweldige hobby, en Carmen is een fantastische docent, gedreven, maar ook heel helder in haar uitleg en inspirerend qua begeleiding. Een aanrader!!!!!!
Interesting and informative trainings and lectures for our educators
“I am thankful to have been working with Carmen since I started at the Rubin Museum in 2011. We are happy to welcome her each year when she travels to New York. She has led interesting and informative trainings and lectures for our educators, as well as thangka painting classes, and demonstrations for our annual Block Party.
One of our favorite sessions was her training on Mandalas, which provided clarity to a very complicated subject. She patiently explored the artwork and symbolism in an engaging and accessible manner. It is interesting to learn about the art and materials from her perspective as an artist and thangka painter.
In my role of scheduling, and overseeing trainings for our educators, working with her has been delightful. She has been flexible and adaptable with a variety of subjects and adjusted her trainings accordingly.
She is deeply connected to her work and her passion is evident in the quality and vibrancy of her lectures.
We hope to schedule another session next time she is in New York, and we would love to have her back for another talk at the Rubin Museum.”
One of the greatest experiences I have ever had
It was my first time attending Carmen’s Thangka painting retreat and it turned out to be one of the greatest experiences I have ever had. Carmen was able to attend to individual’s needs although it was a big class of participants with mixed experiences. I also loved it that Carmen not only taught us how to do Thangka painting, she made sure that we understood the symbolism of the deities that we were painting through the daily morning meditation and evening lectures. She also made special efforts to introduce Sri Lankan Buddhism art history to us to prepare us for our tour after the painting retreat. It was a great 10 days with an inspiring teacher, great company, wonderful accommodation at a meditation centre with delicious meals. Can’t ask for more!
Gave me the confidence to improve my drawing skills
So far I did several courses with Carmen Mensink. I am impressed about her devotion to buddism and her profound knowledge about it. All courses start with a teaching and meditation. It helped me to deepen my knowledge and gave me the confidence to improve my drawing skills. I appreciate her kindness and patience. I am struggling a lot drawing eyes, but during the last course, Chenrezig, it went much better and I am proud of the eyes. Thank you Carmen.
So much more than ‘just’ an art class
“I had the extreme pleasure of taking three classes with Carmen Mensink this spring in NYC. I am the veteran of many fine art classes over the years, but this is the first time that I have felt compelled to write a testimonial about one. From the minute I met her, I knew Carmen was a woman from whom I could learn something truly special and different, which is not something I say lightly. I am not easily impressed. 🙂 After taking her amulet making class, I was sufficiently curious to see what else she had on offer, and after just one lecture, I could tell that my ability to learn from her was virtually unlimited.
Carmen’s classes are so much more than “just” an art class. Her knowledge, love and reverence for the highly-symbolic, traditional Tibetan devotional art called thangka is apparent in everything she does. Along with high-level, professional instruction in traditional drawing, painting and crafting methods, students learn about the history and cultural background of the deity they are depicting, including the mantras, prayers and attributes attributed to these religious figures. Rather than creating these images in a vacuum, our work is grounded in an understanding of their significance within Tibetan Buddhism. Carmen creates a spiritual space to work in that can only be described as magical. The meditative nature of art is a focus, as is the thought that creation be rooted in intention. The art produced in such an environment feels sacred.
The amount of effort, preparation, skill and planning involved in this approach to instruction is apparent, and it’s clear that teaching is an avocation for Carmen. It is done thoughtfully, with spirit, purpose and a sincerity that stands out.
No matter the level of skill and experience a student has, everyone is made to feel welcome and special, and is treated with complete respect. At the same time, Carmen is warm, friendly, unpretentious (despite having real bona fides as a recognized expert in her field) and intelligent, and has a sense of humor, so the class is relaxed and fun. Carmen has many students who have studied with her for years, and some have artwork that they only work on while she is visiting the city. It’s a testament to the value of Carmen’s presence and technical expertise that she has such a strong following.”
Teacher with a lot of patience and devotion
I started drawing Vasudhara, Buddhist bodhisattva of wealth, prosperity, and abundance in November 2019 during a retreat at the Maitreya Institute in Loenen, the Netherlands. In February 2020 I did the Retreat at the Paramita Meditation Center in Sri Lanka and a 4 days round tour trip. The Paramita Meditation Center is the perfect place for meditation and Thangka Painting, a very quiet place with a beautiful garden and wonderful people. I started coloring my Vasudhara during this retreat. Carmen had made a perfect schedule with meditations, enough time to draw/ color and lectures. Her knowledge and devotion is outstanding. She is having a lot of patience and a teacher with a deep devotion of the topic. She provided me a lot of help to make a very nice drawing. I am very proud and happy that I decided to do this retreat. Next to it, the round tour trip was perfectly organised and Sri Lanka is such a beautiful country. If you love Buddhism and Buddhas that is the play to go. It was a wonderful time and perfect retreat. Thank you so much Carmen, I am a blessed person.
Werkelijk een superweekend!
Vrijdagmiddag 24 januari 2020 op weg naar Den Haag voor de workshop het boeddha gezicht. Best wel spannend want ik heb alleen ervaring
met mandala tekenen. Gelukkig stelde Carmen mij gelijk op mijn gemak dat het goed zou komen. En aan het resultaat te zien is dat goed gelukt. Daarna op zaterdag en zondag de boeddha Chenrezig workshop. Beginnen de dag met een uitgebreide meditatie en daarna heerlijk tekenen in een ontspannen maar zeer geconcentreerde sfeer. Tussendoor nog uitleg met diapresentatie en tussendoor genoeg begeleiding met het tekenen. Werkelijk een superweekend waarin ik veel kennis heb opgedaan en een prachtige tekening heb opgezet. Zeker voor herhaling vatbaar!
Extremely patient teacher
One specific thing that I love about learning Thangka from Carmen, is that she introduce the practice of every deities that we are going to paint in detail, making it easier to connect with the object and understand the teaching of the deities and the Buddhas before drawing the Buddha, overall, it’s meditative experience, and Carmen is a extremely patient teacher. I am so glad I found her and learning this wonderful art from her.
I came without any previous drawing experience
I came without any previous drawing experience, but everything was extremely well explained. I was happily surprised with the outcome of my artwork. Carmen was a very patient teacher who also gave us a lot of interesting philosophy on Thangka art. I have definitely learned a lot during her workshop and really enjoyed going home with my first self made piece of art.
You learn so much
Each class with Carmen is a blessing. She is a patient and kind teacher. You learn so much about not only drawing techniques, but about the greater philosophy and peace which comes from Buddhist practice. The most powerful moment is seeing how each person began with the same instructions and how the results are so different becoming infused with the individual’s spirit.
Surpassed my expectations
I loved that the course was very well rounded with information about the medicine Buddha and all the extra things. It gave me a wonderful sense of being closer to the sacred aspect of drawing a Buddha.
I especially loved that I had a guided meditation to begin every drawing session…what a true blessing!
This course surpassed my expectations and I have recommended it to several friends.
Peggy Sue McRae
A whole month to access the material
I thought the videos were beautifully made, visually appealing and clear to follow and learn from.
I appreciated how different aspects of the course, art process, history and culture, understanding and use of the mantra, and the guided meditation all supported each other.
My expectation was to create a drawing and that expectation was met. The guided meditation was an unexpected treasure.
I was glad we had a whole month to access the material.
As a single person living by myself out in the woods under quarantine I consistently under estimated how much I would be interrupted. Even worse when outside interruptions stopped I would manage to interrupt myself!
Creating blocks of time to be in retreat mode was a challenge but very rewarding when I managed to do it.
A challenging topic assimilated for modern Western mind
Carmen is well experienced and supportive teacher who has ability to explain things with clarity and involvement. The course consists of few balanced parts, each part jows from the previous one and it’s composed in balanced way with beautiful simplicity and saving depth of traditional knowledge.
It makes challenging topic of painting Tibetan thankas easy to assimilate for modern Western mind.
CARMEN, THANK YOU SO MUCH
I didn’t think I could draw a full Buddha. It was a great experience
The course felt thorough. Carmen is adept at instruction and encouragement!
I loved learning about the mantra. I learned a lot in my one-on-one Zoom session.
I didn’t think I could draw a full Buddha. It was a great experience. I learned a lot about thangka methods, working with pencil, and colors. In addition, learned about the Medicine Buddha and his mantra, plants, symbolism.
Thank you Carmen!
Carmen did a good job with transitioning the course on-line
I expected the course to be similar to the White Tara course I took previously. I think Carmen did a good job with transitioning the course on-line. I enjoyed the lecture information along with the drawing instructions and mediations.
The breakdown of the drawing sessions were quite useful. I would say though the information in the lecture and private Zoom session were most valuable for the understanding drawing and the Medicine Buddha.
Thank you again Carmen for offering the course on-line. I enjoyed this class and would love to take another class with you.
Anna De Schutter
I knew it would be great again!
I loved doing this course. I knew it would be great again!
I knew more or less what to expect and the course was again very well structured.
I very much appreciated the mantra and the singing, it took me into another state of mind, so it was easier for me to focus.
I enjoyed this course a lot!
I enjoyed this course a lot! I have been wanting to learn Thangka since 1 year ago, and was hesitate to draw the face of Buddha following the pictures I found online. I’m so grateful that I waited for a year and this is exactly the course I am looking for.
It is very helpful to do the meditation before the class, because I got too excited about the class and my mind is so full that the meditation helped to calm me down and to set the right motivation.
A good balance of instruction and practice
The course had a good flow and a good balance of instruction and practice
Very helpful to replay the videos
The First time I ever saw a Tibetan Thangka, I immediately wanted to learn more about it. My expectations were met with this course because it was much harder than I thought it would be, it was such a fun challenge to draw a balanced face using the grid system.
I did like the combination of the different elements in this course. I really liked them and wasn’t expecting the mediations or the Tibetan mantras.
The lectures were very informative without being too much information at once. Good bite-size chinks of information. Then I was happily lost in time as I drew.
It was very helpful that I could replay the videos to see and hear the instructions multiple times so I could follow along and not feel lost or left behind. I could really find my own pace.
I am not a painter but the Buddha came out very much alive and beautiful
I just wanted to explore buddhism spirituality by learning to painting buddhism art. And in reality this is the second drawing I have done apart from my cat, so with this I just want to say that I am not a painter but the Buddha Carmen teach us how to draw came out very much alive and beautiful. And I am deeply thankful to Carmen for offering this class online.
Albel Sarmiento Cobo
Love every step!
Love every step, very clear the way make it to learn thangka!
In depth course like I would receive if I were there in person
I enjoy the combination of all the different elements. I feel that it is a rather detailed and in depth course like I would receive if I were there in person.
I actually found the meditating the most useful to me. I suffer from anxiety and noticed that I was calmer after every session. I was also interested in the background of Tibetan medicine. So much so, that I even ordered a few books on the subject.
I walk alongside Carmen for realize my dream of painting a thangka
It’s a chance to be able to participate in online courses with carmen! I can only move very little because my job and my family are involved. My family knows the importance for me to continue to walk alongside Carmen for realize my dream of painting a thangka one day. The carmen lessons are of an excellent level.
I hope to be able to continue. I will finish the color to my buddha of medicine and then I hope to be able to make tara!!
Also the guided meditations and historical explanations were so valuable. For me everything is designed to bring us gently towards the realization of our work and in understanding what each gesture means. It is ideal.
Liked the special zoom session to understand the colouring techniques
This session was structured very well to understand the iconography and how to draw the full Buddha body. I really enjoyed the transformation of grid to the full body figure as we go on the course step by step.
I reall liked the way Carmen explained drawing feet and hands in this course.
I also liked the special zoom session she took to help me understand the colouring techniques.
Opportunity to do this with such an excellent teacher, in a way that I could afford
I was so happy to find this course and this teacher especially at this moment. This is something I’ve wanted to study for most of my life. To have the opportunity to do this with such an excellent teacher, in a way that I could afford, and not have to travel made it all possible. I am currently unemployed and so the finances are difficult but this was a reasonable cost, so I am grateful.
I loved learning the history and the context and the symbolism, and how to meditate with the thangka. I loved seeing other’s creations.
Very well structured
I liked very much the path and combination of lectures, meditations and sessions. I have been interested in taking this kind of course for a long time and found it very well structured.
Yvonne van Vliet
You have to experience it yourself!
I really enjoy the courses of Carmen. Can’t describe how peaceful and fulfilling it is, you have to experience it yourself!
Heel fijne en inspirerende workshop
Een heel fijne en inspirerende workshop. Ook heel fijne goed begeleide meditaties, Carmen legde alles heel rustig en duidelijk uit. De documentaties en films/ documentaires waren heel interessant en goed gekozen.
We kregen heerlijk te eten en hadden een fijne eigen kamer.
Made some nice drawings which I am very proud of
It was great to participate in the workshop thanka painting with Carmen Mensink.
I made some nice drawings which I am very proud of.
Thanks Carmen for your loving kindness, and clear instructions.
Met dank aan Carmen voor haar passie en ervaring
Met dank aan Carmen voor haar passie en ervaring om mij en de andere deelnemers (fijne groep vrouwen!) Thangka’s en Boeddha’s te leren tekenen. Het programma zat goed in elkaar en de meditaties voorafgaand aan het tekenen inspireerden om in stilte te werken. Deze dagen heb ik ervaren als een heerlijke kers op mijn vakantie-taart. Namasté Carmen!
A perfect location
Wonderful experience to be with Carmen’s teachings, meditations, her careful loving attention. Besides the delicious meals, nice group and wonderful circumstances. Thanks!
Pleasantly surprised – I’m glad that I got to participate
I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised. I liked how the art lessons were broken down so that I didn’t feel overwhelmed. I also enjoyed learning about the history of the Thangka, and participating in the meditations. I feel that it was an all around great course, and I’m glad that I got to participate.
I feel that the drawing video was the most useful to me. I liked how the individual lines were shown step by step on the video.
Yong Shou Ying
I never imagine I could draw a Buddha
I came with an open mind and did not have any expectation. I just want to learn some thing new and enjoy the process. I started with meditation before I drew the gridlines and Buddha face in pencil. It helped to keep my mood calm and balance. I never imagine I could draw a Buddha and it is close to symmetrical. I enjoy the process and it freed my mind and I am totally immersed in drawing. Every little step completed is a triumph for me and some times I would admire it before I progress the next step. The lectures give me insight and understanding in the art and buddhist tradition. The videos in showing how to draw were really good as gives me a good guide to follow.
I wish this tradition continues to flourish and more get to appreciate the tradition and this course.
It is so helpful especially in such time where technology is overwhelming and simple things can be taken for granted. Thank you for having this online course!
I knew this course would be awesome, however you far exceeded that expectation
I had a little peek at your free medicine buddha lecture.. So in my heart i knew this course would be awesome.. However you far exceeded that expectation..
i love the combination of story meditation, pictures, and bonus materials.. and yay i get to sing the mantra with you…
loved your approach beginning with meditation, your through explanations of words meanings, and story.. and wow even you can pray in tibetan language. the language is art in itself, the art,language, prayer, meditation, story, all In one.. so beautiful yet you are bringing this to a wider audience. Our world needs so much healing.. big gratitude for your heart…
beautifully done…hope to see more courses in the future, I’m already signed up for medicine buddha thangka course so excited…
Like taking a class with you in person!
I wanted to learn about the symbolism and iconography behind the Medicine Buddha and of course the proper proportions. I think it was very apt to have a course on him at this time considering the global pandemic. The class was perfect! It met all my expectations.
I really enjoyed how it was broken up into different modules. It was almost like taking a class with you in person! Your calm demeanor and positive energy even came through in the videos!
Hints and tips of how to actually do it
I thoroughly enjoyed the course and find the Buddhist teaching element and spirituality excellent. My aspirations were simply to be able to draw a presentable Medicine Buddha in the first instance and I’m happy I achieved that.
The guided drawing in stages with hints and tips of how to actually do it and in what order have been invaluable. Its possible to go out and buy a book but without this clear instruction, guidance and indeed lineage working from a book is very impersonal and open to interpretation.
I feel Carmen struck a great balance and this online course has great artistic and authenticity value.
Far exceeding my expectations!
I loved the depth of this course: intention meditation, mantras, learning about the history of Thangka and Tibetan medicine, the meaning of symbolism, dedication meditation… I didn’t just learn how to draw the Medicine Buddha, but have gained a rich spiritual practice. Your course was amazing, far exceeding my expectations!
It was such a special time for me!
The course exceeded my expectations. So much information on the history and detailed instruction that I really enjoyed, especially for drawing the hands and feet, I so appreciated it. The mantra recitation was really beautiful!
I absolutely love the Meditations and the sacredness with which you handle and deliver the course material, Carmen! I loved every aspect of the course and it was such a blessing to be able to go over material I needed to review again and again!
Also, the fact that you offered the course online was so helpful since with the pandemic no onsite courses were available! Still miss the interaction with you in person and with the other students but I am so grateful I could immerse myself in drawing sacred art! It was such a special time for me!
Not just a “drawing”course
I really enjoyed the course and the focus on Buddhist traditions particularly as they relate to thangkas, methods and lineage. Its not just a “drawing”course but an education on the buddhist path to enlightenment through traditional thangka art.
The online medium worked really well
Really enjoyed this class.
I thought the online medium worked really well, as i travel alot its hard to get away at a certain time to do the onsite instructions, so i am glad i can continue learning from you Carmen.
Well structured and detailed explanations available for each step
My expectations going into the course where to get more in touch with the aspects of buddhism regarding the drawing of the Buddha.
I was surprised on how well structured and detailed explanations were available for each step.
The history before the drawing classes i believe add so much value because it brings the attention of the importance and significance of this tradition. On top of that, meditation was key to focus and be able to concentrate on the class.
Being able to look back several times to the Iconography and the Colours
I already followed an onsite course of drawing the Buddha Face in Den Haag.
But now I had more time and being able to look back several times to the Iconography and the Colours was one of the aspects I really appreciated.
Thought process and methods behind Buddhist art
Although I am familiar with Buddhist thought, Buddhist art has always felt a bit cryptic and foreign to me. I was extremely happy to find this workshop where I got a first glimpse of the thought process and methods behind Buddhist art.
The pairing of lecture and drawing was very helpful as it explained that historically the drawings had a practical purpose and that every element has meaning, it is not just a drawing for decoration.
I was very happy with every part of the workshop. Along with her expertise Carmen brought great energy to the class.