We started by putting chunks of animal fat into a pan of water and bringing to a boil. To this was added chalk powder. The chalk makes a nice surface to draw and paint on, the fat binds it to the canvas and makes it a bit heavier and thicker. I don't know what kind of animal fat this was, nor specifically what kind of chalk. I've asked before, but no one seems to know. They just know where to buy it in the market.
This goo was then filtered to remove impurities or lumps.
It was then applied with a piece of cloth to both sides of the canvas. After applying with the cloth, the mixture was then massaged and smoothed into the canvas by hand.
The canvas was left in the sun to dry and a second coat applied. And that pretty much took all afternoon.
Tomorrow, I'll be polishing the canvas.
Having a look at the school calendar today, I noticed that the first day of Losar this year will be the 24th, which overlaps nicely with my trip to Bangkok, for which I depart on the 25. As of today, that means I have 45 days before I have to go to the airport, perhaps enough time to finish this first thangka.