Thursday, January 8, 2009

First Thangka: Days 3 & 4

Day 3 was spent polishing the canvas, working out the rough spots and filling in the holes. When the cloth is stretched tightly tiny pin holes may appear, and by moistening the canvas with a damp cloth, the holes can be filled by pushing some of the wet binding into the holes. You can see Thakpa here checking the canvas for any remaining holes. Together we would work the canvas on one side, then let it dry in the sun before working the other side, back and forth six to eight times.

Today, Day 4, Sonam showed me how to find and mark the canvas' center point, then draw in the center line and the outside frame. After that, it was time to start drawing. The teacher roughed out a figure to give me a handle on proportion, and off I went.

According to tradition, when students start and finish their first thangka, they are to make small offerings to their classmates, so tomorrow I'm springing for a small tea party. Tune in tomorrow for photos.



  1. Forgive my ignorance, but why does Buddha have boobs? Or is that Tara?

  2. That is Shakyamuni - with pectorals. Check out any thangka of this subject and you'll find the same. What may seem confusing is that this photos shows me working on an outline of the body sans robes. Those will be - have already been, in fact - added.

  3. Hi, Did the canvas loosen off at all after the gesso had dried, and if so did you tighten it off again? I am making a thankga at the moment, but it seems to have loosened!

  4. I don't rightly remember, and I haven't had any experience since. You might want to write to someone with more experience. Here are some people I know who might be able to help: