Saturday, November 24, 2007

Measurement classes

Thangka are drawn before they're painted, and as you might expect of a traditional art painters follow certain conventions and standards. One of these is an exacting system of measurement, intended to ensure that figures are drawn in proper proportion.

At Tsering our education begins by learning to draw freehand, the idea being that if you can learn to draw freehand, drawing within a system of grids should be easier than working in the other direction, which may produce and overdependence on the grids. Personally, I think either direction will work, depending on your learning style.

In any case, this past week the first year students had their yearly measurement classes. It was quite a fun week for me. Typically we work individually on our own drawings and school policy is to maintain silence in the classroom, but this past week we all worked together on the same project, our teacher Kelsang (shown here) gave us a bit of lecture, and we had a chance to joke and fool around a little more than usual. Be we also had to work hard and I found this week's drawing more intense for having to complete the work to keep up with my classmates. I spent more time hunched over my desk, as it were, and as a result suffered some terrible back pain. This is in spite of doing yoga every morning for the last three months, plus doing special stretching exercises for the back.

As you can see from the photos, we covered only the Buddha's face, head, and body. I think that's all we cover for the first year. So you can see that rather than ripping through a half dozen or more deities, the emphasis is on completely mastery.

We finished the week with a school outing, about which I'll be posting more later this weekend.



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