Saturday, January 19, 2008

Where did I go?

It's been a great week for drawing and painting. As I mentioned in a post below, the upper classmen began their 45-day exam last Saturday, which means that we lower classmen are without our regular teacher. It also means we're not being introduced to anything new, just finishing up uncompleted stuff and practicing for our exams.

So I've been holed up in my room this week practicing. I've managed to draw a complete Buddha every morning and do a good bit of painting in the afternoons. One example is here, some fish that I penciled some months ago.

I enjoy working with my classmates, but I have quite honestly been more productive on my own. What has been encouraging is finding myself losing track of time, something that hasn't happened while drawing for nearly 20 years. There has been times at school where time passed quickly, but not this kind of absence of self. I start working and next time I check its three hours later. Absolutely delicious.


Triple shading 2

A couple more examples I finished this week. This stuff is fun because it generally involves less taxing brush work. The fine work causes me to tense up and after a couple of hours my eyes and neck are tired from squinting and clutching.


Thursday, January 17, 2008

India: Animals

Varanasi cow

Kushinagar Vajrayana mutt

Kushinagar Vajrayana mutt

Lumbini chipmunk

Varanasi sleeping dog

Varanasi pups

Kamasutra flies

Monday, January 14, 2008

India: Trees

Tree in a field, shot from the train somewhere between Varanasi and Gaya

Village tree, shot from the train somewhere between Varanasi and Gaya

The bodhi tree, where the Buddha found what he was looking for

Temple tree, Bodhgaya


Foggy tree and reflection, Vashali

Morning trees, Lumbini

Streaming light tree, Lumbini


Sunday, January 13, 2008

Triple shading

This past week at school was quite intense, and also a good bit of fun. While the rest of the class was doing a 2-day trial run of our year-end exam, three of us who started the year late were introduced to a painting technique. Triple shading is so-called, I assume, because of the application of three colors, as you can see in the examples below. This particular style is used most often on temple walls or ritual objects used on altars.

What made this so much fun was the camaraderie, the three of us sitting in a circle, sharing the same paint pots and pacing each other.

From next week the upper-classmen will begin their exam, to complete a full painting with 45 days. As we freshmen are taught by one of these upper classmen, we'll be without a regular teacher for the next month and a half.


Monday, January 7, 2008

Kathmandu never looked so good

I arrived in Boudha last night around 23:00 from my month-long pilgrimage and was never so happy to see Kathmandu - even in the dark, when there wasn't much to see. It looked even better in the early morning light.

It was quite a long and arduous day getting here from Lumbini in southern Nepal. The rickshaw driver I had made arrangements with to pick me up at my hotel didn't show up, so I had to scramble to arrange transport to the bus stop for my 7:15 bus to Kathmandu. The bus left 45 minutes late and then for the next 2 hours stopped every few kilometers to pick up passengers. By the time we got on the road and were actually making progress, we ran into a road block erected by the local villagers to extract compensation from the trucker's association for one of their members having run over one of the village children.

We sat around for five hours waiting for the issue to be resolved and were in the process of leaving our bus to walk across the road block and find another bus to Kathmandu on the other side when the strike ended and traffic began to move again.

We didn't get back into the valley until well after dark and as Kathmandu turns in quite early I was worrying about a place to sleep. (A policeman at a check point we crossed asked why we were returning from Lumbini at such a late hour.) Fortunately I was able to call ahead to my guest house and have them leave a key out.

Unfortunately, my traveling companion from Ireland and I ended up in a taxi with a driver who was either mentally deficient or high. There was no smell of alcohol so it wasn't drink, but he was driving very slowly (thankfully!) and having trouble keeping his car on the pavement. He also trouble had understanding where we wanted to go and quoted us a low price, which led at our destination to a little row over money.

The night watchman was waiting with keys and we both had a very restful night. I was hoping to start back to school today, but am instead tying up a few loose ends with my trip and getting settled for a couple of weeks of intensive weeks of practice before Mutsumi and Yoshimi arrive on the 23rd.

As time permits, I'll post some photos and impression from India, but for the next two weeks I'll be focusing on school.

Please accept my best wishes for a prosperous and healthy year.