Saturday, January 17, 2009

First Thangka: Days 6-11

Last entry I had just started drawing the Buddha's body in outline form. As the mornings are cold and the classrooms not heated, I was sitting outside in the sun, which was great for staying warm, but not so great for getting work done. Everytime one of my classmates took a break from the classroom, they'd wander outside to see what I was doing and spend a few minutes chatting. Once or twice was not an inconvenience, but I soon found I was spending most of my morning chatting instead of drawing. So I took my canvas and went back to my room at the Dragon Guesst House where I worked for three days, producing this:

I went back to school on day 8 and showed this to the teacher, who made a few small corrections and suggested I make just one set of offerings, instead of two. The result was this revised version:

The following day, number 9, I started painting the sky, which is a long and tedious task of applying blue color with lots of water, layering, layering, layering, until you've got a deep blue at the top that fades away as it descends. This is how it looked at the end of the first day (day 9):

By the end of day 10, it looked like this:

And after this morning's session, day 11, it looked like this:

Unfortunately, the camera doesn't capture, even in closeup, the grain of the canvas or the spottiness, or unevenness, of the paint. Perhaps you can't see much difference between day 10 and 11. Frankly, I was at a bit of a loss when I sat down this morning in front of the canvas. I could see the color was uneven, but wasn't sure how to get it smoothed out. So I picked some small parts and started working and soon enough I was all over the canvas, or at least the blue parts of it.

Other students have told me the sky takes anywhere from a couple of days to a week, depending on how fine you care to work the detail. I think for myself to get it looking as smooth as an experienced painter might take a couple of weeks, and even then it wouldn't look as good. So, I imagine at some point early next week I'll have to put aside perfection and move on to the next part of the painting.

Let's see how it goes.



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