my current work I am exploring and creating sacred tantric art for meditation
Currently I am reimaging Tara, the Tibetan female Buddha in pastel, watercolor, monoprints and nihon-ga pigments. My study of thanka drawing and painting began one summer at the Tibet House with contemporary master painter Pema Rizen.To create thanka painting the artist works in a defined grid and the positions, facial features, mudras, and landscape settings are pre-determined by centuries of paintings.
My daily meditation is on Tara. Over the last year I have worked on reimaging Tara as she comes into my mind. In my pastel work she is seated in the “hero/heroine posture” with her right leg extended she is indicating that she is fully active in worldly or earth bound activities. Her left leg is folded in the “posture of meditation”; representing that although Tara is active in the world her mind always remains meditative balance. Tara appears to be both sitting in contemplation yet dancing. This is my pose in life as I believe one has to be fully present, active and at peace. In this series her auras may be multicolor rings or she may hold many lotuses, her companions may be represented as simple circles of color or abstract marks. In my watercolor work Tara is painted in soft colors with multiple arms offering her many gifts. One more traditional piece is a combination of watercolor, pencil, monoprint and gold leaf. In this piece Tara has a gold leaf halo, is surrounded by rainbow aura and floating in a clear blue sky.
The Tara monoprint series abstracts her into energy. I have tried to capture the energy of Tara in bold strokes of color and at times celebrate and honor her with the addition of gold leaf. The colorful dots represent the pixels colors in a rainbow cloud which represents re-birth, the golden sunspots which jump from ones eyelashes represent the golden auras which are bestowed upon us freely if we are open and accepting lastly there are midnight blue and black dots which represent the idea of dark stars, which are the voids, the powerful silence that one strives for in meditation.
In 2007 I spent six weeks in Kyoto and Tokyo studying temple compounds and their gardens/landscapes, Shinto shrines, antique indigo textiles and hand-painted kimonos as well as Nihon-ga paintings both traditional and contemporary.
This trip inspired my most recent exploration of the Japanese painting tradition Nihon-ga, as it has been abstracted and spiritualized by Hiroshi Sengu and Makota Fujimura. This technique attracts me because it combines my love of concocting of textile natural dye-stuffs from my background in designing and producing contemporary “by commission” carpets and applies a similar alchemy to my fine art.
Currently I am working on 64 panels of an abstract story, which I hope to give meaning to my original monoprint and Nihon-ga study of Tantra.
I thank my teachers: Pema Rizan contemporary Thanka artist, Iona Kleinhaut mixed-media monoprint artist and Judith Kruger abstract Nihon-ga artist for guiding me and sharing their wisdom.