Sunday, June 28, 2009

Progress and the Process: Adding Detail

This Prajnaparamita is almost finished. I am about halfway through adding fine details to the completely colored painting. Once this stage is completed, the work is either finished, or ready to undergo glazing. The hexagonal Buddha, completed earlier in this blog, had no final glazing at all. I have some glazing planned for Prajnaparamita, not for her actually, but for the water part of the painting and the reflections. Hoping to finish her up for the First Friday Art Walk here at 910arts.

Progress and the Process: Adding Color

The Wheel of life has come a long way since my original post when it was still a drawing on canvas. I finished the underpainting and adding fine detail (this was also a projected drawing- direct transfer is impossible with such large canvases, a drawing that large would certainly move around during transfer). I have also started to add the color to this piece. I am partially through the second layer of paint. During this stage the tone of the painting is set. Unless extensive glazing is planned, not a lot changes too much after this stage, only the addition of fine detail.

Progress and the Process: Underpainting

I want to outline the process that I use to create these Buddhas, and also update the progress that I have made on different pieces while I do this. I am going to begin with the painting process, maybe someday I will photograph the drawing process that happens before I ever paint anything. I start with a drawing that utilizes the traditional Tibetan proportions for creating Buddhas. It is important to stay within these proportions because this ensures that Buddha always appears the same over time and anyone can look at Buddha and recognize him.

To begin the painting I tint the canvas with a light coat of oil paint, usually I use the color of the Buddha so that I can relate all other colors in the painting to this shade. I transfer the drawing to the tinted canvas either by direct transfer or projecting onto canvas and redoing the drawing over the projection. Both methods have their advantages and disadvantages, perhaps I will elaborate on this another day. Then I fix the charcoal drawing to the canvas by painting a light coat of paint over the charcoal drawing, usually burnt umber. At this stage a lot of the detail is added. I often leave the work at this stage for a while, with the underpainting complete, because many changes can be made at this point. It is more difficult to make major changes to the piece later on.

This is the very beginning of a painting of Vajrayogini. I am in the middle of painting over the charcoal drawing and adding the fine detail. This drawing was projected on to the canvas, not transferred directly. Drawings that are transferred directly retain much more original detail.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Monday, June 22, 2009


So my 83 year old grandmother had the plague and I was with her in the hospital in Santa Fe all week last week, not painting at all. But, I have been going at it like a champ since I returned to Denver.

I am grateful to Amitayus, the Buddha of long life, for protecting her so well.

Yesterday I drank coffee that I stuck a dirty paintbrush in. Yummy.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Wheel of Life

This is mostly still a charcoal drawing on a tinted canvas, not even the paint outline is complete yet.

I took my picture with the painting just to show scale. Definitely the largest thing I have ever done.

Amitaba, the Buddha of Infinite Light (in progress)

Medicine Buddha in stupa

not even a full layer of paint yet

Prajnaparamita, the female wisdom Buddha

the beginning stages of Prajnaparamita