Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Tibetan trees based on images from Thangkha paintings.

Several months ago, I saw a seaweed paper on Little Augury's blog and was inspired to put together this post. 


      Weeping willow with Peonies.

I confess I am extremely partial to line work. These images are similar, in the sense that they are also mainly line work. I have always had a deep connection to the Himalayas, having spent a great deal of time growing up there. So when I had a request from my client, a young jewelry designer up in Santa Ynez, to introduce her to some Indo-tibetan imagery I was, of course, in complete bliss. Showing her images of black and white Tibetan drawings, she fell in love with the stylized patterns and a journey started for me into a world of symbols, motifs and icons.

Weeping willow with peonies and silver oil strie.

The natural world, as depicted in Thangka paintings, is stylized and follows a rigid code of rules.These paintings are an assemblage of directions both in color and form and are used as teaching aids by monks and have a meditative purpose to help the initiate to visualize a spiritual path. 
Highly stylized Fig trees

 Fig trees 

What struck me most of all was the patterning that, though rigid and exacting, when put together had a lyrical and almost abstract quality. A sophistication of line that illustrates a concept beautifully and simply, these forms have almost an intrinsic modernity about them. I used, or should I say adapted, three particular forms and one singular concept. The fig tree, the weeping willow, and a form of sandalwood.

   Sandal wood with vine.

The concept was the intertwining of the wish fulfilling vine or Kalpavalli. The legend is that this vine is ever blossoming with flowers and buds. The intertwining of this vine with the trees is also an auspicious symbol of the union of male and female, the essence of creation and the life force. It was quite fitting, a new life, a new house, and a young family. It was all about the freshness of life and the joy of creation.