I took a trip to the mountains. The purpose of the trip, to reconnect with the land, barefoot dancing in the forest river valley, flanked by majestic British Columbian mountains, mending and realigning, and rejoicing with sacred kin. This is a place where I can reset, and enter a new beginning following a recent art exploration in Maui. What comes next? Perhaps Katmandu to work with a 17th incarnate Thnagka painter, Tibetan Romio Bahadur Shrestha. I recently asked Romio if I can work with him, he has accepted my request and now I must do a fundraiser to get myself to Katmandu. I have never been, and to be honest I have no idea what to expect, all I know is I must prepare myself for anything. I am both, super excited and a bit nervous, all good feelings, and my curiosity just keeps rising. Romio comes from a Newar family in Katmandu in Nepal. At five years of age, two Tibetan Buddhist met with Romio and explained he was the seventeenth reincarnation of the master Tibetan Thangka painter Arniko (from the website, see link below). I met Romio on the Big Island, Hawaii, at a festival/conference, he appeared to walk on air, always smiling and at the conference he had several Thangkas set up, they were big and bold, the imagery, depicting Buddhist deity, mandalas or scenes. From his website, “Romio Shrestha is a modern master of the Indo-Nepali-Tibetan Buddhist traditions of enlightenment art.” Romio founded a school in Nepal, to insure the Thangka tradition would carry on, serving as a powerful teaching tool for the Dharma and Buddhist tradition. He is thought to be somewhat controversial because he has been openly sharing paintings that were rarely seen by those foreign to the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. It seems that today, more than ever, it is important to share these images so to pass on the teachings to anyone who wants to learn. The concept of original Artistic intent is difficult to apply to Tibetan thangkas. I pulled this definition of Thangkas from http://www.buddhanet.net/thangkas.htm, “Thangkas are composite objects produced by painters and tailors with differing intents, skills and training. Iconographic specifications, regional and doctrinal differences in style, changes in form from harsh treatment and altered mountings all complicate the issue.” If you want to learn more about Romio go to http://romioshrestha.com/ where you can see his work, it is truly amazing. I have also attached a rendering I made of the White Tara, though I did also add green, which is important to note as the white and green have different meanings. White signifies compassion, peacefulness, while a particular green shade indicates effective activity. I used both because I see white indicative of sitting meditation and contemplation, while green as enacting the lessons learned from sitting meditation, and bringing them into every aspect of your life, in action. So without further adieu, always follow your dreams, put it out there, I simply sent Romio an email, I said I’d like to work with him, he responded immediately and the ball is now in motion.
Mahalonessmountainexpedition and the modern white Tara painting made by me.