Achievements on a different path
It took me over a year to bounce back. Luckily I had help, both from family and friends, as well from professionals.
I have always been out of sync with society and its perception of what is ‘normal': I had a somewhat deviant view on career, politics, society and wealth; add Buddhism and my stance on animal rights in this mix and it’s clear I had it coming.
My mental make-up doesn’t make it easier as well: highly intelligent, highly creative and if you want to have your kitchen installed: “I can handle that”!
These talents are not uncommon on their own, but I learned two important things last year: first that my talent combo is very rare, and second that I should stop trying to fit in – didn’t work for me in the past, will not work for me in the future.
When Andy heard about my ordeal, he told me to come to Spain to one of his courses. According to him, the centre he was teaching at would be very healing for me. So off I went to this little place called Tushita, in the hills between Barcelona and Girona. The second day of my stay, I could do something I haven’t been mentally able to do for almost a year: draw for an entire day.
The path to realization
After returning to The Netherlands I made one important decision: I would dedicate my life to digital thangka painting and teaching my art and knowledge to others. Not for personal fame and fortune but solely for others: to enjoy, or maybe even as a guide on their path.
Teaching my art has another very important goal. My painting lineage started centuries ago with six generations of the family of the famous Thargye-la, a Tibetan thangka painter, who worked in the Kathmandu Valley for decades. He was the teacher of my teacher Andy Weber. Teaching my art will prolong this lineage into the future.
To achieve all this I have chosen to free myself from attachments: not only by getting rid of 'stuff' but my house is on sale as well and I quit my job last May.
The people of Tushita have generously agreed to give me refuge as their resident thangka painter; for now I am ‘commuting’ between The Netherlands and Catalunya, my stays limited to three weeks. Longer periods are in the works but require a lot of paper work.
In addition, I am looking for other centres around the world where I can paint and teach.
Currently I am living on my savings and unemployment benefit but these will not last for ever. So, on 4 September, I started a crowd funding campaign Painting the Mandala of the Medicine Buddha, aiming to produce a highly detailed Mandala and 53 additional images; the goal is not only to fund two years of drawing but also to raise enough funds to found the Digital Thangka Art School and to start the Digital Thangka Art Fund.
My (very) little guild of digital thangka painters
And last but not least: Andy pointed me to an aspiring thangka painter called Yaren Köse. A few weeks ago I have taught her all the basics of digital thangka painting during an 8 day master class. I have invited her to work together on the Mandala, as the first apprentice of my little guild of thangka painters.
So, big changes, big risks. And I have learnt this lesson from the past year: I cannot do this alone.
Can I count on your support to turn my vision into reality?
This is the last part of a three-part blog on my quest for the perfect thangka.
Read part 2.
Read part 1.