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Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Bodh Gaya

In case you are wondering, I decided to name my previous painting 'The Flames of Wrath'. Thank you Deepti miss for your suggestion! :)

And now for my next painting.... I had long wanted to paint my idea of enlightenment, but everyday the form it should take would change. So I decided to wait until I hit upon just the right notes. All I knew was that the painting would be done in Blue and Violet hues in keeping with Eastern Philosophy and colour symbolism.

And then when I decided to do a series based on the Indian sub-continent, it all came together! I would do one on Buddha. But how would I compose the painting? Did I want to do a 'realist' painting amidst all the abstracts? I always do extensive research on my themes before I start painting. And so I started my research on the internet on Buddha and his philosophy.

Seeing all the magnificent statues, sculptures and paintings on Buddhy lying down, I knew I wanted to do something similar, but in an abstract style. So I started with a simple and loosely done charcoal sketch of Buddha lying down on a canvas that was 5ft x 4ft. As soon as I started, I knew I may have taken on too much! The Canvas was massive and demanded more than just a Buddha lying down. Along the way, I painted layers of blue and purple to signify enlightenment. while still letting the Buddha show through. And then I decided to include a part of the Avalokiteshwara Mantra, 'Om Mani Padme Hum'

According to the 14th Dalai Lama, '.... the six syllables, om mani padme hum, mean that in dependence on the practice of a path which is an indivisible union of method and wisdom, you can transform your impure body, speech, and mind into the pure exalted body, speech, and mind of a Buddha'. I came across the above in Wiki, and to me, this embodies the pathway to enlightenment. I chose Hum to be the syllable to go into my painting since this translates into 'Wisdom'.... and eventually the Bodhi tree, again symbolic of wisdom and the tree under which Buddha gained enlightenment, slowly made their way into my painting!

...........And it became Bodh Gaya....

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