Friday, 26 November 2010

Emanate from Emptiness

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In the beginning there was the word.... It is of course impossible to describe emptiness in a word or to portray emptiness in a calligraphy art piece, other than not painting anything what so ever or just leaving a 'void'.
At the start of just about every Tibetan Sadhana prayer says: "from within emptiness....." (as the text spells out above). Thus the development stage of the practice begins, born out of emptiness, to mind creates the visualization, the text chanted explains and guides step by step to a complete embodiment of body speech and mind, inseparable from the practice 'Yidam' deity, in meditation and mantra, only to dissolve back into emptiness from where it was born, and the practice is completed.

The above calligraphy of the mantra of The Prajnä Päramitä Sutra or more commonly known as the Heart Sutra, sometimes named the Gaté mantra in reference to how the mantra of the Heart Sutra is pronounced:

tayata om gaté gaté para gaté para sam gaté bodhi swa ha.

The calligraphy of the Gaté mantra is painted in the Dru-tsa script style, the tails of the letters extend pointing to the empty center of the paper from where the mantra seems to emanate from.

This is the second rendition of the Gaté mantra that Tashi has created, both based on the same design of the mantra spinning off a central axis, the first piece was sold before a quality photograph was taken of the art piece, then due to popular requests, a second calligraphy was painted and photographed to produce high quality giclée prints. these are available in two sizes of 60x42cm near to actual size of the original and half the size at 42x30cm.
For more details on prints in general and how to place an order, please follow the link here.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Precious metals.

Tashi brushing off the loose Dutch gold.

Gilding genuine gold and silver leaf is used throughout much of Tashi's artworks, particularly on his illuminated iconographic pieces.
The gilding can be quite a precarious process which goes through several stages before the final polish and luster effect is fully appreciated.

By first applying the transparent glue size is like using invisible paint and all too easy to miss areas or over paint blindly.
The size needs to dry to just the right tackiness to properly attached the gold to the desired area.
Applying the actual leaf is easiest done using transfer paper, where the gold and silver is conveniently attached to a fine tissue like paper, this makes the handling of the precious metals more possible without loosing too much on the slightest waft of air or disintegrate on the fingers.
Once the transfer paper is peeled away, leaving the gold or silver where it is intended to be, any excess metal that may tear away from the transfer is then carefully brushed with a good quality soft sable.
Addition polishing and smoothing of the gold and silver can be achieved by burnishing with a smooth piece of agate stone.

Hand gilding a giclée print.

Gilding Dutch gold and silver is by far an easier process, as Dutch gold is a convincing gold substitute, made from other more affordable metals, these are not beaten as micro fine as real gold leaf, but to a thickness that can be more easily taken by the fingers without too much trouble.

A similar glue size is used to adhere the loose leaf.
A slightly more stiff brush is used to iron out any folds or crinkles and the brush away any unwanted leaf.
Dutch gold will tarnish and in time even turn black, however, to ensure its longevity of the bright gold and silver luster, a shellack finish is painted on as a varnish like protection, this may dull the gold and silver ever-so slightly, but will ensure a good 60 years of bright gold effect.
The same shellack can also be used on real silver leaf, as even genuine silver will oxidize and turn dark with age.

As even Dutch gold leaf is very thin, just like genuine gold and silver leaf, will show the slightest of texture of the ground it is applied to, even the brush marks may show from the application of the glue size.
On occasion, this can be to an advantage, such as gilding dutch gold over larger areas of a rough textured paper, just as the above image shows the attractive gilded Eh-Wam character, a more evenly textured gilded reproduction print of the original artwork shown below.