Seeing Through Scripture to The Sacred Mountain

namcha barwa sI completed this painting as a student at University of Hawaii Manoa under the benevolent guidance of a painting teacher of mine there, Mr Jason Willome. During that time I was living up valley and would spend many afternoons sitting in a coffee shop drinking chai, eating homemade manna breads and reading The Heart of The World by Ian Baker. Many sittings I enjoyed with the thick book (just over 400 pages), and with every turned page grew more enthralled in the exploration and adventure as I followed the author on his great pilgrimage deep into the mysteries of Ancient Tibet. His journeys had led him to the foothills of Namcha Barwa, one of the tallest mountains in the world and the termination point of the Far Eastern flank of the Himalayan range.

Namcha Barwa Beginnings sUnderneath that mountain the Tsangpo Gorge, deepest in the world, plunges four times deeper than our beloved Grand Canyon here in the USA. The legend contained in scriptures had it that a great waterfall exists there in the thick of the rhododendrons and mired chasms. Ian Baker set out to find it, and the book encapsulates and recounts his absolutely epic journey over many years in doing so. After I read it, I set out to portray the story in a painted fashion, and this piece was the result of that effort. I used a variety of techniques to achieve something akin to looking through torn scripture at the colossal landscape, and above you can see how I started with selective priming then continued with a series of washes and finally an inkjet transfer of Tibetan Script.

The piece was featured in Lotus Space’s video series entitled Inpo: The Art of Invisibility, which was broadcast on Hawaii public television. It is my sincere hope that I can one day visit the gorge and see the great Namcha Barwa. May all beings be in bliss. Om Mani Padme Hum.

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