Designing, drawing, and painting the interior murals during the construction of three large stupas, I had the very fortunate and unique opportunity to witness and experience the growth of these remarkable architectural monuments. Symbolic of the birth, awakening, and subsequent teachings of Buddha Shakyamuni, stupas also mark stages of enduring transformation current to our own lives. These “Stupa Portrait” paintings began at the Sante Fe Stupa in the late 1980’s. The Kagyu Shenpen Kunchab Bodhi Stupa in Sante Fe, built for Kyabje Kalu Rinpoche, was the first large stupa in North America, designed intentionally to have an interior shrine room or lhakang open to the public.The portrait paintings continued with the Karmapa Tashi Gomang Stupa in Crestone and the Great Stupa of Dharmakaya at Shambhala Mountain Center, honoring The Vidyadhara ChogyamTrungpa Rinpoche. This exhibit displays eleven of eighteen stupa portraits. Later in the year, the full series will be shown on my new website. For, now, it seems like the proper time to bring forward these interrelated works, to be appreciated together.
My root teacher, tsa wei lama, Kyabje Kalu Rinpoche, once said:
“Stupas are a people’s project, available to all -–not one single sentient being to be overlooked or disregarded.”
ground mineral pigments, gouache and gold
on watercolor paper