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Tibetan Thangka Drawing & Painting

July 13, 2014 – July 18, 2014
Rhinebeck, NY
Carmen Mensink
SM14-3005-886Carmen Mensink,

We are no longer taking online registrations for this workshop.

For centuries, Tibetan thangkas (scroll paintings of Buddhas and mandalas) have been a highly developed and important means of explaining the complete Buddhist philosophy.

Since the Chinese invasion of Tibet in the 1950s and the ongoing destruction of monasteries and exile of Tibetan Buddhists throughout the world, it is becoming increasingly important to keep this beautiful art form alive. In this retreat with Carmen Mensink, a contemporary master of this ancient tradition, we do just that by creating our own thangka of the Buddha.

Using the traditional grid-proportions of thangkas, we first draw the face of the Buddha, and then the complete Buddha. A disappearing art form, thangka drawing and painting is a meditation in itself, so we are immersed in an enriching combination of learning about and practicing art and Buddhism at the same time.

Through slide presentations we also learn about the symbolism in Tibetan art and Buddhist philosophy.

The retreat is suitable for everyone, including beginners with no drawing or painting experience.


More Information
Things to Bring:

During this retreat you will have enough time to draw a Buddha face and the complete Buddha on a lotus seat with a wonderful background. For this you will need to bring to the workshop the following materials:

  • Two sheets of thick drawing paper (24’’x 28’’, approximately 135 lbs, no thinner than 100 lbs.)
  • A long ruler (preferably 18” and if possible make sure it has inches and centimeters)
  • HB pencil (preferably a mechanical pencil)
  • A hard eraser and a soft kneadable one
  • Optional but useful: a small triangular protractor
  • Optional but useful: a (cardboard or plastic) tube or a large portfolio to carry the paper.


If there is time, and if you want to work on your drawing beyond normal workshop hours, you will be able to begin to color your Buddha.  You can use colored pencis or paints.  If you want to bring coloring supplies, please consider the following:


Within the time limit of the retreat you will not be able to color your Buddha completely, but you can make a start. If you want to work with colored pencils, bring a brand that’s good for blending; preferably Prismacolor Premier or Derwent Coloursoft. A kit with a minimum of 24 colors is suggested.


The best paints to learn thangka painting are Winsor & Newton Designers Gouache. The items in bold are necessary; they are the basic colors for the thangka with which you can mix any other color.

14 ml tube

  • Blue: Indigo (322), Cobalt Blue (178), Ultramarine, Turquoise Blue, Cobalt Turquoise Light
  • Green: Winsor Green (720), Sap Green (599), Oxide of Chromium, Olive Green
  • Red: Flame red (249), Perylene Maroon (507), Spectrum Red, Orange Lake Deep
  • Yellow: Cadmium Yellow (108), Lemon Yellow (345), Cadmium Orange
  • Brown: Yellow Ochre (744), Burnt Siena (074), Van Dyke Brown
  • Black: Lamp Black (337)

37 ml tube

  • White: Permanent White (512)

Acrylic paints are more advisable for advanced students.


  • Small Brushes:size 00, 0

You need to buy at least one good quality outlining brush (for ex. Winsor & Newton Finest sable -series 7 - size 00, Daler - Rowney, DaVinci, Kolinsky etc.). The other brushes can be of lesser quality, like a sable/synthetic blend, nylon etc. They can be from any brand, as long as the quality is good.

  • Medium Brushes:size 1, 2, 3, 4
  • Big Brushes: size 6, 8, 12

This will be a good set to begin with, later you can always buy more.

Sizes bigger than nr. 12 we don’t use very often, but please bring some if you have them at home.

4:00 p.m.–7:00 p.m.Check In (Rooms available after 5:00 p.m.)
8:00 p.m.Welcome & Orientation
9:00 a.m.–NoonWorkshop
2:30 p.m.–5:00 p.m.Workshop
9:00 a.m.–NoonWorkshop
2:30 p.m.–5:00 p.m.Workshop
9:00 a.m.–NoonWorkshop
9:00 a.m.–NoonWorkshop
2:30 p.m.–5:00 p.m.Workshop
9:00 a.m.–NoonWorkshop
Noon–1:00 p.m.Check Out

The Children's Program is generally available during standard workshop hours only. Contact Omega registration at 800.944.1001 for details.

The above schedule is subject to change at the discretion of the faculty.

Carmen Mensink

Carmen Mensink has a background in graphic design and typography and has been practicing Buddhism since 1999, the same year she began her long training in the art of Tibetan thangka drawing and painting. Her work has been displayed in The Netherlands and Australia. Through the dedication and joy she expresses in her lectures on Tibetan Art and her thangka drawing and painting teachings around the world, Carmen inspires people on their own spiritual path.