Tibetan Thangka Drawing & Painting | Omega
July 2015
Carmen Mensink

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Tibetan Thangka Drawing & Painting

Green Tara

July 05, 2015 – July 10, 2015
Rhinebeck, NY
Carmen Mensink

We are no longer taking online registrations for this workshop.

This workshop is part of Arts Week. Learn more.

For centuries, Tibetan thangkas (scroll paintings of Buddhas and mandalas) have been a highly developed and important means of explaining Buddhist philosophy. Green Tara, the female manifestation of active compassion, is one of the most revered deities in Tibet.

In this retreat with Carmen Mensink, a contemporary master of this ancient tradition, we create our own thangka of Green Tara, the most important female Buddha. Through slide presentations, we learn about symbolism in Tibetan art, Buddhist philosophy, and the mantra of Green Tara. Using the traditional grid-proportions, newcomers also draw the face of the Buddha.

A disappearing art form, thangka drawing and painting creates joy and is a meditation in itself, so we immerse ourselves in an enriching combination of learning about and practicing art and Buddhism at the same time.

No drawing or painting experience is necessary.

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

Optional: 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 pencils or paints. If you want to bring coloring supplies, please consider the following:

COLORING YOUR BUDDHA: 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.

PAINTING YOUR BUDDHA: The best paints to learn thangka painting are Winsor & Newton Designers Gouache. The items underlined 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.


Arts Week Schedule

4:00 p.m.–7:00 p.m. Check In (Rooms available after 5:00 p.m.)
7:30 p.m.-7:50 p.m. Welcome & Orientation
8:00-9:00 p.m. Opening Ceremony
9:00 a.m.–Noon Workshop
2:30 p.m.–5:00 p.m. Workshop
8:00-10:00 p.m. David London’s “Magic Outside the Box”
9:00 a.m.–Noon Workshop
2:30 p.m.–5:00 p.m. Workshop
8:00-10:00 p.m. "Behind the Mask/Beneath the Ego” performance by Rob Faust
9:00 a.m.–Noon Workshop
2:30 p.m.–5:00 p.m. Workshop
8:00-9:00 p.m. Poetry Festival Faculty Showcase
9:00-10:00 p.m. Circus Night with Peter Gold’s Trapeze Experience
9:00 a.m.–Noon Workshop
2:30 p.m.–5:00 p.m. Workshop
7:30 p.m. Doors Open for Gallery Show and Participant Showcase
8:00-8:30 p.m. Sandra Jackson-Dumont from Metropolitan Museum of Art “Beauty and the Imagination”
9:00 a.m.–Noon Workshop
Noon–2:00 p.m. Lunch & Departure

Events and times are subject to change.

The Children's Program is generally available during standard workshop hours only. Contact Omega registration at 877.944.2002 for details.

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 training in the art of Tibetan thangka drawing and painting. Her work has been displayed in the Netherlands and Australia. She lectures on Tibetan Art around the world. tibetanthangkapainting.com