3 Buddhas – H.O.P.E. silent auction

I felt very privilged to be asked for a third year in a row to donate paintings to the H.O.P.E organization’s annual fundraiser. This year H.O.P.E. is focusing on human trafficaing, with all funds raised going towards establishing an alternative income source for the women of the remote village of Kamoda.

These 3 Buddhas are but another take on the large bronze Buddha I met and conversed with in the Japanese gardens in San Francisco in 2007. I have used the inspiration I received from the encounter with this bronze Buddha in several other paintings as well, but they have really evolved along the years as I experiment (and grow more confident) in different mediums.

Due to my ongoing battle with arthitus and chronic tendonitus in my left hand, I decided (errr… was forced) to change my tactics in painting technique and medium.  This go round I attempted to paint with more volume and texture, adding a choppiness to the paintings by using extra heavy gloss gel to the acrylic paint to give the paintings a heavier and edgier feel, which increased (I think) the intensity of the paintings while at the same time decreasing the pain and stress to my hand in the creative process.

The swirls and designs in and around each Buddha head symbolize luminous wisdom. The Buddha is often depicted with an elongated topknot of hair to represent his enlightenment. Here I have depicted supreme enlightenment as colours flowing and dissolving from the Buddha’s head into the suspended air of thought, emitting radiance and compassion in every direction.

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4 Buddhas Toronto

These 4 Buddhas went to Ralph and Daniella in Toronto.  They are similar to the set of 4 I did for the All For Humanity fundraiser, however they have one extra colour level (5 colours instead of 4).

The inspiration for this set of 4 paintings came from photos I took back in 2007 of the large bronze Buddha (cast in Tajima, Japan in 1790), that now resides in the Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. I have also used this same image of the Buddha for other paintings as well.

Once again, these are done on one of my new favourite mediums, 16″x20″ birch boards.

At first glance, they all look very similar, but each is slightly different in its own unique way (as we all are – not just to one another, but within our own psyche and the different sides of our personalities).

The swirls and designs in and around each Buddha head symbolize luminous wisdom. The Buddha is often depicted with an elongated topknot of hair to represent his enlightenment. Here I have depicted supreme enlightenment as colours flowing and dissolving from the Buddha’s head into the suspended air of thought, emitting radiance and compassion in every direction.

Remember not to settle for the meaning of life, rather opt for the intense experience of it.  Be trail blazers on the road of original experience.  Savour the eternal memories that appear out of the fleeting moments. Travel undaunted amid the wonders and sorrows that will appear in the labyrinth of your journey together. And most importantly, experience the radiance of the world and your pairing with awakened hearts.

Seek what you already are my friends – enjoy the journey.

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All for Humanity Fundraiser Donation, 2010

Four Buddha paintings: blue, green, orange and purpleThis set of 4 was painted for Rhonda’s All For Humanity charity fundraiser (silent auction) on June 19th, 2010.

I have to admit, these paintings took more time from idea to completion than almost any other set of paintings I’ve ever done, particularly in the design stage. I spent more than 3 months getting the image just right.

These are also painted on birch boards (16×20), not canvas as all my others are.

The charity event was a resounding success and at the end of the night, Linda McCue who commissioned a painting by me back in 2006, won the highest bid on the set of 4 paintings. Congratulations Linda!

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San Francisco Buddhas

Buddha head and torsoBuddha head closeup

These paintings took a rather circuitous path in finding their rightful owner. Originally I was commissioned to do a set of koi fish for my friend Tracy, but I was having a hard time coming up with the right image for them. As I’ve said in the past, some paintings come in a matter of seconds, some take years.

Back in June 2007 I was heading down to San Francisco (I’m normally there once or twice a year visiting my sister) and decided to take a jaunt out to the Japanese Tea Gardens in the Golden Gate Park while I was there to gain some insight. I figured what better place to find an ample supply of koi fish ponds than a Japanese Garden. I envisioned getting photos of hundreds of different koi fish in a feeding frenzy, giving me ton of photographic opportunities for the inspiration I needed to complete Tracy’s painting. How dismayed I was to discover that in the numerous ponds that adorn this 5 acre park…I spotted all of about 3 koi fish. In total. Yep. Nowhere near the 100s I was hoping for. Three bloody koi fish in the entire park. More than a bit miffed – I suddenly wanted my five bucks back. Nonetheless, I meandered through the park making the best of it.

As it turns out, fate had other plans for me, and for my next painting. As I continued through the gardens, I came across the large bronze Buddha, cast at Tajima, Japan in 1790. I was at once completely and utterly awestruck. Why wouldn’t I be? I am a Buddhist of course. While I’ve known I’ve been a Buddhist since I was about 8, I didn’t officially become one (“seek refuge”) until about 7 years ago (Tibetan Lama’s are a bit of a rare commodity in Calgary). I spent a good half an hour taking photos and basking in the essence of this staggering sculpture and enjoying the enlightenment and inspiration it was emitting back at me.

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All for Humanity Fundraiser Donation, 2008

This set of 3 was painted for Rhonda’s All For Humanity charity fundraiser.

Three Buddhas, Take Two

Living room scene highlighing the three Buddha paintings over the sofaNot being happy with the original set of 3 Buddha’s I did back in 2006, I embarked on a second attempt in a more Andy Warhol-esque fashion.

Three Buddhas Take One

Living room scene with three Buddhas highlighted above the sofaLiving room from end angleI wanted to take a bit of time off from painting this year and experiment with some other mediums. This is my first foray off untreated canvas into a new direction of treated canvas. I had no idea how challenging working with untreated canvas was until I started painting on this type of canvas.

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