Step into the world of buddha nature as expressed through creativity and the arts! Explore Buddhist visual literacy and learn to apply foundational principles of the Karma Gadri school of thangka painting in a hands-on studio class. Enjoy 9 days of creative discovery. The Creative Arts Courses are great for first-time or continuing Nitartha students.
SoCA 500 Symbolizing the Awakened Heart: Buddhist Visual Literacy
This 9-day class explores symbolism as a necessity for everyday communication and its role for practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism. Using the principles of visual literacy, traditional Tibetan Buddhist iconography, and teachings on valid cognition, we will open the door to the Science of Creative Arts and step into the world of buddha nature as expressed through creativity and the arts. This course teaches the importance of understanding the processes of perception and conception, demonstrates symbolism as an integral part of our everyday experience, and how both of those can be used to connect with the Buddhist path. Depending on the make up and interest of the participants, we will apply these principles to one of the following; lineage and transmission, qualities and activities of enlightenment, or prajnaparamita. Classes include illustrated presentations, experiential exercises, analytical meditation, discussion, and homework leading toward a final presentation on a self selected topic. This course is particularly useful for vajrayana practitioners and of interest to those with a creative bent.
instructor: Stephanie Johnston
SoCA 501 Drawing the Awakened Heart
This 9-day class is a hands on studio class where participants will learn the foundational principles of the Karma Gadri school of thangka painting and apply them to drawing the head and body of a male and female buddha. The artistic tradition of Karma Gadri will be introduced, drawing will be explored as a form of meditation, and there will be a written or audio presentation by Karma Gadri master artist R.D. Salga.
instructor: Stephanie Johnston
Stephanie Johnston has been a Tibetan Buddhist practitioner since 1985 and a student of Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche since 1996—the first year of Nitartha Institute for Higher Buddhist Studies. Since then she has been active with the Institute as a faculty member and student, and also with Nitartha Publications.
Stephanie’s art studies began in Montecatini, Italy, where she worked as an Apprentice of Renaissance Art Technique and Restoration at Studio Aliprandi. Stephanie went on to earn a degree in Studio Painting and Art History from Nova Scotia School of Art and Design (NASCAD) in 1986. She earned a certificate in computer based graphic design in 1992 from the University of Toronto. Since then, Stephanie’s work has included Buddhist specific design in multiple formats as well as professional experience in GUI, book, magazine and educational toy design. She holds a certificate in Museum Studies from the University of Washington and has worked as a docent at Seattle Art Museum since 2016.
As a graphic designer and avid practitioner, Stephanie trains and supports practice instructors for Nalandabodhi under the guidance of Ponlop Rinpoche, manages its study and practice publications, and works with Nitartha International’s art collection.