Buddha Amida (part 3) and the Importance of Skills

December 23, 2008

Let’s continue with the description of the Buddha Amida relief.
As you probably can imagine a very detailed drawing was necessary for this kind of work. I mean could you imagine that you would start a work such as this without having a clear plan about what you want to do? I don’t think so. This is something completely different from painting on canvas spontaneously. It’s not only the form itself, face and figure, it’s all about where you have to start. Especially when you are working with reliefs. The wood that has been cut off cannot be replaced. You have not enough thickness of the material to change the features of the face or hand or any other body part. Mistakes normally cost you a complete restart in the worst case.

Therefore working with wood is a good exercise for learning to make a plan for your work. You could compare it with the working flow in an office. There you have to organize yourself, set priorities etc. These things are all part of a learning process that is never bad and can be of advantage in your whole life. Never underestimate the skills of organizing and planning. They can save your life sometimes… 🙄

Why I am talking about these kinds of things which may be of interest to only a few people I suppose is that I want to explain that this kind of work has helped me tremendously with my painting. It sharpens your eye for the 3rd dimension and this again helps you to determine shapes and shadows, perspective vision which is truely not unimportant in representational painting. Carving reliefs is not so far away as the 2-dimensional work on a canvas. You can try this with clay as well. It helps in any way.

Back to this polyptych.




Inspired by the classical designs of ancient Japanese Buddha statues which are normally quite unostentatious but nevertheless elegant with their flowing forms (the gown of the Buddha is displayed in a special way) I decided to carve the Bodhisattwa figures with an opulent ornamentation to emphasize the comparison. Bodhisattwa still as the human figure and Buddha the enlightened.

In the following images you can see the details of the carving:


japan4a japan5a

The various mudras (hand positions) have been explained already in one of the earlier posts – see link. They are important for any Buddha or Bodhisattwa figure. The lotus plant and flower also takes an important role in Buddhism – see link.




japan4b japan5b1





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