Important Update, May 1, 2023: After thoughtful consideration, Arts Gowanus has decided to pull the plug on our Artsy gallery, referenced in the post below. The Artsy site will be up just until May 15, after which time the links below will no longer work.
Welcome to March 2023! Somehow, 10 years has elapsed since I completed this oil painting, “Manomayakaya #3 (Let it pervade everywhere).” Where does the time go?? Since I am offering this painting for sale through Artsy, I thought now would be a good time to reacquaint you with this wonderful artwork — one of my favorites.
And, for the occasion, I dug into the photo archives and found some cool process shots of the work on the easel from 10 years ago.
First a little about the title. You may well ask, what does manomayakaya mean? This is a term found in the Lankavatara Sutra of Mahayana Buddhism. Literally, it translates as “mind-made-body”, and can refer to the form taken by a buddha or bodhisattva in order to help sentient beings.
I love the idea of buddhas and bodhisattvas adapting to the needs of ordinary folks, and I also love the idea that the forms taken might be that of other sentient beings besides humans, or even beings not often thought of as sentient, such as mountains, rocks or trees — however, personally, I think of trees as sentient!
I paint a lot of trees, and this is the central focus of this abstracted, expressionistic landscape. What I imagine here is a buddha becoming a tree to give shelter to or enliven the spirits of sentient beings.
The sub-title of the painting is “Let it pervade everywhere.” This is also Buddhist inspired, and is a snippet of liturgical chant: For example, in the dedication to the three treasures (Buddha, Dharma and Sangha), we chant:
“Being one with the Sangha;
With all sentient beings, lead the people. Let harmony pervade everywhere.”
So that pretty much sums up the intent of this painting – to represent and to spread peace and harmony throughout the world. This is something that I hope art in general can do.
I can also add that this painting was inspired by a landscape I photographed in West Virginia, in late spring.
As I said at the beginning, this painting is for sale! It’s oil on canvas, 30 inches square (that’s about 76cm square), and about 1.5 inches in depth (3.8cm). Check out the Artsy listing, and let me know if you have any questions.