The Monk's Blessing

I have reached the midway point of my 18 Day Painting Challenge.  The daily exercise has done several things.  Firstly, it has helped get me out of bed earlier.  Secondly, it has increased my creative output.  Finally, it has taken me where I need to go, artistically.  I felt that something needed to shift to help me grow my skills.  It feels that this series of prompts has helped me turn a corner.

Day 9's prompt was simple: a pair of hands.  I had several to choose from in my collection of photos taken in Cambodia.  The pair I chose belonged to the head monk at the village temple.

Lee, Kent, Heng and I had wandered over there to confirm arrangements for the following day.  A trio of monks would be needed at three different locations to perform the blessing ceremonies as houses were gifted to the families.  Spread over a number of acres, we had to go on a search of the senior monk.  We found him sitting peacefully in the shade, watching over some artisans and craftspeople who were making some improvements on the grounds.

After details were sorted out for the following day, Lee asked if we could have a red bracelet along with a blessing.  That request was followed by a series of prayers and a procedure whereby we had to stack our hands, one on top of the other.  It was really quite beautiful.

I knew going into the painting that it was going to take more time than the allotted one hour.  There is a lot of detail in two hands clasped together.  By 9 am, the monk's robes were largely done and I had some shape to the hands and fingers.

I worked on it, off and on, for a couple more hours.  It certainly demanded some patience. I'm very pleased with the result.  I've decided to name this one "The Monk's Blessing".  That way, when someone give the original or a print of the piece, they can say to the recipient: "you deserve The Monk's Blessing."

The monks play a vital role in the spiritual life of the people of Cambodia.  In this particular village temple, there were 11 monks.  They each have so much personality, even the younger ones.

They demonstrated a great sense of humour, wonderful patience, and an inexplicable wisdom that I found rather soothing.  There is no question that they make great painting subjects.

The Monk's Blessing, 16" x 20", acrylic on canvas


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