Drawings created on location in Tibet and the Himalayas
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These drawings were created on location in Tibet and the Himalayas.
     On a rooftop of a monastery in Northern Ladakh, I had almost completed a landscape drawing when an elderly Buddhist monk, who had been quietly watching, leaned toward me and said, "Come. I show you."  The wooden steps creaked with age as we descended from the earthen roof into the courtyard.
     After entering a side door of the monastery, we climbed another stairway into a hall directly above the main prayer chapel.  Walking toward the Yamantaka Chapel, I could barely see the frescoes of wrathful protectors that lined the walls the dark corridor.  As we passed those soot-layered guardians, I caught a glimpse of their bulging, bloodshot eyes and red-stained fangs-to close for comfort.
     At the end of the passage the monk swing open a door, drenching the hallway in light, bringing to life the protectors  of the dharma.
     Beyond the door, as light from a wall of windows flooded in, the Yamantaka Chapel exploded with primary and secondary colors.  Yamantaka, Conqueror of Death, covered three walls with red, god, and electric blue.  A glossy layer of fresh lacquer intensified the fresco's already powerful effect.  Yamantaka's terrifying form had multiple heads draped with skulls, numerous angry eyes, horns, and flames.  I stood transfixed by the fresco's massive size.
     After a few moments of silence, the monk turned around to face me and announced, "Not real."  Pointing to his head he said, "Only here."  I smiled and nodded.  He pinched my shirt sleeve and turned me around to face the windows.  The old monks grinned and pointed out the window at the landscape I had just drawn.  "Not real," he proclaimed.  Touching his head, he smiled and said, "Only here."  Then while I stared out the window, the monk quietly left the room.