Lineage & Study program

The school Principal and painting master is Konchog Lhadrepa, who trained under Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche as his attendant from the age of ten. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche sent him at the age of 19 to Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim to train with the thangka painter Lhadre Tragyel, a famed master of the Karma Gadri lineage of thangka painting whose work was particularly favoured by Khyentse Rinpoche.

Since then Konchog has spent his life as an artist devoted to the service of Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche and Rabjam Rinpoche, mainly fulfilling mural and thangka commissions for Shechen Monastery and it’s branch organisations abroad and now by running the school where he can pass on this beautiful and rare tradition of thangka painting from within it’s proper context.

Out of his concern for thangka painters to practice their art work from within the proper context of Buddhist practice, Konchog has taken many years to write a text for the school which combines the entire path of Vajrayana Buddhist Practice with the profession of the Buddhist sacred artist.

Thangka students are trained for six years under the guidance of some of the senior graduate artists. Lopon Ang Babu and Lopon Lhacham Tsogyal are the junior class teachers and Lopon Ngawang Lodro is the senior class teacher. The full course is six years, with drawing examinations at the end of each year. The student body is drawn from the young monks of the Shechen Monastery as well as monks, nuns and lay men and women from the local community and from abroad. Enrollment is limited in order to enable training on an individual basis.

Due to the sacred nature of this art form, those who wish to study here must have taken refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, and consider themselves to be Buddhist. Regardless of previous experience, anyone studying here must follow the proper sequence of training as defined by this tradition, and according to the teacher’s assessment of an individual’s progress. 

At first the students learn the techniques of proportion and drawing and the use of paints and colours. Then they work on projects and learn to execute more detailed iconography. As the students gain experience, they begin to assist in fulfilling thangka commissions. In the final phase of study, the students learn to draw and paint mandalas and write Lantsa script.

Every student must go through the same sequence of study, regardless of their previous experience, and the students train to draw deities by sight, rather than relying on the grid lines. The teachers speak English well enough to be able to teach effectively.  A series of classes on Tibetan Buddhist art history and theory are taught by the Principal Konchog over a period of a few months each year.

SCHOOL TIMETABLE

The Thangka Painting course runs for 10 months per year for six years. Classes are five and a half days each week, with Sundays off.  The day commences at 8 am with morning prayers and then the drawing classes commence until 11.15 am.  Colour class begins at 1.30 and the day ends at 4.30 pm with prayers. Boarding students also have additional homework classes.

SCHOOL FEES & SPONSORSHIP PROGRAM

A sponsorship program has been established for the poorer students who wouldn’t be able to afford the studies otherwise. Please see the section on HOW TO HELP for more details. 

REQUIREMENTS FOR FOREIGN STUDENTS

Due to the sacred nature of this art form, those who wish to study here must have taken refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, and consider themselves to be Buddhist. Regardless of previous experience, anyone studying here must follow the proper sequence of training as defined by this tradition, and according to the teacher’s assessment of an individual’s progress.

Students at morning prayers

Students at morning prayers

However, due to visa restrictions and other logistical difficulties foreign students do not need to commit themselves to the full course of study and are able to be examined for their ‘yearly study’ after only a few months of study each year if necessary.  We recommend a minimum study period of 3 months a year for 3 years. Foreign students can also enter the study program at any stage of the school year, upon acceptance by the staff. 

VISAS TO NEPAL – CURRENT NOVEMBER 2011

Foreigners wishing to study at Tsering Art School are not eligible for a student visa, and thus need to enter on a tourist visa, which is counted from date of entry.  There is a maximum stay of 150 days (five months) in any given year on the single or multiple entry tourist visas in Nepal.  The entry visa can be obtained from your country, or at a reduced cost at the border or airport, where it is paid in US$ or Euro only.  You can obtain a three month visa on entry for USD $90 and then extend it at the Department of Immigration thereafter. Please refer to Nepal Tourist Websites for the latest information.

SCHOOL RULES

We have a mixture of students at the school, mostly local Nepali, Tibetan and Bhutanese lay and ordained, male and female, many of whom are quite young.  Thus we must ask the foreign students to respect the quite strict rules that we have at the school.  We expect people to come on time, to notify when absent and to respect the teachers, monks, nuns and staff, as well as having the conduct appropriate to our situation being within the grounds of Shechen Monastery, such as keeping one’s attire modest and conservative.

FEES & ACCOMODATION

There are no boarding facilities offered at the Tsering Art School for foreign students. The school fees are 2,600 Nrs per month.

MATERIALS

Basic drawing and painting implements are required and can be purchased in Nepal.

For study enquiries and enrolments please contact the school administrator, Miss Lobsang Dolma by email on: