A mandala created at the Denver Museum by Tibetan Monks.
Remember when rules were enforced against such things as talking in the library and photographing art. Recently Bob and I went on a tour at the DAM (Denver Art Museum) and I asked the tour guide why many European museums allowed photography and the U.S. museums did not. He said that times had changed and with less cumbersome cameras, most museums allowed photographs of items in "their" collections. The DAM only restricts photography on items on loan or in special private collections of which the owners have requested no photos. Hooray! Two days later I went back to the museum--with camera--and am now photographing pieces I love.
The colored sand mandala above was created on-site at the DAM. They dyed the sand with natural colors from Tibet. They created it to music from Tibet. The entire process was recorded and can be watched on an accompanying video. The temptation was to go home and create my own mandala, but like most art, it is impossible to separate the product from the process.
I am four lectures into my "Peoples and Cultures of the World" DVD course and I find myself wanting to experience other cultures more deeply. When I first traveled to other countries and experienced new cultural events or celebrations, I wanted to OWN each of them. I quickly found that it was as impossible to implement foreign cultures in my country as to introduce new species into an ecosystem. It may survive--and even come to have a purpose or meaning--but when separated from the natural surroundings, it most likely will lose some of its enchantment and flavor.
I had thought to sketch some of the pieces at the DAM from the photos for practice--and to get to know the art better, but I have decided to set aside time to go and sketch more often in the museum instead.. Portable folding stools are provided for just that purpose. As long as one doesn't bring in a messy medium for sketching, they are quite accommodating: No water media, oils or pastels. The rule is the same as for photography: it is permissible to sketch anything in the DAM's collection. I first became acquainted with some of the pieces through a DAM art course called "Sketching in the Galleries." Maybe I'll take that class again.