Wednesday, February 27, 2013

alexandra david-neel, harriet sussman

Alexandra David-Neel was a Belgian-French explorer and writer, among other things, born in 1868. She lived to nearly 102, dying in 1969. Best known for her travels in Tibet, which was then forbidden for foreigners to visit.

1890-1891: traveled through India for the first time
1895-1896: worked as a prima donna with a traveling French Opera company
1911: went back to India where she continued studies in Buddhism
1912: met the 13th Dalai Lama
1914-1916: lived a bare minimum lifestyle in a cave in Sikkim with a young Sikkimese monk, Aphur Yogden, studying spirituality. Afterwords she adopted Yogden who then became her traveling companion. They trespassed into Tibet for the first time and were able to meet the Panchen Lama before they were found and forced to leave.
1916: Europe was in WWI so Alexandra traveled to Japan
1924: Inspired by a man she met in Japan, Alexandra returned to Tibet this time disguised as pilgrims. She journeyed to Lhasa, a city in Tibet
1928: she settled in Digne France and wrote books for 9 years
1929: when she published her most famous book "Magic and Mystery in Tibet"
1937: went back to Tibet and ended up in Tachienlu. She completed her circumambulation of the holy mountain Amnye Machen
1955: Yogden died
1969: Alexandra died
1973: A friend dispersed both Alexandra and Yogden's ashes in the Ganges, as she had requested in her will

I'd like to be able to do multiple illustrations, since Alexandra David-Neel had such a full life. For now though I'm going to start with one of her traveling through into Tibet -- a journey where she had to use a special breathing technique she learned from her studies in Sikkim to keep herself alive.
I'm going to use watercolor and a very limited color palette - mostly blues and oranges - as well as a colored line.

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