Well, we’re back from the latest Apprentice Retreat here in good old Blighty, and although the event itself was nothing to do with fund raising for the project, various folk have been diggin’ the Drala Jong fundraising effort one way or the other.  Nearly £2,000 has poured into the appeal as a result.  It’s particularly good to see this sort of casual fund raising happening, with lots of little projects providing people with things that they want and need, for small contributions here and there – including vajrayana instruments, gZi stones and shawls all donated to the project and sold to grateful practitioners.

As well as vajrayana artifacts 13 Sky Signature calligraphies were sold in Finland by Bar-ché and Me-sel, and several more found new owners during the retreat.

My lovely wife Shé-zér has also added a few pennies to the coffers in her one woman Dig-For-Dharma campaign – by selling 50 strawberry plants for the appeal. 

On it’s own it won’t keep Jerry from the door (but it will give Margo something to peer at over the hedge row).

Most significant though was the arrival in Britain of several of the Blues Masters images courtesy of Ngak’chang Rinpoche.  Their creation was sparked through his work on his autobiographical work An Odd Boy

Shortly we’ll be posting images of the first set of Blues Masters works on the Blogsite – and they will be available for sale here, as well as being hung for viewing and sale at Aro Ling some time in the summer, when volume two of An Odd Boy is launched.  These images are a collection of works, that have been extensively recoloured and restored by Rinpoche using a host of tools available through the wonder that is Photoshop.  Up until this point they were only visible via Facebook, but thanks to the work of Lama Shardrol’s sangha in the USA, they are now available on canvas.

Some of the source images were black and white, or of very low resolution, and have been touched up, sharpened and refined.  The Jimi Hendrix image was in fact sourced from a photograph of an original painting by Rinpoche himself – and again has been retouched for the Blues Masters collection.  Each image has had something like 60 to 100 hours of work put into it, before being printed to canvas in medium and large scale, for hanging.

Images include a host of Blues artists from both the USA, and also from the British Blues boom.  Where images were cut or cropped, instruments have been restored from scratch by adding them from other photographic sources from the period.  Friends and relatives of many of the Blues artists pictured have been good enough to get in touch with Rinpoche and express their appreciation of the work that has gone into bringing these performers to life.  Now they will be made available for public sale – with 100% of the proceeds going to charity.

The most ambitious part of the Blues Master project will appeal to fans of An Odd Boy.  Amongst the images there are several restored pictures of the band Savage Cabbage – in which Rinpoche himself played. As no extant image of the band on stage could be found, these works have required sourcing faces, bodies and instrument images from a host of different sources – including Rinpoche’s son – a bass player himself – providing a body double for the performers in their stage poses.

The next two posts will catalogue the currently-available Blues Masters and Calligraphy images that are available to buy – and will detail how supporters of the appeal can get these unique works to hang upon their walls at home.