Buddha's Head: A Constant Source of Inspiration
07-24-2018    Sun Correspondent
<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt"><SPAN lang=EN-US>By John Greenwald, Sun Correspondent, October 27, 2006</SPAN></P>

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<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt"><SPAN lang=EN-US>Lowell, Massachusetts, USA -- All her life, Virginia Peck, 55, has made art -- painting, sculpture, prints and for, 10 years, commercial illustration for Reebok, The Boston Globe, Doubleday books and others.</SPAN></P>

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<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt"><SPAN lang=EN-US>In her early 40s, Peck took personal growth seminars and began exploring yoga, meditation, Eastern philosophy and spirituality. During meditation one day, "a light went off in my head and I realized I could combine my love of painting the human head with painting the Buddha's head," she says.</SPAN></P>

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<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt"><SPAN lang=EN-US>Peck graduated from the School of the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /><st1:PlaceType w:st="on">Museum</st1:PlaceType> of <st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Fine Arts</st1:PlaceName> in <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Boston</st1:place></st1:City>. She moved to <st1:City w:st="on">Lowell</st1:City> from <st1:City w:st="on">Newton</st1:City> last year "because I heard <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Lowell</st1:place></st1:City> was an art-friendly town, and I've been very happy here." She has exhibited at the <st1:City w:st="on">Concord</st1:City> and <st1:City w:st="on">Cambridge</st1:City> art associations, the <st1:PlaceName w:st="on">New</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Art</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Center</st1:PlaceName> in <st1:City w:st="on">Newton</st1:City> and will be in a two-person show at the Alpers Fine Art gallery in <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Andover</st1:place></st1:City>, from Oct. 24 through Dec. 3. The artists' reception takes place tomorrow from 6 to 9 p.m.</SPAN></P>

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<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt"><SPAN lang=EN-US>Have you always painted heads?</SPAN></P>

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<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt"><SPAN lang=EN-US>Yes, even as a child. Any kind of head, I like to do it. Realistic, abstract, expressionistic, masks, even on weathered tree bark. I find the human head endlessly fascinating. Combining that fascination with the Buddha's image was a natural progression. I've been painting the Buddhas for three years, and I'm still excited by it and feel there's more I can learn.</SPAN></P>

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<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt"><SPAN lang=EN-US>What did you want to accomplish with "Chants of Love"?</SPAN></P>

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<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt"><SPAN lang=EN-US>I've done more than two dozen Buddhas and all are about our modern frenetic lives and the possibility of a peace and serenity that the Buddha offers through meditation.</SPAN></P>

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<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt"><SPAN lang=EN-US>How do you achieve all those colors, layers and textures?</SPAN></P>

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<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt"><SPAN lang=EN-US>First, I begin with a spontaneously painted abstract. It's full of color, dripped paint, marks, lines and shapes. Next, I draw the Buddha's face in charcoal over the abstract. Once I feel the face is the way I want it, I rub out most of the drawing, leaving only a faint indication of the features.</SPAN></P>

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<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt"><SPAN lang=EN-US>Now I'm ready to paint. I mix marble dust in my oil paints to give them a thicker, rougher texture. I layer the painting with complementary colors determined by the abstract underpainting. Where the abstract was blue, I layer in orange, where it was red, I layer in green. I build up layer after layer, color after color.</SPAN></P>

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<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt"><SPAN lang=EN-US>Then, I gradually define the features to make them discernible. Next, I take thinned-out oil paint and drip it over the entire canvas. That pulls together all the disparate colors and shapes.</SPAN></P>

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<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt"><SPAN lang=EN-US>Finally, I touch up the highlight areas with fresh paint.</SPAN></P>

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<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt"><SPAN lang=EN-US>These paintings look almost abstract close up but are more realistic from a distance. Do you want that effect?</SPAN></P>

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<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt"><SPAN lang=EN-US>Yes. I find that I enjoy a painting that feeds you visually no matter what distance you are from it. I like how my work changes as you move closer or farther away.</SPAN></P>

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<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt"><SPAN lang=EN-US>What's next?</SPAN></P>

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<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt"><SPAN lang=EN-US>More Buddhas!</SPAN></P>
Editor: Wang Xinyu
   
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