July’s Featured Artist


Ushnishavijaya, goddess of long life.

Free and open to the public

Laura Santi

Traditional Tibetan Thangka Painter

The subjects and compositions in my thankga paintings (thankga” means “rolled scroll in Tibetan) are traditional imagery based on Tibetan Buddhist visionary experience.

All of the implements held in the hands, the colors of the deities, the hand positions and body postures, all express energetic states. Some of the figures are historical people, others are representations of experiences or visions practitioners recorded over time in an effort to explain artistically what the energy of life, spiritual growth, and passage into death looks like. The art form of traditional thangka painting derives from several thousand years of Buddhist practice and cultural evolution in Tibet and the surrounding areas. Such paintings were used not only as art for beauty’s sake, but also in religious worship, or to inspire, or help a practitioner memorize the sometimes complex visualizations that were part of their spiritual practice.

“Art expresses the perceptions of a people. Sacred art reveals their deepest insights and their highest aspirations. Some of these artistic visions come from the greatest masters, who looked deep into the human soul, confronted the stark realities of human passions, and discovered the human capabilities of wisdom and love.” – His Holiness the Dalai Lama, from Wisdom and Compassion: The Sacred Art of Tibet

Laura Santi initially attended college with the idea of becoming a medical illustrator, and graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 1981 with a bachelors in Graphic Design. She began studying yoga and meditation under the direction of Swami Chetanananda in 1980, and became an initiate and practitioner of various Tibetan healing practices in the Nyingma order of Buddhism in 2001 under the direction of Lama Tsering Wangdu Rinpoche. She began painting thangkas in 2002, after living with and admiring antique thangkas for 20 years. Her knowledge of thangka iconographic imagery and techniques comes from her spiritual teachers and self-study.


1000-armed Avalokitesvara, god of compassion.

She works in gouache, mineral paints, and 22k gold on linen, and also sells giclee prints of her work. Giclee prints are made by scanning artwork into a computer and then printing via a sophisticated inkjet printer onto artists’ heavyweight watercolor paper. This allows for the most crisp and accurate print available. The prints look and feel like paintings.

Contact Laura about future classes or to commission a painting.

Prints are available from Laura Santi Sacred Art on Etsy.com, or by contacting Laura at:


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