As a western
female student of Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhism and eastern tantric
symbolism for many years, the artist, padma, Phyllis Glanville, brings
a unique expression to an age-old tradition of sacred art.
studying design at UCLA, Padma was drawn to various mystical
traditions, especially the Eastern philosophies. She developed an
interest in sacred art, sacred geometry and architecture, feng shui and
the healing effects of sound and color.
Upon encountering the tantric teachings of Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhism
and Dzogchen, she felt that she had come home, and soon became a
student of a Nyingma lama from old Tibet. It was he who gave her the
name of Padma, which means Lotus.
During her spiritual journey, she has spent long-term residences at Buddhist retreat centers in
Northern California, spending many hours studying and working with various teachers. Padma
involved in the design and building of the temple at Rigdzin Ling in
the Trinity Alps. She organized and took part in retreats, learning
ritual ceremonies, visualizations, mantras and mudras.
Padma also sewed traditional lama dance costumes from rare silk
brocades, some with real golden thread running through. The vivid
colors of Tibetan life had a profound effect on her. During this period
she met lamas and thangka artists from all over the world and absorbed
as much traditional wisdom as she could.
current phase of her Dharma art began in 1990 while living in majestic
Mt. Shasta. California. It was there that she was first inspired to
draw tantric deities. Of this work she says:
art in the Tibetan tradition is highly structured, highly mathematical,
precise and controlled. It is very specific for each deity. It provides
a grid work, which I can lay over my own personality. It eliminates
decisions about what to draw. It becomes a practice grounded in what
has gone before. Following the discipline is what allows me to tap into
the energy, I want to honor the tradition, never knowingly or
ignorantly distorting an image. In this sense, I don’t do the drawing,
the drawing does me.
Padma currently lives in Northern California and makers her living as a designer doing graphic and interior design. Her artistic intention is
concentrated upon the creation of new paintings and various other
My work is born of the desire to explore and creatively express
the deep and powerful connection between sacred art and the human
psyche. I wish to share the experience of the Tibetan deities as
living, radiant beings of light. Truly alive, yet transparent, radiant
and empty of concrete self-existence. I believe that these timeless
archetypal images have a potential to teach and ultimately bring
benefit as modern-day
illustrations of tantric symbolism.”