I was born in 1952 in North Germany. At the age of 18 after finishing school, I started hitchhiking through Europe, France and Spain up to Formentera island with an aquarellbox and colored pencils to find out what to do with this life. After one year I noticed that painting would be the right way. In 1971 I entered the academy of Fine Arts in Berlin and then went to Vienna to study the old masters Renaissance techniques of egg tempera, oil painting and traditional naturalistic drawing. In 1975 I traveled through Zaire, Sudan and Egypt without a camera but with my paintbox.
MEETING THE TEACHING
In 1985, living in Austria and La Gomera, I took refuge in the Dharma and followed various Kagyü Lamas, especially Tenga Rinpoche, an emanation of White Tara, and did traditional Ngöndro with him.
I met Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche for the first time in 1985 at a small retreat of 30 people in Joachimsthal in Austria. Rinpoche was teaching Yangti and Chöd. But blinded by my confused mind I did not understand anything, thinking: “What a strange kind of meditation is this?“ Anyhow I got an awakening push.
Some years later, in Brasil, Rinpoche’s book “The Crystal and the Way of Light“ opened my heart and I understood a little of what Rinpoche taught years before in Joachimsthal.
I went to Merigar to meet Rinpoche again in 1993, recognizing him as my main Teacher.
Many retreats in different places followed.
My work on Dharma paintings clarified enormously and naturally after becoming Rinpoche’s student.
In 1985, while reading the book “Ways of Universal Responsibility“ by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, a small drawing of white Tara touched my heart and I painted her in front of the cave in La Gomera, Canary Islands, Spain, where I lived at that time.
In 1987 I went to India, always accompanied by my paintbox, colors and cartons, painting in a naturalistic way the landscapes of many holy places with their characteristic architecture and Yogis and Buddhas. I often traveled to places where Chödpas were practicing: in Swayambu, Namo Buddha, Bodhnath, Tso Pema and Bodhgaya; and to Lamayuru in Ladakh to study a long Chöd practice which I practiced for several years.
I started studying traditional Tibetan thanka painting in 1994 with Andy Weber in The Netherlands and in Menorca, Spain. Since then thanka painting has become an important part of my artwork. Nowadays I use acrylics, gouache and gold leaf on canvas and various wooden grounds.
Since 1993 I have been living in Northern Germany with my first love in a converted barn with a big studio and several rooms to show my works, as well as doing expositions in many different places.
Kay Kondrad receiving advice from Chögyal Namkhai Norbu about the illustrations for Ayu Khandro biography translated by Maria Simmons, upcoming book by Shang Shung Publications, during 2017 Mandarava retreat in Dzamling Gar.