Hello Fellow Iconographers and Friends:
Last Sunday, in Pentecost, the beautiful eight Icon panels for St. Vincent’s Church in Albany, NY, were unveiled and dedicated. It was a glorious celebration as they were warmly and enthusiastically welcomed into St. Vincent’s Church! Father Richard Vosco reminded us that as we are looking at the Icons, they are looking back at us! This invitation to draw near to God is a striking quality of Icons.
“Gradually the Icon will re-educate us, correcting any inclination we may have to think of God as harsh or distant (Psalm 103:8). It will call to mind his loving kindness and infinite humility. We should ask, like the monks and mystics of the East, that a ray of uncreated light-God’s transfiguring grace-may shine in the darkness of our hearts. Then a spring of compassion will rise up in us to flow out to all who are in need.” The Glenstall Book of Icons, Gregory Collins, OSB
Certainly the Saints depicted in the Icons speak to a life of compassion for the poor and downtrodden: Saint Vincent de Paul, Louise de Marillac, Dorothy Day, Elizabeth Ann Seton, Kateri Tekakwitha, Pope John XXIII, Saint Francis, and Rose of Lima. It was an honor and a privilege to work on the Icons for a church like Saint Vincent’s who’s motto is “radical hospitality” and unity. The scale of the 48 x 36″ Icons fit perfectly in the arched alcove and worked with the placement of the altar in the center of the worship space to convey the feeling that we were worshipping with “the communion of saints”. Betsy Rowe-Manning, church administrator, created a beautiful sheer gold veil that was pulled down during the worship, allowing for a clear view of all the Icons for the first time. Breathtaking moment! I was blessed to have my son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter in attendance, along with Iconographer friends from the St. Luke’s Guild present. Special thanks to Thomas Nelson for his expert installation of the Icons!
This coming week – June1-5, I will be taking a course with Russian Iconographers from St. Petersburg, Philip and Olga Davydov, held at the Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington DC. They have a unique style and vision which is well informed since Philip learned Iconography from his father, a Russian Orthodox priest.
Here are s ome quotes from their website that give me the impression that theirs is an evolving genuine sacred art, working to create a contemporary visual language for today’s Iconography: Sacred Murals.com
“One can say that Philip and Olga typify a new generation in icon-painting in the sense that they relate to a new stage of its development.”
” they have developed their original style, while upholding strict canon rules and deep tradition. In the modern Orthodox art these qualities often do not blend. ”
“Meanwhile, modern copies attain neither the depth of spirituality, nor the artistic quality of the ancient monuments. The period of replicas has been exhausted; nevertheless some iconographers persist in cloning old masterpieces.”
The “New generation icon painters proved to be more creative and free. Even though young artists were mastering traditional icon-painting technology, following the canons, and referring to the ancient samples, they nevertheless have quickly realized that copying, once useful at the time of studies, prevented them from creating a genuine sacred image. Based on a centuries-old tradition, it must express today’s faith and acquire a language of its own. ”
Don’t Forget the upcoming Introduction to Icon Writing Retreat on June 12-14 in Hillsdale, NY. The total cost, including lunch,, snacks, and materials is $215.00. Friday night, all day Saturday and Sunday afternoon schedule. We have a limited amount of lodging available from the Christian Community church so reserve now. Email:Christine@newchristianicons.com
This month’s featured Iconographer is Veronica Royal, a fellow Iconographer I met in Washington DC. She works primarily in acrylics and travels widely with her writer husband, Robert Royal while at the same time maintaining a popular weekly Icon writing workshop on Saturday mornings.
Veronica is sponsoring Romanian Iconographer Daniel Necula, June 22-27. His Iconographic style incorporates both the Greek and the Russian styles. She agrees that teaching Iconography is a big responsibility and can only be done through prayer and incorporating all the Canons so that people can read the Icons correctly. That is especially important when creating prototypes for new Icons. Studying with Iconographers from Russia, Greece and Europe, is one way of maintaining an Iconographic practice that allows for creativity and honoring the traditions. Her website is: Royal Icon Studio in Annandale, VA. Veronica is part of the worldwide Iconographic renaissance, maintaining a studio in the Washington DC area.
Bless you all, please keep my work in prayer, as I do yours! One of Dorothy Day’s mottos was “Work and Pray”! I second that!