Dear Fellow Iconographers:
Teaching Icon classes as I do in monasteries, churches and art centers, the question that always arises at the end of class: How can I continue with Icon painting? Practice is what I always say. For that reason, this month’s blog for the American Association of Iconographers is a collection of information and links to help with further studies.
Ideally, someone who is learning to write Icons will choose a style or a teacher which whom to study. But even with that, one can only realistically take one or two workshops per year. What to do in the meantime? Here are my suggestions:
Using sketch paper and pencil, draw as much as possible. Copy Icons from books, prints, or the internet. Drawing is the number one art skill needed in Icon writing, as it is in all painting. Learning to think on paper is a valuable skill. A book that I recommend to beginners is: Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards. You can copy Icons in some of her exercises and you will be surprised at how quickly your drawing will improve.
Use watercolor paper and the four basic color of Icon writing: red ochre, black, white and yellow ochre. Make color and tonal studies of Icons on water color paper. Again, this simple practice will yield large results.
Icon Retreats and Workshops
For those who choose to study with me, here is a link to upcoming classes. My teaching method is always evolving and inspired by my prayer life. I particularly enjoy helping students who have had some experience writing Icons and now want to create their own Icon (still copied from before the Renaissance). If you do sign up for one of my classes and wish to do this, please email me well before the class date so that we can prepare you for getting the most out of the retreat.
Resources for viewing Iconographic Imagery
Kolomenskaya Versta is a site selling Icon books and materials. It is based in Russia and they regularly post free images to copy as well as links to all kinds of Iconographic information. Also known as Russian Modern Orthodox Icon, here is a link to their FB page.
Online illuminated Manuscripts from Open Culture. Also, the Book of Kells on line.
A beautiful FB page with many good examples of Byzantine Icons- Byzantine Art
Museum of Russian Icons, 203 Union Street, Clinton, Mass. There is an exhibition of Prosopon Icons currently in addition to their permanent collection.
Resources for Icon Materials
Natural Pigments They have pigments, red clay, gold leaf adhesives, brushes, etc..
Kremer Pigments has a shop in NYC but you can also order on linear an immense array of pigment choices and other materials like stand oil, linseed oil, etc.
Pandora- Pigment sets, Painting Tools, Porcelain Palette
Gold Leaf and Gilding Supplies
Sepp Leaf www.seppleaf.com
Golden Leaf Products www.goldenleafproducts.com
Gold Leaf Wholesalers LA Gold
Pandora Icon Boards, New York
St. John’s Workshop Icon boards
Icon Painting Videos from You Tube
Villanova University– full process of painting an Icon.
Julia Brigit Hayes teaches online classes for drawing and painting Icons
Prosopon School of Iconology teaches workshops nationally. Another short video of their technique.
East X West online Icon Course with Sr. Petra offers many video tutorials and a thorough grounding in Iconographic history, drawing and painting.
That’s all for this month. Please let me know if this has helped you, and I wish you peace and joy in spreading the beauty of Icons throughout the world!