October Leaves are Falling.

Dear Fellow Iconographers:  ezwebdetail

I’m finally accepting that summer is over, now that the leaves are falling like so many angels falling from the sky to earth.  I have some interesting links that I’d like to share with you:

Introduction to Icon Writing class at the Arts Center of the Capital Region , Troy, beginning Tuesday evenings, 6-9PM Oct 28 for 5 weeks. This class is a must for beginners!raphaelunframedweb

First, for egg tempera enthusiasts, here is an article written for Natural Pigments by a great contemporary egg tempera painter: Fred Wessel. It demonstrates thin glazing.

Second is the new Orthodox Art Journal post about Icons linking heaven and earth.

Also this link to a beautiful video from St. Petersburg showing the icon writing process.


This week in Hudson, NY, as part of ARTSWALK I am showing my new Ezekiel Icon as well as several others at the Elijah Slocum Antique shop on Warren Street.  Also have an exhibition of my paintings and Icons at the Christian Community Church in Hillsdale- my Holy Trinity Icon is there among several others.

My Icon cards are available for sale at O’Connor’s Church supply store in Albany.  And my Fine Art America site has three new icons available to purchase prints- they do a very nice job and have a wide range of mediums you can have it printed on.

NOTE TO ICON STUDENTS IN ALBANY: Monday, October 13, Icon Class is held at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church as usual, 6-9pm but Not having class October 20. Michael and I will be at our annual retreat Oct 20-24, for the Global Awakening Apostolic Network we are ordained through.rembrantweb

Hope to see or hear from you soon.

“We will keep before us the deepening and strengthening of our companions’ faith, assisting each other in meditation and prayer”.

from  the book of Celtic Daily Prayer, Northumbria Community






Intercessory Prayer and Painting

_MG_6742__Intercessory prayer is the act of praying on behalf of others. One can pray for one’s family, friends, the poor, World Peace, for a nation, while painting or writing Icons. Stories of Brother Laurence praying in the Monastery kitchen while peeling potatoes show us a humble and dedicated way to focus our prayers while engaging in other activities. When we are able to do this, we begin to be able to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) as Paul exhorts us.  I always love the moments in Icon writing class when you can almost hear the prayers in the beautiful silence of students working on their icons._MG_6651__


Phillip Schwartz and I visited the Clark Museum in August- eager to see the new photo copy 3renovation.  It was the perfect day to see it -warm sunny expanses of green rolling hills met the shallow reflecting pools in front of the modern addition. From inside viewing the Ancient Ritual Vessels from the Shanghai Museum it was a great contrast of inside-outside, nature-interior modern spaces and old versus new.  Phillip and I are in the same “Artist Way” group, exploring the spiritual discipline of writing morning pages every day along with other exercises to help focus our creative practices.

I lead the first Healing Icon Retreat in Saratoga Springs on Sept 6&7, now another one is scheduled for October 25&26.  _MG_6516__We have a waiting list for a possible one in November, so email if you’re interested.  It was an amazing weekend. Held in the beautiful Saratoga Springs home of Catherine Lanci, we had twelve students who eagerly encountered icon writing for the first time. Egg tempera and gold leaf gilding were demonstrated and each person left with their own individual icon of Archangel Raphael. Catherine and her husband John are gourmet cooks and we had lunch and dinner in the garden. Couldn’t have been better!  _MG_6623___MG_6745__





Visit the website:www.iconwritingclasses.com for updated information on icon writing classes. The Arts Center in Troy will be the location of the next introduction to Icon Writing course, starting October 28 and will run for 5 Tuesday evenings, 6-9PM. Give them a call to sign up!_MG_6523__

Last winter I heard a talk sponsored by the Catholic Artist’s Society by David Clayton called “The Way of Beauty” It was a fascinating talk and I thought pertained particularly to classical artists and iconographers. He has now created an interesting online course that I’ve been asked to review.  I hope to have that for you by the next blog.

COMING UP: At the Christian Community Church gallery in Hillsdale starting September 27 I will have an exhibition of some of my favorite Icons and landscapes. I will be giving a talk soon and will email the date.

The Beauregard Fine Arts exhibition is still up – visit if you can.

Kindest regards


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August News

Greetings Fellow Iconographers:   1932216_686372508136394_3658146590349146209_n

August has been filled with amazing weather, good friends and lots of house repairs!  Storm damage added to the list so it’s been challenging keeping to the teaching and painting schedule that is my regular studio practice but it’s been working out – with a little help from my friends.

Here are some Icon Classes that are ongoing or coming up that I am teaching – all egg tempera:   Here’s a photo of last Saturday’s class in Philmont

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  • Monday evenings 6-9pm Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, Albany, NY next class is Sept. 1 . We will celebrate  Labor Day – anyone know of an appropriate patron saint of Labor Day 🙂 ?  The class meets every Monday night in September and October, except October 20.
  • Thursday evenings 6-9PM  Cathedral of all Saints, Albany, NY meets August14, 21, Sept 4,11,18,25 and Oct. 2
  • Icon Healing Retreat, Saratoga, Sept 5&6 Fully subscribed  October 25 &26 some openings  available. Email  Catherine Lanci for a brochure and application: nurselanci@hotmail.com
  • Tuesday Evenings 6-9pm , Introduction to Icon Writing -5 weeks, Arts Center of the Capital Region, Troy, NY.


A photo from the opening reception for my landscape paintings  at Beauregard Fine Arts was fun and well attended- contact Kathy Donnelly for purchase information on the paintings.


Some of my students have their icons go to some very lovely people and places- here are some examples: Dahlia Herring’s Theotokos-Hodigitria is at St. Francis Catholic Church, Albany and her Teresa of Jesus Icon is at the Mount Carmel Convent in Maryland.  Michael Shirk’s Holy Father Augustine Icon is with the Augustinians of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Philadelphia, PA and Jennifer Richard-Morrow’s Elouisa Madonna is in a private collection.

Michael Shirk, one of the Albany Icon students is a gifted musician and also editor. He has created an English Book of Votives and several other prayer books that are available on Rene Villate Press.

I leave you with a quote from a painting I am working on this next week. It is from the book of Joshua 1:7  “Be strong and very courageous.  Obey all the laws Moses gave you.  Do not turn away from them, and you will be successful in everything that you do.”       May God bless you and the World with His peace and love.

Christine Hales

www.newchristianicons.com       www.kingdomartsministry.com

www.christinehales.com      British Association of Iconographers


Healing Icon Retreat in Saratoga

Dear Friends:dash

Getting ready to enjoy this beautiful summer – and paint as much as possible! The opening for my exhibition at Beauregard Fine Arts in Rumson, NJ will be on July 31, 5-8PM. Hope to see some of you there!  Eachmorning18x18%22

Saw two films lately I recommend: the first is an exquisite animation called “The Secret of Kells”. On Hulu plus. It’s a beautiful story about the importance of sacred artwork – the Book of Kells in this instance.  The other is Paul Simon’s “Graceland” documentary about the making of that album, the tour, and running into apartheid in South Africa.  A beautiful story of an artists’ creativity and struggle to deal with political conflict. Both are inspiring!

From the Iconographic viewpoint, I have a blog post to recommend: Orthodox Arts Journal’s recent post contains an interview with Athens based Iconographer George Kordis, who wrote the book:”Icon as Communion” which we use in our ion writing class in albany. Here the link:  The Art of Icon Painting in a Postmodern World: Interview with George Kordis.

This summer an Icon writing class is beginning at the Cathedral of All Saints in Albany on most Thursday evenings 6-9PM starting July 10. Email me to learn more.

Also happy to announce I’ll be teaching a Healing Icon Writing Retreat in Saratoga, Sept.6 & 7.  We will write the IArchangel-Rafaelcon of Archangel Raphael in the Italian style of iconography – using egg tempera and gold leaf gilding, as always.  This is in preparation for our Art/Icon Culture Trip to Italy 2015.

More information on current classes can be found on www.iconwritingclasses.com

Until next time, I bless you with favor in restoring and rebuilding the community around you, and inspiration to be the wings for your art.

Christine Simoneau Hales

www.christinehales.com      www.newchristianicons.com



June Art/Icon News!

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This summer I’m teaching Icon writing at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, 63 Mountainview Rd, Albany,  on the following dates: June 9, 23, July 7, 14, 28, August 4 and 11.  Classes are from 6-9pm.

Also teaching icon writing at  a Summer Icon Retreat at the Christian Community in Hillsdale, NY on August 3-9. You do not need to be an artist to attend but you do need to register by July 10! 518-325-6749


Sotheby’s is offering summer online courses that look interesting for artists: here’s the link.

If you enjoy seeing good contemporary painting, here’s a link to the recent Bushwick open studios2014, that has a surprising number of beautiful paintings in it.

I’m having a show of my landscape paintings at Beauregard Fine Art, Rumson, NJ, July 30-August.  Call Kathy to preview.

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Working on my new Ezekiel icon, will post it when finished. Here’s my Burning Bush Icon .  I love the way Moses and Mary& Christ appear together in Eternity.  The opposite of “real time” !  burnignbush.web

Until next month, enjoy and write back!







Woodstock and Frieze!

Dear Artists and Iconographers:

This past month I gave three talks in Woodstock – two at Saint Gregory’s Episcopal Church in honor of the Icon exhibition Hatti Iles curated, and one at WAAM- Woodstock Artists Association Museum.

The talk at WAAM was about thinking of Icons and modern art.  Understanding and being able to create  a twenty first century Icon is certainly the task of contemporary iconographers today.  “The purpose of art is nothing less than the upliftment of the human spirit.” Pope John Paul II


Excerpt from my Woodstock talk:

From the moment that Matisse arrived in Russia in 1911 he became excited and overwhelmed by the beauty and artistic excellence of the icons he saw everywhere.  “In these icons the soul of the artist who painted them opens out like a mystical flower.  And from them we ought to learn how to understand art” Matisse.  “The father of the European Avant -garde discovered (in icons) everything modern art had been strenuously seeking – color applied locally, linear composition, expressive silhouettes, two dimensionality, and image as sign.” Irina Yazykova.

So pursuing the connection between iconography and art making in the 21st Century is an ongoing exploration! Hope you join with me as it progresses!

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So, visiting the Art Fairs in NYC last weekend was a highpoint for me – so many creative ideas and people from all over the world.

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I saw the Whitney Biennial, too.  I had heard there was more “painting” in this year’s show, and there was. But not enough!  It’s good news,though, that painting is making a come back in the contemporary art world.


The summer schedule for Icon class in Albany is: We DO HAVE class on: June 2, 9, 23And July 7,14,28, and August 4 and 11.

No Icon Class in Albany Memorial Day!photo copy 11

Sunday, May 25 at Christian Community Church, 10 Green River Lane, Hillsdale, NY Blessing of the Icons written by the Philmont Iconography class of Free Columbia Art School. 10:30 Am Service, 12:00 Icon Blessing

WOODSTOCK ICON WRITING CLASS ON SABBATICAL! Email your interest in the next one starting up in the fall.


The Jubilee Museum in Ohio is mounting an exhibition, Deadline August 29 for submission, with a call to artists:  http://www.jubileemuseum.org/forms/SacredArtBiennial.pdf

That’s all for now: Until next month, I bless you with greater understanding and larger perspective than most people have, that you may enjoy His peace, and know that God holds the ultimate perspective.

Blessings,         popefrancisweb


www.christinehales.com      www.iconwritingclasses.com,   www.newchristianicons.com



April is Holy Fool Month!

According to Mathew Woodley, who wrote “Holy Fools” , the main qualification of a Holy Fool is following Jesus with reckless abandon.  “Only a fool would attempt to change the world with a simple message of love and peace…” St. John Chrysostom.

photo copy 15 Saint Anthony’s ability to apply spiritual discipline was so extreme as to manifest in  victory even over the demons!  He demonstrated that , according to poet Kathleen Norris, asceticism is “a radical way of knowing who, what, and where you are in defiance of those powerful forces in society…that aim to make us forget..”.   (Holy Fools, Woodley).  I think that icon writing, as a form of spiritual discipline, helps us on that path of spiritual discernment and asceticism, a confidence in who we are in Christ, that brings us closer to “a heart overflowing with the inexpressible delight of love.”

The Icon Talk at Saint Gregory’s Episcopal Church was well received and the exhibition is a lovely collection of 32 beautiful icons, different stylistically, but all radiating the same holiness and beauty.  Worth seeing if you can get to Woodstock on a Sunday morning.

Coming up in Woodstock:  WAAM  April 26, 4PM.  “Concerning the Spiritual in Art”  I’ll give a talk connecting Icons with Matisse, Chagall, Kandinsky and the Blue Rider School and speculate on how that plays out in the New Renaissance in Iconography today. Free and open to all.

Woodstock Icon Writing Class:  Mondays, 1-4 PM Beginning June 2; See my website for more details on Icon Writing Classes


This Saturday is the opening Reception for this faces exhibition I curated and partnered with Columbia County Arts Council and Columbia County Chamber of Commerce to present some great art and we will hear from some talented writers who will share their readings on April 12, too. Free and part of Hudson’ below 3rd Dine Arts Celebration – Come and See!

Faces announcement low res 72dpi


Here is the most recent video with Sister Vassa:  All Iconography students will gain important information – a must see!    It is well done and humorous.

Coffee with Sister Vassa Ep 24, ( Week 5 of Lent)


Here is a link to a beautiful art/faces video.    Really a treat to watch!   stlukeweb

I’m unveiling my newest, favorite icon at the opening reception and it shall remain a mystery until this Saturday!  I’ll include it next month for those who can’t make the Hudson show.  This one of Saint Luke is also a recent one.

The Vatican is apparently digitizing 41 million pages of  ancient manuscripts: click here for more information on that one.


Art News article in the April, 2014,  issue: “Icons on the Barricades” by Konstantin Akinsha refers specifically to Kyiv anti government clashes where artists created various forms of interactive art to participate in the protest.  Interesting that they would use the word “Icon” in the title, but they were referring more to contemporary artists. However, there have been Orthodox priests carrying icons on the battle front too.  Food for thought.

One last note:  David Clayton’s Blog :The Way of Beauty” has an interesting post on naturalism in sacred art.  Worth reading to clarify that important issue.

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Blessings and prayers to you all. Please keep our School of Iconography and Saint Luke’s Guild of Iconographers in your prayers as you are in ours!


Christine Simoneau Hales





Lent and March!

Hello Fellow Art Lovers and Iconographers:

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This month we’ve not seen an end to snow storms but have Lent with Easter to look forward to.  Saint Gregory’s Episcopal Church in Woodstock, New York started Lent off with a beautiful icon exhibition curated by Hattie Ilse.  It will be on view in the church until after Easter, with an April 6 special program after the service (12:30).  I’ll be giving a talk on Icons and the other Iconographers will meet and greet all those who come and stay for refreshments.

I wanted to share this link to  “Coffee with Sister Vanessa” – a fun yet informative video series. This one is for Lent and talks about iconoclasm.


Coffee with Sister Vanessa

Also a link here to The Museum of Russian Icons in Clinton Massachusetts. They have ongoing classes and workshops.

I’m curating an exhibition inHudson,New York that opens March 27 with an Artists’s Reception on April 12 from 5-8PM.  It’s a beautiful show with “Faces” in widely different styles by four women artists.  I will have my two newest favorite icons in it!  Secret- you have to come see it to see what they are!Faces announcement low res 72dpi

Also wanted to share an amazing talk given by the former Archbishop of Canterbury – given the day after his resignation.  This talk goes into the theology behind icons in a way that is as thoughtful and insightful as you would expect.  “Idols, Images, and Icons” by Dr. Rowan Williams.

Want to mention a couple of open calls for artists local to the Hudson Valley area: Saint Luke’s Episcopal Church, Catskill NY, from my friend Madeline Behrman: First Annual Thomas Cole Weekend, May 10 & 11- Application Deadline April 21.       Spencertown Academy Open Call for artwork  Deadline July 15, Exhibition to be in the fall.  Any questions feel free to ask me.     IMG_4306

I have a new icon writing class starting in Troy at the Arts Center of the Capital Region on March 20, Thursdays 1-4PM.  Still a couple of spaces available!

Until next time,be well and send in your links, or comments that you’d like to share.




February Inspiration

Icon Exhibition In Troy at the Arts CenterIt takes a lot of inspiration to make it through all these snow storms!! On the right I am standing in front of my “Baptism of Jesus” icon currently on view at the Arts Center of the Capital Region in Troy, NY.Christ the Healer2civa

There is an interesting exhibition at the museum of Russian icons this month “The Symbolism of Color”.  Here’s the link: Russian Icon Museum.  I plan to visit February 27th.

On the left here is my original “Christ the Healer” Icon which was commissioned for Father Nigel Mumford.  The seven scenes around Christ are seven stories of Christ healing – each one is repeated in at least three of the Gospels.  This tile of icon is called a “Vitae” icon because it has scenes from the life of the saint, who is in this case, Jesus Christ.

In my studio this month I’m exploring a few contemporary “Memorial Portraits” . I’ve been reading biographies of Nelson Mandela all winter ( a very good one is: “Mandela” by Anthony Sampson)  and find such a wealth of inspiration in how he lived his life. He was far from a perfect person, often making mistakes, but he had such an ability to have deep enduring, mentoring relationships in his life.photo copy 8  He also mentored many of the young revolutionaries while in prison. So Mandela’s need for and value of relationship  helped to keep him on track in a constantly changing political world. His faith, too, in the victory of his cause for freedom for all people helped him overcome so many hardships. He kept his focus on that goal and befriended many people who were his oppressors so that his goal could be accomplished.     Here’s a preview of my “Nelson” memorial portrait – almost finished!

News: I have a page on Saatchi Online Gallery for my landscapes; Click here to view it.  Also a page on Artspan: Click here.

I will leave you with three ideas on what to do if you’re an artist who is snowed in for the fourteenth time this winter:   1. Order art supplies from Dick Blick – check out the minimum for free delivery and check their websites for the discount of the day. (click the red “save now” button at the top of the page and see what you can get!)   2.  Take an online class from Skill Share.  I’m taking pencil portraits for this snow storm and it’s fun! There’s a $10 discount for each of us if I refer a friend so let me know if you want to try that. 3. Spend an extra 3 hours in your studio – you’ll be glad you did!!

Cheers, everyone!  Looking forward to your comments!




January Icon News and Links

Sign up For Free Monthly Icon Blogs!    photo copy

The nice thing about writing icons is that whether it is “January Freeze” or “January Thaw”, you can usually manage things to be able to write icons for a few hours a day!

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My new “Christ” icon study has accompanied my prayers over the last two weeks in the area of inner healing.  Particularly  the idea that Christ came to FORGIVE us of our sins. That call for us also to forgive has been part of the prayer journey for this icon.  I really love it!  It’s almost finished now.

“The degree to which art has a liturgical quality is in direct ratio to the spiritual freedom of the artist.” from The Meaning of Icons by Leonid Ouspensky

I think that making twenty first century icons has to incorporate the Traditions of the Church as well as spiritual freedom.  Andrey Rublev in the Fifteenth Century being able to occupy that place of Spiritual freedom, training,  and artistic skill points toward what we aspire to today.     photo copy 6

The icon class I teach in New York is a spiritual and artistic container for the students and myself to grow in relationship to each other, God, and the icons.  It’s an honor to be able to serve such a courageous group of people.

The Art Center in Troy, New York is hosting a student/faculty exhibition of our icons later this month. Here’s the description and you are invited!

Contemporary Icon
January 31 – March 2, 2014 | Faculty Student Gallery
Reception: Friday, January 31, 5-9PM at Troy Night Out | Artist Demonstration at 6:30PM

              image001Master iconographer and faculty member, Christine Simoneau Hales will exhibit her icon paintings along with selected pieces from her past students.  Icon writing is a traditional method of painting that dates back to the ancient Byzantine era of using egg tempera, rare natural pigments and gold leaf gilding to create beautiful works of art. Hales takes the step-by-step method of classical painting and infuses it with contemporary inspirations all while keeping with the spiritual subjects found in these works on panel.

I came across the website that offers short introductory art and business classes that looks very good.  Here’s the  link:     Skillshare

Also a link for icon boards that I use and like: St. John’s Workshop.

One last quote from Ouspensky and The Meaning of Icons book to leave you with:

“For a true iconographer, creation is the way of asceticism  and prayer, that is, essentially, a monastic way.”

TO see a gallery of my completed icons visit my website, New Christian Icons. 



Christine Simoneau Hales