New Beginnings

Hello Friends and Iconographers:

Celebrating the end of a long cold winter by starting new Icons! I’m hoping to get started on my Saint Brigit, one of the most remarkable Irish Saints of the fifth Century,  by the first of May.  Brigit saw God in nature and was said to have believed the dew, particularly in the month of May,photo was holy and cleansing.

I’ve finished a Christ”Not Made with Human Hands” Icon that will be in an exhibition of my landscapes at the Chatham Bookstore, opening May 8.

_MG_2146 (1)We’re hoping the eight large – 4’x3′ Icons for Saint Vincent dePaul’s Church in Albany will be installed on Pentecost, May 24 this year.  I will send out an invite when it is finalized.

 

FEATURED ICONOGRAPHER  

Each month in this blog, I hope to feature an Iconographer and his/her work, so that we can become familiar with the depth and breadth of Iconography as it is being practiced today. This month’s featured iconographer is Peter Pearson, the author of “A Brush With God: An Icon Workbook”.  I always love seeing his recent Icons- truly  beautiful expressions of his life in prayer and community.

 

vladimir doc 3From Peter:      “For the last 45 years, Byzantine icons have been a passion and driving force in my life. I love looking at them, studying them, praying with them, and painting them. Even now, after all this time, I’m pretty sure I’ve only scratched the surface. Rather than seeing icons as some lost and tragically frozen art form, I see them as a dynamically evolving part of the Christian witness through the ages. They have been a part of my contemplative practice, especially in the painting. That’s the place where I dissolve and there is only the brush stroke and the prayer. Through the icons I paint, the books I have written, and the classes I teach, I get to share this amazing adventure with others and I love it.joseph finished
As an iconographer who uses contemporary materials (acrylic paints), I am often challenged to defend my practice and that’s a bit exhausting. The witness of the centuries testifies to the fact that in every age, iconographers have used many different media to created these holy images. For me, as well as for many others, the point is prayer and not what the paint is made of. Like one of my teachers, Phil Zimmerman always says: “You can make a religion out of anything, including eggs.” I prefer not to and it’s working for me.” 

4 revised (2)For information on his workshops and full bio visit Peter ‘s website : peterpearsonicons.com.

Just a passing news note: My FB friend Dylan Hartley posted that he and Aidan Hart are in Rome visiting the Pope in honor of an Icon Aidan did for him.  Praise God!  I’m so excited for them!

And lastly, I’m offering a weekend Introduction to Icon Writing retreat :

INTRODUCTION TO ICON WRITING June 12-14
Dates: June 12-14 Christian Community, 10 Green River Lane, Hillsdale, NY 12529
We will be writing the Saint Michael Icon in the Russian/Byzantine tradition with egg tempera and gold leaf gilding. We will be painting Archangel Michael.   Weekend Retreat: Starting Friday night 6-9PM, Saturday 9am to 5pm and Sunday 1-5PM Mid morning and mid afternoon break, lunch provided, It will be fast paced, with demonstrations and individual teaching instruction. Cost : $215.00 Includes meals and materials. To register email: Christine@newchristianicons.com, or chales@halesart.com.

“Those who have cleansed the eye of their soul and are capable of seeing beautiful things make the visible become a springboard for the contemplation of the spiritual”  Gregory of Nyssa

Blessings and love,

Christine

www.newchristianicons.com

www.christinehales.com

www.kingdomartsministry.com

 

January New Beginnings

Dear Fellow Iconographers:

Even through the freezing temperatures and snow storms, Icons are still being made in New York!  I’m about half way through the series of large Icons for Saint Vincent’s Catholic Church in Albany.  There are eight panels, 4’x3′ in egg tempera with gold leaf gilding, _MG_9706__ (2) _MG_9698__ (2) photoof Holy people- some of them like Dorothy Day, Elizabeth Ann Seton, Louise De Marillac, Pope John XXIII, and Kateri, have not often been portrayed  through Iconography. It’s exciting!  And exactly what I’m interested in -creating Icons for contemporary (within the last 150 years) Holy people who perhaps have not had Icons created of them yet.  Here are a few work-in progress photos: Saints Louise de Marillac, Rose of Lima and St. Francis drawing, and Pope John XXIII.

CURRENT AND UPCOMING  ICON WRITING CLASSES

Albany: Ongoing Advanced Iconography Workshop, meets weekly, Monday evenings 6- 9pm, Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, Albany, NY

Hillsdale:  Christian Community Church, Hillsdale, NY, Beginning Icon Writing Class, Thursday evenings 6-9pm

New York City: Saint James Episcopal Church, NYC, Introduction to Icon Writing Retreat, Fri-Sun, February 20-22.  

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Troy, New York, Arts Center of the Capital Region, Introduction to Icon Writing Wednesdays 2-5PM, Feb. 25-March 25

The Museum of Russian of Icons is having an exhibition of Ethiopian Icons from January 23 through April 18.  We hope to have a field trip sometime in March.

EthiopiaX14-smallRecommended book of this month: Danny Silk: Culture of Honor-Sustaining a Supernatural Environment.

Until next month, Blessings and prayers,

Christine

Christine Simoneau Hales

Icons

Paintings

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

Christine

PS Don’t forget to sign up to receive this blog for free.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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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.

WHERE DO THE ICONS GO?

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

 

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.

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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.

Blessings,

Christine

www.newchristianicons.com

Christmas and Joy!

Dear Fellow Iconographers and Friends:   photo copy 14

This is a time of year for all of us to truly participate in Christ’s Presence amongst us.  I am starting a new icon of the face of Christ (from a Byzantine model) to carry me through the Christmas season with prayer and thanksgiving to our savior.

The other icon I’ve started recently is that a of Saint Benedict, from a Fra Angelico model.  photo copy 13

In the weekly  icon class I teach in Albany, New York we have been reading Esther DeWaal’s book “Seeking God” as a way of incorporating a Spiritual rule within our fellowship and practice.   “..writing his rule with a community of laymen in mind, his very clear grasp of the principles underlying the commitment underlying the vows remains applicable and valuable to all who are trying to follow Christ.” We are studying this book and its possible applications to iconography.

Here is my Saint Benedict – about 3/4 finished.    The best part is the finishing!

My website about teaching Iconography has just been updated with a new materials page for those who want to take class and are curious about what materials are needed.  There are useful links for purchasing materials on the site.

Recently one of my spiritual mentors, Randy Clark blessed two of my icons at a conference in PA.  Here is the video that my husband, Mick, took of the moment.  Randy Clark is a non denominational Pastor and teacher with a world wide ministry of healing.  He was praying that God’s healing grace would bless people through the icons. One of my icons is on the cover of his wonderful teaching on Communion.

hm-141_t

One of my early teachers-Vladislav Andreyev has created a lovely instructional video on how to write an icon which I highly recommend.  Here is a link to a promotional video which shows some of the steps of icon writing and describes his dvd.

 

That’s all for this month.  Have a wonderful, Christ filled Christmas!  As always I look forward to your comments and iconography events.  If you email me with icon information I will try to post it in the next blog.

Blessings,
Christine Simoneau Hales

www.newchristianicons.com                  www.christinehales.com