Rainy Spring!

Alan Crite Icon by Christine Hales
Allan Crite Icon by Christine Hales

Greetings Fellow Iconographers!

This spring has been rainy and cold here in upstate New York.  Normal for Spring, but what seems to be in short supply are warm sunny days in-between!  Good weather to begin some new Icons, that’s what I say!

Four Anglo/Catholic Saints
Four Anglo/Catholic Saints written by Christine Hales

My newest Icons were all shipped off to their new homes: Two to Seattle, The one with the Four Anglo/Catholic Saints, Father James Otis Sargent Huntington, OHC founder of the Order of the Holy Cross, Fr. Richard Meux Benson, SSJE, Mother Harriet Monsell, CSJB, and Priscilla Lydia Sellon.  Also to Seattle went the Icon of Allan Rohan Crite, known as the Dean of Liturgical painting in Boston.  Each of these people were inspiring in the way God moved through them in the worlds they lived in, to affect and change the status quo around them.  Showing them to my five year old granddaughter prompted her to ask “Can I be a Saint?”.  What a good question! So sweet!

The other new one is my recent St. Michael  Fighting the Dragon which is now in Miami.

St. Michael in Battle Icon
St. Michael in Battle by Christine Hales

I particularly like the way the Scripture quotation in this one calls us to remember who won/wins the heavenly battle!

The Canons in Creating Icons

One of the things I deal with often with students and clients is the question “what is it that makes an Icon a good contemporary  Icon?”  While it’s impossible to come up with a concise definition, there are some guidelines that apply. In this month’s blog, I want to speak a little about the Canons of Iconography.

Icons are sacred, or holy pictures in that they represent either a Gospel story or a Saint and are intended to draw us into the world of heaven as we look at them. They are created by an Iconographer who lives a prayerful, fasting lifestyle and who prays while they paint the Icon. It therefore is the bearer of prayers and beauty to the viewer.

On Canonicity in Icons, the following is an excerpt from  a “Road to Emmaus” interview with well-known French Iconographer, Emilie Van Taack. She was a faithful student of Leonid Ouspensky

…There is only one rule, Rule 82, decreed by the Council in Trulo, part of the Sixth Ecumenical Council. This is the iconographic canon, in which it is stated that icon painter must follow older painter, that they must be in this stream of tradition, but exactly how they are to do this is not described. What is stated is that an icon must show both the humility of the Man Jesus and His glory as God; that is, it must manifest the Incarnation. In an icon of the Lord, you must be able to see that this man who is preseneted is not only man, but also God. You must see the Person of Christ. The Council made this rule because at this period there were still some symbolic representations, like in the early Church, representing Christ by a fish, or as a sheperd, or as a lamb – not the hypostatic representation of the Person of Jesus Christ. The Council said that all of these symbolic representations are like the shadows of the Old Testament. Since we have been illumined by the truth of the New Testament, we no longer use these old and outdated symbols, but we must present Christ Himself. Who incarnated into a human body and can be represented in the body. This is the only canon, the only rule of the Church. 

In defining what is “canonical” in icon painting, we have, of course, many beautiful old canonical icons to refer to. But canonicity is difficult to define. I cannot tell you what is canonical, because icons themselves define the canons. It is a circle, and we must accept it like this. By looking at these beautiful icons, studying them, copying them, little by little they help you to see yourself this image of Christ, and then you will be able to paint it without looking to the old, because you will have it in your own heart. This is a saving situation, because in this way we cannot possess the canon: it is a free gift that God gives or takes back as He wills.”

The above is an excerpt from Anna Dumoulin’s Iconography website.  (Daughter of  Father Andrew Tregubov)

Here are some Icon writing Resources I’ve come across this past month that you might enjoy:

A short video by Iconographer Gilles Wessman that shows stages of writing an Icon of Anne&Joachim.

Water gilding sort video by Ian Knowles – gives a quick overview of the process,

Article about supports for Icon writing– egg tempera painting and new absorbent ground.

 An article about Fr. Gregory Kroug.

Christ Icon by Gregory Krug

Also, please note that there is now on this site an Icon Resources page .  Please email me with suggestions about links to add there in the future.

I’d like to close here with a quote from Father Andrew Tregubov taken from the book, published by St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press,  “Light of Christ”  Father Tregubov compiled on the works of contemporary Iconographer Gregory Kroug:

“One of the wonders of our Creator is that everything in His creation is unique.  The ” Great Artificer” touches the tiniest creature with a very special personal touch, expressing His love for it.  He never comes to us in an impersonal way, but instead reveals Himself in the context of a real personal relationship . The Icons , in the same way, are never made for the Church in general but for individual persons who pray before them and venerate them.  God, in His boundless love, already knows all people, even those in the future; and He inspires the Iconographer in such a way that the Icon will truly be His personal revelation for those who will see it.”

May your Icon writing be blessed,

Christine Hales

Icon Website                Icon Writing Classes Website             Fine Art Website

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Stories of Saints and Icons

Dear Fellow Iconographers

Crucifixion Icon
Crucifixion Icon by Christine Hales

Have you ever wondered about the stories associated with Saints and Icons- how they have been carried down through the ages?  Joseph Campbell spoke in “The Power of the Myth” about how human beings have a thirst and hunger for stories that can help them understand and give significance and meaning to their experiences in present time.

The stories of St. Nicholas helping the poor, or St. Francis preaching to the birds, or the modern day story of the marine being saved by Saint Michael in the trenches in Korea in 1950, and so many more, are thoughts that keep us going when things are difficult.

Stories about Mary, her graceful obedience to God’s plan for her life and the many blessings that followed, and  Kateri Tekakwitha’s life of prayer and faith inspire us to stand  for God’s plans for our lives.  In Icon class we read recently about “obedience” and how that played out in the lives of some of the prophets.

These Icons, saints and stories add richness to the fabric of our lives. They lend strength and hope to our everyday lives.  If you know of any good books or reading materials that focus on  miracles and stories of saints, please share those in the comments section of this blog.  Winter is coming and a good reading list will be a help to us all!

Here is a link to the “Icons and Their Interpretation” blog that tells the lovely story of Saint Irene and Her apples.  I think you’ll enjoy it!

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St. Irene

Another interesting link I’d like to share is about a contemporary Byzantine graffiti artist Fikos in Athens, from an interview in “The Orthodox Arts Journal.

Fikos
Greek Graffitti Iconographer Fikos
Hippocrates-632x900
Hippocrates by Fikos

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s a link to a description of a new Icon class I will be teaching in Philmont, NY this fall on Thursday evenings beginning Sept 15, 6-9PM

Upcoming Classes and RETREATS:

Holy Cross Monastery, West Park, NY:

June 16-18, 2017 Introduction to Icon Writing Class

March 21 – Friday, March 24 Advanced Master Class in Icon Writing

St. James Episcopal Church, Madison Ave. NYC

June 9-11, 2017  Introduction to Icon Writing

ADVANCED ICON WRITING CLASS IN ALBANY  Westminster Presbyterian Church

Monday evenings 6-9PM  New students beginning Sept. 19.

Be blessed, my friends, and keep us in your prayers, as you are in ours.

Christine Hales                      Icon Website             Contemporary Paintings Website

Fikos
I Was Born to Love Not Hate by Fikos

 

Heat Wave and Icons!

Hello Fellow Iconographers and Greetings:

Christine at the High Line Garden in NYC
Christine at the High Line Garden in NYC

Polar Bear Zinnia in Christine's garden in Hudson Valley
Polar Bear Zinnia in Christine’s garden in Hudson Valley

The month of July has been consistently hot and so beautiful here in the Hudson Valley. Although temperatures usually reach 90 degrees+ each day, Icons are still being created and the Monday night class keeps working right on throughout all!  Here’s a photo of Carol MacNaughtons’ Saint Michael in the process of being olifa-ed.

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Also, now some works in progress photos for the Saint Kateri and Saint Isaac Jogues I am working on for the RCDA new Mausoleum.  I love working large!

The Monday Night Advanced Icon writing class will be accepting new students after Labor Day: September 12.  Please email if you would like to begin at that time. christine@newchristianicons.com

Also, Starting a 10 week Icon Writing Class in the Hudson, NY area, Thursday evenings, 6-9PM, September 15- December 1.  email if you’re interested in attending: christine@newchristianicons.com

THE VALUE OF ICONS IN THE POST MODERN WORLD

Icons are conveyors of holiness, sacredness, beauty and God’s love for mankind. Because Icons are vessels containing these attributes, they are essential in the continuing formation of our society and culture.  In a world seemingly gone mad, they are light filled and providers of God’s peace and love.

Icons that are created in an atmosphere of prayer to God, and with training in art principles and spiritual discipline cannot help but provide a spiritual compass to those viewing them.  This kind Icon becomes a visible testimony of God’s grace as it blesses the creator and the viewer.

” There is a deeper realization of God’s Presence available to us.  Through the coming of Christ and the Holy Spirit, God wishes to dwell within us in a new way: not in a mode of which we are largely unconscious, or as a kind spiritual atmosphere in which we simply live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28), but as a lover and a friend. (Song of Solomon 5:10). God wants His Presence to be consciously experienced by us.”

Above quote from the The Glenstal Book of Icons, Praying with the Glenstal Icons, Gregory Collins OSB.

To be consciously experienced, it is helpful to have holy images that serve as reminders and point the Way, even when our minds are engaged in worldly activities. It only takes a few seconds to shift our perspective to God’s perspective – truly the secret to a joy filled life!

Face of Christ Icon written by C.Hales
Face of Christ Icon written by C.Hales

One last thing worth mentioning:  I attended the Kremer Pigments workshop on “Grounds” a through workshop on materials, conditions, and possible variations, and I would recommend it highly the next time they teach it. Kremer Pigments regularly gives classes and workshops on making paints and provides a wonderful resource of technical, hands-on information.

That’s all for this month.  Enjoy the beautiful summer and please keep me in your prayers, as you are in mine.

Blessings,

Christine

www.newchristianicons.com        www.christinehales.com     www.kingdomartsministry.com

www.halesart.com

Formation and Training of Future Iconographers

altaarwestminsterwebDear Fellow Iconographers:

Following up on the blog from last month where I included the links to Iconographer Aidan Hart’s articles about Icon writing: “Introduction to Principles of Icon Training, and Principles of Icon Training Part 2 , another link has been recently published on a Russian website called mmekourdukova, which I also include here: “The Icon: Truth and Fables” by Irina Gorbunova.

Aidan Hart’s excellent articles attempt to define important principles in the training of future Iconographers, and I suggest reading each of these in order to form your own opinions, and discuss in class the important aspects of each article to your own Icon writing.  I think it’s important to keep an open mind and respect the calling of each person who has interest in Icons or creating Icons.  In the Russian( or Ukranian) article there is an element of mocking and sarcasm that I find detrimental to the humble and prayerful attitude necessary for Icon writing.  But please read, and add your own thoughts and comments._MG_8520

These two recent articles are only relevant because there are more people today interested and wanting to write Icons than in the previous century.  There can be many causes for that, but I like to think that as we explore our spirituality and gain a closer relationship to God, we need and want visual images that bring us fresh revelation of His love for mankind, his promises, His wisdom and faithfulness.  As we regularly bring these qualities of holiness to mind in our daily lives, we can then integrate them and share them with others around us.

It is often said that Icons are “windows” into the heavenly world.  When we look through those “windows” we see heaven, and are more able, as St. Paul advised ” to focus on whatever is good”.  Truly a challenge in todays world.

_MG_8554The other attractive aspect of Icon writing to me is that of “passing on” to the next generation all that I can offer in terms of living the Gospel message through Icon writing. Investing in the younger generation is a goal worthy of Icon writing in my opinion.  But how? How and what kind of  an Icon be created that will draw them in?  Good questions to ponder as we work on our Icons.

The recent Icon exhibition and pipe organ concert that I organized for the Albany, New York area at Westminster Presbyterian Church, was an experiment to see if contemporary New Yorkers would respond to Icons as art and vessels of God’s presence within the Byzantine context of worship with the five senses.  A lot of this was new information to some of the people, but familiar to others.  People came who simply wanted to see the Icons, and people came to hear composer and organist Al Fedak offer a phenomenal program of music played with a world class pipe organ.crucifixionwestminsterweb

I gave the introductory talk, introducing the concept of Byzantine worship, and Al Fedak explained the contemplative and meditative nature of the pieces he chose, and he also invited people to walk around, view and interact with the Icons.  My students and I who created the Icons were available during intermission and at the reception following to answer questions and help people understand more about what they were viewing.

It was truly  a memorable evening as we were lifted up and carried individually and collectively in worship on a Friday night in Albany amongst the community of saints! Icons on a mission!

Hope you all enjoy this beautiful summer, Happy Fourth of July!!

No Monday night Icon class on July 4!!

Please visit my website for information on upcoming Icon classes and retreats.

Have a blessed month,   _MG_8524

Christine Hales

Here’s a link to my Art/Icon Facebook page

and websites:  www.newchristianicons.com          www.christinehales.com     www.halesart.com

www.kingdomartsministry.com

 

 

 

 

 

The Joy of Sharing Icons

Hello Fellow Iconographers:

This month, on June 24 at 7PM, my advanced class of Icon writers and I will be sharing some of our newest Icons at a special organ concert by Al Fedak at the Westminster Presbyterian Church, 262 State Street, Albany. The concert is at 7PM and all are invited.  Free will donations will be accepted.

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I’m very excited about this opportunity to share our new work in the context of an amazing organ concert, and an added joy is the Icon Coloring Book the students are putting together for the concert and beyond. We are using our original Icon drawings and including a short description of that Icon.  Coloring books are so popular these days for adults and children. It’s a great way to center your thoughts for a few minutes and come up with something creative.  We are making the coloring book to be user friendly to all age groups and will be asking for a donation to help with printing costs. They will be amazing!

_MG_6523__So all of you former and present Iconography students – please come and bring a friend! We need to connect and share our joy of Icons together!

More local news: the Icon writing retreat at Holy Cross was really wonderful. Such a great group of people and a wonderful setting to learn and practice in. We were able to join in with the rhythm of daily prayer with the monks – heavenly!
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Here’s a video Michael made for us of that retreat:

One last thing: there are two rather long but important articles that I would like to share with you all about the correct schooling of Iconographers. These links are to The Orthodox Art Journal blog:

Introduction to Principles of Icon Training part 1

Principles of Icon Training Part 2  by Aidan Hart

For my part, the revelation I experienced when first exposed to Sacred icons was that they embodied the principles of good art.  In my art school training, those principles were not presented, although other important ones were.  I am interested in hearing what each of you thinkbirdsprint about the articles.

“We are pilgrims on a journey, and companions on the road.

We are here to help each other walk the mile and bear the load…

When we sing to God in heaven we shall find such harmony,

born of all we’ve known together, of Christ’s love and agony”

excerpted  from Celtic Daily Prayer, Northumbrian Community.

Peace, love and prayers,

Christine

Icon Writing Instruction

Dear Friends and Fellow Iconographers:  400px-CodexAureusCanterburyFolios9v10r

Icon Writing is experiencing a revival in the last twenty years.  To learn Icon writing, one usually needs to study with a Russian or Greek Iconographer who usually gives one or two, 5 day workshops a year.  Most of my Iconographer friends here in the USA have learned in this way and learning the culture of the Byzantine and Greek  eras has provided a valuable perspective on our own times.

I think it is more ideal for an Iconographer to be able to teach consistently over several years on a regular basis, thereby helping individual students to progress in their individual painting skills and spiritual and historical understanding. The five day workshops are good, but a consistent practice and study with supervision is also needed.Unknown

For example, it was through learning Icon writing that I learned of a different pictorial and spiritual perspective from the one I had learned in art college.  I was then able to examine the Renaissance perspective that has led to the present era of humanism and veneration of science over belief in God.  It was very exciting to discover this through the language of pictures! And helpful in my painting too!

Now I realize that in addition to studying the plastic arts of picture making, it is also important to research and define what an “American School of Iconography” will look like. What are the unique and highly valued characteristics of Americans that we can bring to the field of visual language creation for the twenty-first century that makes our faith in God visible?  Big question!  I’m hoping to hear ideas from some of you as this is an ongoing exploration to clearly define what we as Americans bring to the field.

Certainly an ecumenisicm would be an important part of this, as well as a highly inventive and creative approach to image making. I think also, in addition to the traditional Liturgical role Icons have held in the Church, we are also looking to embrace an Evangelical approach, bringing and making accessible Icons to the unchurched by exhibiting them outside churches.  So many people in our world need God’s Presence and they are just not ready to walk into a “church” to experience it.  In this way, the Icons can be used to embrace the challenge of our time to grow our faith and bring it to our communities.

This is a process and I think an important step in it is to thoroughly understand  Illuminated manuscripts, Psalters,  and create a kind of summary of early medieval and Christian Iconography in this context.Wga_12c_illuminated_manuscripts_Mary_Magdalen_announcing_the_resurrection

The Advanced Icon Writing Class in Albany has spent all of last year with a focus on Color theory as it relates specifically to the Icons. Color theory and symbolism are also important parts of Icon writing and full of variations and developments through the evolution of practice over time. Different eras and cultures assign importance to colors and color mixing – or not mixing, and it’s important to understand the reasons, benefits, and drawbacks to each system.

This year I hope to teach more 5 day Icon Writing workshops which will be Introduction to Icon Writing classes, and also to continue with the advanced group and hold exhibitions of mine and their work throughout the year. Their work is quite exceptional and they are moving to an ever deeper understanding of what an Icon is, and where the power of prayer can be applied in the process.

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Here is a list of Icon Writing Classes I will be teaching this spring – hope to see some of you there!

ALBANY- WESTMINISTER PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, 362 Chestnut Street, Albany, NY  Mondays 6-9PM   email: christine@newchristianicons.com if you are planning to attend, space is limited.  $35.00 per class (Minimum 5 classes)

Arts Center of the Capital Region, 265 River St., Troy, NY, Thursday Evenings 6-9PM, March 8- April 5.   Member $175 plus $45 materials fee, Non member  $195.00 plus $45 materials fee

Holy Cross Monastery,  Introduction to Icon Writing, Friday 6-9pm, Sat 9am-5pm, Sunday 1-5PM, May 6-8.  Cost: $275.00    deposit $80.00

Note: The images above are from: 1. Early Anglo-Saxon manuscript illumination, 2. Christ in Majesty, illuminated manuscript, 3.  Mary Magdalen announcing the Resurrection to the Apostles, St. Albans Psalter, 4.My Station One of the Fourteen Stations.  IMG_1266

I frequently give talks on “What is an Icon”, to churches and interested groups. There is no fee, except for transportation expenses. I recently gave a talk at Church of the Redeemer in Sarasota Florida that was very well attended and received. The people there showed a marked interest in Icons. Their symbol is the Pelican – and they have a beautiful Icon above their altar of Christ the Redeemer.IMG_1269

I look forward to seeing each of you again sometime. Stay in touch and let me know how your Icons are doing!

All the Best, Christine

Christine Hales, Iconographer

www.newchristianicons.com

www.christinehales.com

My husband’s and my ministry blog:     www.kingdomartsministry.com

 

ADVENT

Hello Fellow Iconographers:maryChrist.small

Yesterday was the lighting of the first candle of Advent. Hope! And today the President is in France and Pope Francis is returning from Africa. So many things to pray about in addition to our more intimate family and friends as well as for our own intentions.  You can see why life as an Iconographer is always a full one!  Praying and painting, painting and praying.

The Albany Advanced Icon Writing Class will be focusing on drawing in the New Year. Beginning February 8, there will be some new suggested readings as well as exercises and teachings to deepen the understanding of how prayer and drawing of the Icon work together.  We will use the Egon Sendler book “The Icon, Image of the Invisible” for 2016, exploring the chapters on inverse perspective and geometric structures with an understanding of how these relate to contemporary Icons.takeoffJPG

The three worlds of theology, art making, and science come together in the creation of an Icon to give it it’s transcendent quality. These three spheres of creativity open up the viewer to a new way of seeing things, through faith and contemplation. Understanding  the role these elements play in the creation of an Icon is increased through prayer, fasting, and practice.kahndetail

Many of the Icon students in the Albany class are deeply involved in faith communities and social justice. It is an ecumenical group with Methodist Ministers, Episcopalians, Independent Catholic priests, and regular Holy folk who are able through love and fellowship to discuss a variety of theological and social justice issues in a mutually supportive way.

Some of us are reading Walter Wink’s “The Powers That Be“, Theology for a New Millennium. Wink talks about how Jesus broke the spiral of violence through His death and resurrection and showed us a new way of living through non-violence. “Nonviolence leads not just to a new politics and a new society, however;it also involves the very personal task of forgiving our enemies.” Paraphrasing, Wink states that Jesus’ teachings of non violence and love of enemies will hold a central place in the re-forming of American culture. “Not because they are more true than any others, but because they are crucial in the struggle to overcome domination without creating new forms of domination.”burnignbush.web

Back to Egon Sendler’s reminders that the creation of an Icon is threefold- theology, art, and science.  How to create an Icon that functions with the power and faith that Icons did in the Byzantine era?  Pray for us! God will help us, because our century needs them too!

Here is a link to Natural Pigments – a good source for Iconography supplies of all kinds. This link is actually to a page that George O’Hanlon produces which has excellent technical information on painting practices.

UPCOMING CLASSES:  Holy Cross Monastery, May6,7&8 Introduction To Icon Writing

Arts Center of the Capital Region March 3-31, Thursday Evenings 6-9PM

 

May God bless you and keep you save and in His Love all through the Christmas season!

 

Christine

www.christinehales.com

www.newchristianicons.com

www.kingdomartsministry.com

Travels to the UK and Italy

Hello Fellow Iconographers:photo 1

The Beginning of September was the start of our trip to the UK for a family wedding in Leeds, but we were able to make a detour to Shropshire and interview Aidan Hart, Iconographer and author of the book we use in Icon writing class: “Techniques of Icon and Wall Painting”,  for Yale University Radio.

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I was so happy that Aidan could make time for us, and upon leaving he said that he had just completed a large Icon for a church in Leeds! We were in Leeds at Michael’s sister’s home about 15 minutes when we realized that church was a fifteen minute walk- so off we all went. The icons were beautiful, and Father Michael of St. Urban’s invited us to come the following morning to his other church, also in Leeds,  to see another Aidan Hart Icon. Once there, we were amazed to see the 16′ fresco of the Transfiguration that Aidan had recently completed – in ten days according to Fr. Michael. It is the largest commissioned fresco since the Reformation, he told us.

Here’s the interview:    photophoto 2

 

Our next travels took us to Venice to see the Biennale and the wonders of the Byzantine Cathedral of San Marco.  I’ll be giving a gallery talk this Saturday, Sept 26, 6-8pm at the McDaris Gallery on Warren St. Hudson that will touch on the Biennale and Byzantine art.  (You’re all welcome to attend!).

 

From Venice, we got to Rome, where we stayed at a convent within walking distance of the Vatican-our destination! God blessed me with achieving my heart’s desire to give Pope _MG_0831 (1)Francis the portrait I had done of him! At breakfast, the nun suggested that I might give my portrait of the Pope to him if the guards would help me. By God’s grace, we met a friendly Italian music composer at breakfast who offered to walk with us to the Vatican. after Mass, he began asking the guards around the Vatican if I could give my portrait to the Pope. He pleaded eloquently, in Italian, to seven sets of guards! Finally I was able to write a note to accompany my gift and the last guard _MG_0218 (1)promised that he would personally deliver it to the Pope the next morning! I was the happiest I could be! We had such a wonderful trip but that was the highlight for me. Seeing the Sistine Chapel again and the architecture in St. Peter’s Basilica, too, impressed me with a sense of excellence that can only be experienced in that place.photo 2photo 3

So, back to earth, the Albany advanced Icon writing class has changed venue and is now held on Monday nights 6-9PM at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 262 State St., Albany, NY.

Also coming up is the Introduction to Icon Writing Retreat at St. James Church on Madison Ave, in NYC, Oct 16-18. Registration is still open, email Grace Beecham at: GBeacham@stjames.org to register.

A Few Notes of Interest:photo 3

Stephan Rene will be lecturing at the Prince’s School of Traditional Arts on Coptic Iconography.

British Association of Iconographers will have its annual members exhibition October 14-16 at St. Saviour’s Church, St. George’s Square, London.

Until next month, be blessed,

+ Christine

“”A full reward will be given thee of the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust.” Ruth 2:12

www.newchristianicons.com

Exciting Pentecost Icon Dedication

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._MG_3841

“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

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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 scontemporary_icon_of_holy_mandylion fresco_mural_mother_of_god_in_altar_apseome 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. ”

saint_john_the_divine_fresco_in_altar_apse“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   72040c31c54a5fd74d8d44b2675e79ac

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.

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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.ea3a3e4745f331ac96cef816fa641f90

 

 

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!

Blessings,      Christine

 www.newchristianicons.com

 

 

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